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Well, you’ve made it through the hard part: the first impressions, the workload, the figuring out which bathroom to use so you can have privacy when you poop. And while that’s reason enough to celebrate, you’re not quite out of the woods when it comes to nailing your Summer internship. You forgot about the exit, which is even more important than your entrance when it comes to the world of interning. Follow these six tips, and you’ll leave with great contacts, all while making a fabulous lasting impression.
1. End all your projects in a good place
Ideally, you’ll be able to finish all your projects, but someone might give you a month long project on your last week. The key here is communication. “My last day is next Friday, I think I’ll be able to get through half of this by then. Does that work for you?” is a great way to make sure everyone is on the same page. This way, you haven’t left them in the lurch when you suddenly disappear.
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With your completed projects, make sure you get in contact with the person who assigned it and ask them if there’s anything else that needs to be done on the task before your last day. Which leads us to…
2. Communicate when your last day will be
While HR probably knows your last day, all the people you work with have so much else on their plate, they probably have no clue. Once your internship gets closer to wrapping up, casually slip it into dialogue. It helps your team understand what projects they want to give you, and plus, they might make an effort to take you out to lunch as a thank you. It’s a great way to wrap things up.
3. Leave handwritten thank you notes
From someone who’s hired a lot of interns, there is nothing quite like receiving a handwritten thank you note. Every time, I’m still blown away by the thoughtfulness, maturity, and kindness. That is someone I’d hire in the future. If life gets too busy and you panic because you didn’t have time to do the whole thank you note thing, you’re not in the clear! Write a lovely thank you email. Words and gratitude just do wonders, whether they’re handwritten or not.
4. Connect with your fellow interns
While we all know the thank you note is the holy grail of ending internships, this piece of advice is actually more valuable to you. I had a wonderful professor advise us all to remain friends with our fellow students because one day we’ll all help each other get jobs. He was SO right. 70% of jobs I’ve landed have been through a friend as opposed to a high-powered CEO that remembered me. So be sure to swap info and connect on social with your fellow interns before you leave. I’d even take it a step further and invite the ones you really click with to individual lunches. Plus, you might even get a friendship out of it! Bonus.
5. Don’t just slink out the door
I have been SO guilty of this. When the clock struck 5:00 pm on my last day, I snuck out like a mouse and rode into the sunset. Not my best move. Make sure to make the rounds to say a proper goodbye to everyone. This is a great time to deliver thank you notes. If your last day is a Friday, make sure to do it a bit earlier in the day because some people might leave early.
6. Follow up next year
If you feel like you really connected with a certain boss and find yourself in town a year later, look them up and ask for a coffee. Mention that you loved working with them and would love to buy them a coffee and pick their brain a bit. You will have matured so much in that year away from the internship, you’ll be more clear on the advice you need from them. Plus, what a great way to keep your connection real and fresh.
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