Lauren: Internships- Finish Strong!

With the end of summer comes the end of summer internships.  During your time at BU, you’re bound to complete an internship at one point or another.   While first impressions are very important, you should treat your last days at your internship just like you treated your first.  Here are five things you should do as your internship comes to a close:

  1. Ask for a recommendation letter.

About two weeks before your last day, approach your supervisor, or a person that you have worked with closely, and ask if they would write you a letter of recommendation and serve as a professional reference.  Specially tell them what you are looking for in the recommendation letter.  Suggest, for example, that they highlight your work ethic or comment on your writing skills.   If you have a LinkedIn account, you may also want to ask if they could recommend you on that social networking site.  In return, offer to write a little internship testimonial that the organization can use to promote their internship program.   Don’t be nervous to ask for a recommendation letter or reference- you’ve worked hard, and you deserve it!

2. Set up a meeting with your supervisor on your last day.

On your last day, ask your supervisor if you can sit down with them for a few minutes to get some feedback on your work.  Learning about your strengths and weaknesses can be helpful when you have other internships and jobs.  This can also teach you how to take constructive criticism, a skill that will be beneficial in the future.  Also, let your supervisor know what you thought of the internship program, but make sure you express how thankful you are to have had this opportunity.  After all, it’s hard to get an internship nowadays.

3. Give out hand-written thank you notes.

Writing a thank you note is the perfect way to express your gratitude at the end of your internship.  A hand-written note is much more thoughtful than simply sending a thank-you email.  You can visit this Her Campus article to find thank-you note templates!  Be specific in the note by thanking them for either helping you with a particular project or assigning you an exceptionally rewarding task.  I always sign professional thank you notes using “Sincerely” or “Best wishes.”  Last impressions really count, and writing a note is a great way to stand out and be remembered.

4. Update your Resume.

Internships are great professional experience and can help bulk up your resume.   Make sure when you add this experience to your resume that you list specific examples of assignments you completed.   Update your resume and LinkedIn page right when your internship is ending so your work is still fresh in your mind.  Also, ask for permission to use some of the work that you completed (like writing assignments, design work or video clips) in your portfolio.   It will look great when you apply for another internship or job!

5. Keep in touch.

Connect with your fellow interns, supervisors and other employees at your internship site.  Add them on LinkedIn and exchange contact information.  Make sure that you stay up-to-date with what’s going on with the company by following them on Twitter, LinkedIn, Facebook and other social media sites.  You may also want to email your supervisor every three months or so just to stay connected!  You never know- staying in touch may help you get a full time job with the company!

Follow these simple steps to make the most out of the last days at your internship!  Remember to start strong and end strong!