In any internship, it’s important to smile, do what is asked of you, and build a network that will help you navigate the industry you’re in. The more initiative you show, the more you’ll stand out as an intern who is curious to learn, adapts quickly, and has a “whatever it takes” mentality. But while your attitude is certainly important, it’s even more important to show that you’re not just there for the excitement of the glamorous beginning of your time in the office—you need to show that you’re going to be professional and hard-working in the long-run, too. Because if your ultimate goal is to get a job, you have to show your boss that you are not only good at what you do, but that you recognize the importance of maintaining relationships and showing up to work with a great attitude every single day.
If your own internship is coming to an end, it’s time to start thinking about how you’re going to solidify your great reputation in the office and prove to your boss that you’re a valuable asset to the team. Keep reading to learn 15 steps you should complete as you wrap up your internship that will leave an impression long after you’ve gone.
- Write thank you notes: It is so important to thank your co-workers for their time in training you and teaching you the lay of the land. A handwritten note is meaningful, and by mentioning a unique part of your experience, you are guaranteed to leave a strong, long-lasting impression.
- Give your supervisor a small gift: Something as small as a coffee on your last day or a gift card to get lunch in the future will go a long way. Someone who has many interns every year will remember the single person who sent a handwritten thank-you note with a thoughtful gift
- Have a sit down meeting with your supervisor: It is important to have a review at the end of your time in the office so that you can learn what you did well and what you could improve upon. Learning more about your strengths and weaknesses will only help you improve your professionalism and leave you more prepared to conquer the next interview and job you have lined up.
- Get updated contact information: Make sure you have the right names, numbers, and email addresses of your supervisors and other influential figures in your office in case you need to ask for recommendations or want to catch up in the future.
- Add your supervisors and fellow interns on LinkedIn: Make sure to connect with everyone you created a relationship with on this platform. It’s a great way to keep in touch and start to build your network.
- Attend office events: Putting in the work at your internship is only half the battle. The other half? Making those connections and building strong relationships. In an internship, you have constant direct access to people in your industry—so take advantage of that and use every chance to strike up a conversation and get to know them.
- Maintain your appearance: Just because your internship is ending doesn’t mean it’s okay to start showing up in denim cutoffs and crop tops. Don’t slack off—show up neat and polished until the very last day to leave a good impression on your supervisors and colleagues.
- Be on time: You do not want to be the intern remembered for skipping the last month of work or showing up 30 minutes late every day of the final week. Be punctual and respectful of the office hours up until the last second of your internship.
- Revise your résumé: While your internship is still fresh on your mind, take this opportunity to fix your résumé and update it with your experience and any new skills you may have learned. If you have a strong relationship with your supervisor, consider asking them to review it as well—but as always, be hyper-aware of their time and be sure to thank them if they do end up helping you.
- Reflect on your experiences in a journal: This is an exciting time: You just completed a major milestone in becoming an adult, and it is important to document these experiences. Writing about your time will make everything you learned (and what you still have to learn) much clearer. During your journaling, also take the time to draw out a long-term plan—similar to the one you may have for your degree—for your career.
- Create a portfolio: Whether it’s photographs, spreadsheets, designs, or a larger project you worked on this summer, creating a portfolio of your best work is a great addition to bring with you to an interview.
- Set up for the new intern who takes your place: Ask your supervisor if it would be helpful if you set up for any future interns. If they say yes, clear any documents that may clutter their hard drive, write up any important instructions, and complete anything else your boss would like you to do to prepare. They’ll undoubtedly appreciate your help.
- Clean up your space: In addition to clearing your computer space, make sure your physical space is also tidy as well and that you leave nothing behind on your desk. Leaving a mess is not only rude, but it’s unprofessional and will leave a bad impression on your part.
- Make sure your advisors are aware of your last day(s): This may sound absurd, but time flies, and while your supervisors manage you, they also maintain full-time positions and deadlines. When work gets busy, your boss may not remember that in two days you will be gone for the summer. A week before your end date, kindly and professionally remind your boss that you will be finishing up your experience in the following week and ask them if there’s anything additional you need to do to wrap things up.
- Say goodbye: As you leave on your last day, make it a point to let your boss and colleagues know you’re leaving and say goodbye. Throwing up a peace sign or giving a slight wave before you run for the elevator (and the weekend) is not a respectful way to leave a place of work.
Have any tips on how to end your internship on the best note possible? Let us know in the comments below.
Opening image by @nvbi.