Make sure you stay in touch with your colleagues.
With only a few weeks left until the end of your internship, here's a few suggestions to make sure that you end on a positive note.
The excitement you felt at the start of your internship might have worn off, and you might be looking forward to a return to uni and friends, but make sure that you are just as focused to make a good lasting impression.
Don’t leave any assignments incomplete and do your utmost to go the extra mile in your last few weeks. This may include creating a manual of your job responsibilities alongside a step-by-step workbook of your daily activities so whoever takes over from you will be one step ahead and it will remind your boss of the work you did every time he or she sees it. Offer to answer questions about your duties after you’ve left which will show your co-workers than you genuinely care about the company and want everything to run smoothly. You can also outline any tips for streamlining work and offer advice about what you learnt along the way to help the next in line.
If you’ve got any loose ends note down what’s needed to be done so others can take over. Write a list of anyone you’ve been in contact with and are waiting to hear back from. If you’ve been working on an ongoing project that will still exist after your departure, tell your boss where you left off, and leave any notes that will help the next person who picks up the work. Share the locations of any important files or documents.
If a new intern is taking over your position offer to train the new intern and show him or her the ropes. You may also want to offer advice on where’s the best place to go for coffee and lunch, what to bring, and what to wear etc.
In the office speak to a few people whom you get along with, and perhaps even suggest lunch or a coffee. They don’t necessarily have to be top-level management, as those just out of uni and in their first full-time role can have plenty of tips to offer you. They’ll have advice about how they got to where they were and about working life in general. Make sure that you have a few questions that you want to ask, and you’ll show that you are someone genuinely interested in your field.
Ask about whether there are any upcoming events in your field that you can attend or find them through networking sites etc, and meet as many people as possible. It will help you brush up on your communication skills, and you never know what connections you might make who might be able to give you advice or offer you an opportunity in the future.
However you meet people, make sure that you thank them for their time and keep in contact with them via social media. Stay at the forefront of their minds, for example by congratulating them on a work event via LinkedIn, and you’ll be the first person they think of when they’ve an opening or opportunity. Having that professional network may pay dividends in the future.
Ask for feedback
Getting feedback in your performance, attitude and overall growth from those you worked with during your internship will help you to better understand your strengths and the areas which need improving. Hearing it from a co-worker, client or boss also shows you how others perceive your accomplishments and teaches you how to present your strengths to future employers, and can be invaluable in helping you prepare for future interviews. Furthermore, understanding your weaknesses gives you something to work on and it can help you develop your goals.
You can also ask about what your industry looks for in entry-level hires, information that will be valuable when you do start looking for full-time work. The act of asking also shows that you are dedicated to your industry, and want to improve and succeed.
Celebrate your last few days and your achievement of having finally finished your apprenticeship!
Having got through your internship you’ve another string to bow and you can celebrate by updating your CV, portfolio and social media. List your contributions, accomplishments and day-to-day responsibilities while they are fresh in your mind, and any soft or hard skills you might have developed. Doing it all now also the legwork now means that you won’t have the faff of having to update everything when you are back at uni, can’t remember what actually happened and are far too busy to think about, let alone apply for, jobs.
Alongside your CV you can develop a portfolio, even if you didn’t intern in a portfolio-typical environment. For example, collate presentations, articles, videos and statistical reports you might have worked on, explain what they were for and what role you played in creating them. (Remember to either use non-confidential information or to ask your employer whether you can use the material). You can always send them off as additional material when you apply for jobs in the future. Update your LinkedIn profile at the same time so future employers can see what you did at your internship and what you achieved.
Ask about references
Ask those you worked closely with to endorse your skills on LinkedIn and perhaps even ask them to write a two- or three-sentence recommendation for you to add. Make the task as easy as possible for them by sending them all the information they need so the process is painless. Doing it while you are still in the office also means that people can write about you when you are still fresh in their minds.
Ask one or two people whether they would be willing to give you a reference when the time comes in the future.
Ask about continued work
Really liked the company and want to work for them in the future? Speak up, it can’t hurt you. It may be that you can continue a project that you’ve already started with them, create something of your own like an event, or take on a freelance position. It’s important that they know how you feel and that you’d like to return. Let them know what you have learned through your experiences, the insight you have gained into their company culture and ask them whether they would be open to the idea of you working for them in the future. If there isn’t anything in the short term, it’s always possible that you’d be the first person they contact when they do have a suitable position for you.
Say thank you
You can even go as far as writing hand written cards for those whom you worked closely with thanking them for their guidance and support. With the co-workers you worked with less frequently, personal emails will also show your appreciation and make sure you are remembered. Include contact information and mention your interest in keeping in touch.
No explanation needed.