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The Career Hot Seat

How to Leave Your Internship on a Positive Note

Business People at a Networking Gathering

As summer winds down, many college students are leaving their internships and getting ready to head back to college, but how they leave their workplace experience can make or break future employment opportunities.

According to, roughly seven out of 10 employers hire former interns for full-time positions. Companies view internships as a test drive, so it’s important students treat their opportunity as a time to showcase their skills and value to hiring managers.

According to a recent survey from and Millennial Branding:

  • 25% of students feel unprepared for the working world;
  • 57% of students say internships are most important for developing business skills;
  • Yet, 52% report that access to internships by their colleges was lacking.

For students looking to leave their internship on the right foot, the experts at gave the following advice:

Go that Extra Mile.  Always look for opportunities to volunteer for other projects beyond the responsibilities of your internship. Don’t be afraid to ask your boss or any other employees if they need help. 

Engage. According to the survey, 40% of college students report their reliance on technology has hindered their development of interpersonal skills. Success in the working world is about communication and establishing relationships, so an internship is a great opportunity to learn how to interact professionally. Every industry, region and company has their own norms when it comes to how people interact and work together, and it’s important to learn how to identify the culture and fit in.

Look for the Upsell.  Students should keep in mind there may be opportunities in other departments or divisions within the company for full-time jobs, so they need to network and meet workers throughout the company. They should attend as many events, meetings and internal gatherings as possible to get exposed to other potential job opportunities and connections.  

Build Your Network. When it comes to landing a job and career advancement, a big part of it is who you know. Interns should make the effort to get to know as many people within the company during their experience and should follow-up with people after their departure.  

Show You Want It. Students need to tell employers they’re looking for a job if they are interesting in continuing with a company. For those that aren’t sure, still express interest and work to learn more about a company so as not to lose out on an opportunity.

Michael “Dr. Woody” Woodward, PhD is a CEC certified executive coach trained in organizational psychology. Dr. Woody is author of The YOU Plan: A 5-step Guide to Taking Charge of Your Career in the New Economy and the new on-line course The YOU Plan for Career Change on Udemy. Dr. Woody is the founder of Human Capital Integrated (HCI), a firm focused on management and leadership development. Dr. Woody also sits on the advisory board of the Florida International University Center for Leadership. Follow Dr. Woody on Twitter and Facebook.

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