It’s a week before your internship ends and you feel deadline pressures mixed with relief that soon you will take a brief break before school resumes or starts.
It’s time to review your goals and collect your materials to showcase what you accomplished. We hope you followed advice from Columbia University on making the most of an internship – or will bookmark and use it next time.
Mint Artists Guild hired six interns this year, including two from the Urban Alliance and three through the University of Michigan’s Wolverine Pathways. Our co-founder has managed dozens of interns at Newsday, the Detroit Free Press, Mint, and more and seen many go onto successful careers. All will depart for new projects shortly. And we want to help this year’s Minterns – and you – end your internship with professionalism and grace.
So here are six tips for completing your internship thoughtfully and in a way that sets you up for future successes.
Document your accomplishments. Create a list of the projects you contributed to – and projects you handled. Collect collateral materials and designs and data on how those projects contributed to the team’s goals or the company’s revenue or some other success measure. (Definitely ask about which items may be shared publicly and which are confidential and cannot yet be showcased.) Add to this list a few times, and ask your mentor if you’re missing anything. This will be valuable when you interview for your next job – and it could be crafted into a portion of your resume
Finish your work. Yes, this could mean extra hours just as you are winding down. “Do your best work right up to the last day,” The Balance Careers blog recommends. You want to be remembered as the get-it-done intern, not the one who left a lot of half-completed assignments. Check-in with your supervisor to make sure you’re completing the most important items. And if there’s a ton of work still in progress, offer to freelance or contract to finish it after your internship ends – but only if you truly will make time for the assignments.
Showcase skills developed. Create a short list of the skills you honed or the important career lessons learned. Ideally, you started this earlier in the internship, and are just adding more from the last few weeks. Share this list with your boss and your boss’ boss to show what an impact the internship had on your development.
Perfect your people. You made some valuable connections, both inside and outside your workplace. List three to seven people who meant the most to you, those who you want to stay in touch with. Send them LinkedIn invitations, and for the top peeps, arrange a time to talk about future collaborations or projects. Some of this could lead to your next internship or gig, so don’t neglect this. You also may want to email the entire team a brief farewell.
Show appreciation. Your immediate supervisor and your mentor both deserve thank yous for taking the time to share their expertise, create an internship, and develop your skills. We recommend a handwritten thank you note, perhaps on a Mint greeting card or another attractive card. Spend a little time thinking about your message of gratitude, and if you wish to work for this person again, offer that as an enticing possibility.
You also may ask for a reference, as job search giant Indeed recommends, and update your resume and your LinkedIn profile, FindSpark suggests. (Your list of skills will be helpful in that.)
Much of this can be completed in a week or two after the internship is over. The exception: Complete your projects and assignments and give them a final shine of polish and professionalism. That will reflect well on you for years to come.
© Vickie Elmer, 2022, for Mint Artists Guild
Photo: Brooke Cagle / Unsplash
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