How to Leave Your Internship on a High Note

It’s hard to believe, but your summer internship will soon be coming to an end. You’ve traveled to a new place, put in hundreds of hours at the office, and learned how to integrate yourself into an unfamiliar team with its own unique dynamic. You’ve worked really hard this summer, and you should be proud of yourself!

But, your work isn’t done yet. Ending your internship on good terms is just as important as your actual performance on the job. It’s important to be thorough and organized as you wrap up your summer to ensure that both you and your employer remember your internship as a positive, productive experience.

We’ve put together five tips to follow before you clean out your desk and turn in your badge.

1. Say thank you. And don’t just say it, write it. And not in an email. A short, simple hand-written thank you card to each of your team members will show your team that you’re grateful for their mentorship and feedback. Make it short and sweet. A simple note with text such as, “Thank you so much for a great summer. I’m grateful to have had the opportunity to work with you and learn from you, and I enjoyed getting to know you. Let’s stay connected!” will reinforce your thoughtfulness and professionalism in a subtle way.

2. Set up an exit interview. Sometime during your last week at the office, ask your supervisor to have a quick chat with you to wrap things up. Talk about your biggest successes and challenges of the summer. Ask for constructive feedback about your working style and advice for your future. Reiterate that you are grateful to have had this opportunity. If it feels appropriate, feel free to ask for a reference or letter of recommendation. However you end the conversation, make sure it’s clear to your supervisor that you’re interested in staying connected and collaborating in the future.

3. Make the transition as smooth as possible for your team. Throughout the summer, you’ve had a lot of responsibilities and worked on several projects. It’s important to transition that work over to an incoming intern or another member of your team; no one likes an intern who leaves behind chaos and disorganization. Make a list of your main duties and projects. In that list, include anything that needs to be done immediately in the coming days and weeks. This way, nothing will slip through the cracks. Plus, this will show your team that you still care about the future of the company even if you’re no longer an employee.

4. Update your LinkedIn profile and resume. While everything is fresh in your mind, think about your main accomplishments of the summer, and include quantitative benchmarks where you can. Did you help grow the company’s social media pages by a certain percentage of followers? Did you launch an app that now has hundreds of users? Think about your biggest wins of the summer, and articulate them in a way that markets your skills and experience. The longer you wait to do this, the harder it will be! So, do your best to not procrastinate.

5. Collect samples for your portfolio. Is there anything you’ve done this summer that if made public, wouldn’t violate any non-disclosure agreements you’ve signed? Check with your supervisor and find out what samples or projects you’d be able to showcase as part of your portfolio. This way, in addition to your resume, you’ll have concrete, tangible examples to show future employers of your abilities. Any real-world work that you’ve done outside of the classroom that you can showcase will go a long way!

Congratulations on making it this far in your internship! Finish out strong by completing these five simple tasks that will take you little or no time. As the saying goes, a little goes a long way. Who knows where these things will take you?