Completing an internship does not mean your experience will be forgotten. What you do after the internship can be just as meaningful as the internship itself. Your approach, if done properly, has the potential to make a memorable impression on your internship supervisor and future employers. Here are four tips I recommend to jumpstart the journey to post-intern life.
- Handwrite a Thank-You Note
Taking time to compose a handwritten note to your internship supervisor, or anyone who helped you during your internship, shows how much you valued the opportunity. The gesture will hopefully leave an unforgettable impact and help establish connections that can benefit you later as you search for jobs or begin a career.
Simply say thank you for the opportunity to complete an internship at the organization, mention a memory or skill that you will take with you, and provide a way to contact you if necessary. Staying in touch with your supervisors or other staff members is a great way to have your foot in the door, if a job position opens up or a form a mentorship.
- Add the Experience to Your Résumé and Portfolio
Accurately describe the tasks you completed and the skills gained during the internship onto a manageable list so when the time comes you can summarize and transfer that list on your résumé. Collect writing samples, design pieces, or anything you produced during your internship that you are confident to share on a digital portfolio site. To keep all of my portfolio pieces in one place, I have a special folder on my laptop with the original and PDF versions of my work because it provides a much easier way to upload files to my Weebly digital portfolio.
- Ask for Feedback
It does not hurt to find out if you met your supervisor’s expectations during your internship. Any feedback he or she can provide is essential to grow as an individual and a professional as well as help you recognize your strengths and weaknesses from someone else’s point of view. If you get a satisfactory report from your supervisor, it is possible that he or she would be a great candidate to write a letter of recommendation for a prospective job opportunity.
Think about how the internship allowed you to achieve your goals and how the experience shaped you as an individual and a professional. Contemplate whether or not the tasks you completed allowed your skills to shine through and demonstrate your knowledge. Did the internship meet or surpass your expectations and what valuable lessons can you take with you into your career? These are questions I have had to answer in one way or another after my internship. The reflection is also a time to evaluate yourself and determine that you have the confidence and abilities to start a career after graduation.
The way I see it the end of the internship is just the beginning of exciting journey ahead, one that will lead us straight into our chosen career paths. The direction is dependent upon the one in the driver’s seat, you as the former intern.
Paula Bittner is a senior public relations major and marketing minor. She serves as the Historian for the Waynesburg University PRSSA chapter and an Account Coordinator for Red Brick Communications. In her spare time, she enjoys reading, being active on social media and looking up wedding ideas. After graduation, she hopes to work in the nonprofit sector or tourism industry.