Landing a summer internship in the current labor market is hard, and for the students who were able to land one of these highly-coveted spots, how they end their experience is just as important as their first impression.
The end of the internship is the time for students to showcase their hard work, skills gained and why they are worth adding to the payroll after graduation.
“It is all a part of the experience,” says Alexa Hamill, U.S. campus sourcing leader at PwC. “You prepared to be an intern, have gone through the process and you want to exit with grace and appreciation. It may lead to the next opportunity.”
Here are a few things for interns to do as they wrap up their summer work:
Secure a Recommendation
Before you leave, Jeff Wald, co-founder of Work Market, a professional transaction market startup, recommends asking employees you worked closely with if they would give you a recommendation or act as a reference for jobs down the road.
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“Make sure you can put [future employers] in touch with someone in a senior role that can speak intelligently about you,” he says. “And network with everyone you can.”
Say ‘Thank You’
Hamill says hand-written notes still go a long way in expressing gratitude for the experience, but that email thank-yous also work.
“Thank your team and show how appreciative you are of the opportunity,” she says. “Reflect on the experience, and thank them for the coaching, guidance and development.”
Connect on LinkedIn
Landing a job is all about networking, so be sure to connect with co-workers on LinkedIn (LNKD) from your personal email to stay in touch.
“Maintain that network, update your profile and continue that report with the people you worked with,” recommends Hamill.
Wald adds that being active on LinkedIn may open the door for future opportunities as you and your former colleagues continue on your own career paths.
“It can be amazingly effective, especially when people are looking for jobs,” he says.
As you wrap up your experience, ask for a performance evaluation including what you could have done better, Hamill says.
“You have had the course of the summer to explore opportunities, and had great exposure, but you want to leave the impression with whomever you worked with that your curiosity to learn is lasting,” she says.
Offer to be an Ambassador
Whether you plan to return to your company for a second turn at interning or are looking to move on, Hamill suggests offering to help recruit future interns as a way to stay connected with the company.
“Ask if you can serve as a resource to the company, providing additional information for the next generation of talent,” she says. “You can leverage that environment for opportunities.”