7 Things to do BEFORE the End of Your Summer Internship
Remember how hard you worked to land a summer internship? And now it’s almost over. Before you finish your internship, here are seven things you can do to end on a positive note and get the most of out the experience:
1. Send a Thank You Note/Email to Your Boss and Colleagues
A Thank You note goes a long way. People like to be appreciated especially when they believe they gave you a gift, in this case an internship opportunity. You can send a thank you email or hand-written note, whichever you prefer. Don’t just send a thank you email to your boss. Send personalized thank you emails to the people you worked for and to the person who hired you. Make sure you mention specifics in the note to come across as genuinely appreciating them and the opportunity.
Example: Thank you so much for giving me the opportunity to work for you this summer. I enjoyed getting to know you and learning from the best in the business! I particularly enjoyed working on the XYZ and ABC projects. Learning how to thoroughly research client prospects and composing persuasive emails to engage them in the sales process was a great skill to develop. I also know that learning Salesforce will be invaluable to any sales role I pursue in the future. Thank you again and I will be sure to keep in touch with you during the school year, and would welcome hearing from you too.
2. Ask for a Reference Letter
A reference letter or letter of recommendation refers to a letter that endorses an individual’s capabilities, character traits, and the overall quality of their work. Future employers will inevitably ask for references. Sometimes they will ask you for the names and contact information of previous supervisors but since people are hard to reach these days, providing a reference letter may also meet their needs.
Around 10 days before your last day, ask your boss/supervisor if s/he would be willing to write a reference letter for you. If you report to more than one person, then ask each person to write a reference letter.
As you already know, your boss(es) are super busy and may not have the time to write a reference letter. It is completely acceptable to offer to write the reference letter for them and then have them edit it. Writing your own reference letter doesn’t mean you get to endlessly brag about yourself but you are able to deliberately write things that are worth mentioning, such as: always showed up on time, asked smart questions and engaged in projects beyond what was expected, met deadlines, or usually went above and beyond what was asked. Of course you want to also include key learnings such as: learned how to use Salesforce to prospect and track potential clients, conducted data analysis and visualization using Python or provided exceptional customer service to clients. Be sure to include metrics when possible: wrote at least 15 press releases and 12 of them were picked up by the media or wrote social media content and increased company Instagram followers by 10%.
Make sure the letter has the company’s logo and is dated. I prefer an actual letter but if your boss prefers to send it as an email then at least his/her name, company name (within the email address or an email signature) will be in the email and the date will automatically appear.
3. Network With Your Team, Department and the Company
Since 75% of jobs are found via networking, it’s critical to network during your internship. The more people you genuinely get to know, the more likely they may help you in your future search for another internship or post-graduation job. It’s also quite likely the company will have future entry-level openings that fit your skills. If you are well connected with the people you met this summer then you may increase your chances of being hired after graduation. Additionally, the employees you meet today may take a job at another company a year or two from now and if you’ve made a positive impression upon them then they may be willing to help you get a job at their new company.
What does networking during an internship look like? Simply ask people to sit down with you for coffee or lunch or after work. Tell them you want to learn about their career path and the details (if you don’t already know) about their role at the company. Remember – people like to talk about themselves. People like to help college students and young adults. Professionals will be impressed that you ask for this type of one-on-one time with them.
4. Touch Base with Your University/Advisor if You’re Receiving Credit for Your Internship
If you plan to receive credit for your internship then now is the time to make sure you have met ALL of the criteria to in fact receive those credits. Some schools may require you to complete certain tasks during your internship. Other schools may require you to write a paper about your internship and in some cases that paper must answer specific questions. And other schools may require your boss to complete a form or write a recommendation. You don’t want to return to school in August/September only to find out you overlooked something and will no longer be getting credit for your summer internship.
5. Connect with Colleagues on LinkedIn
LinkedIn is a great way to connect with the people you met during your summer internship. Be sure to connect with your manager(s), colleague(s), HR personnel and fellow interns. These are all people whom you may want to ask for help when looking for your next internship or post-graduation job. When you do connect with someone on LinkedIn, it’s very important to include a personalized note to each connection. Hit CONNECT and then “Add a Note” and personalize your message to each person. It does not have to be long nor fancy. (You only have 300 characters.) You can write something such as, “Thank you again for the internship opportunity at XYZ company. I enjoyed learning how to write strong content and scheduling social media posts from you and your team.” OR “I really enjoyed working for you this summer. I doubled my Excel skills and learned the professional financial vocabulary I will need for the future. I will stay in touch and thank you again for the opportunity.” To other interns you can write something like this: “It was nice to meet you while interning at Comcast. I enjoyed getting to know you and I hope our paths cross in the future. Best of luck during your senior year at Clemson.”
6. Collect Team Members’ Emails and Cell #s
Staying in touch with relevant professionals is key for your next internship, post-graduation job and beyond. Remember, 75% of jobs are landed via networking. You can’t network and stay in touch with your internship colleagues, mentors and other interns unless you have their email address and cell numbers. Why not just make a note of their company email? Great question. Some of these professionals may take a job at a different company. Thus, having each person’s personal email and/or cell number will be the best way for you to remain in touch no matter where they are employed in the future.
7. Make a Plan to Keep in Touch
The people you worked with this summer are now part of your professional network. But they only remain active in your network if YOU keep in touch with them. Mark your calendar to email or text (if appropriate) each person every 6-10 weeks. Find a REASON to re-connect with your new network. You can send them an interesting article related to their business or hobby. You can invite them to a Zoom webinar your college is hosting. You can also offer to introduce them to another person in your network if you feel both individuals would benefit from the connection. Staying in touch keeps you top-of-mind and makes you stand out. It also demonstrates a great skill and will have your contacts thinking, “Wow! We really should hire this student when s/he graduates.” Don’t be shy. Stay connected. Remember, these relevant professionals may just be the people who help you land your next internship or post-graduation job!