If you are a college student who spent your summer working at your first internship, there is a right way and a wrong way to wrap things up before you return to your college studies. I’m sharing my thoughts, hoping you already put my intern etiquette tips (Ten Etiquette Tips for Summer Internship Success and How to Find a Great Internship) to good use during the summer break.
Meet with your supervisor to discuss the status of various projects. The sooner the better, ideally at least 2 weeks before your last day. Put forth your best effort to finish up pending work and notify your boss if you will be leaving loose ends behind.
Organize before you go. If you created your own system for keeping tabs on various tasks, move those files off your desktop (yikes!) and into designated areas, whether on a shared drive or in the appropriate folder. Go through any loose paperwork on your desk and toss, save and file into the appropriate drawers.
Keep track of your gained connections. If you collected business cards over the summer, save the contact information so that you’ll have it for future communication. If you haven’t already done so, send a personalized email to valuable contacts, thanking them for their time and providing your fall contact information (such as school or Gmail email address) since your intern email address will no longer be accessible to you.
Create and utilize a LinkedIn profile. Take your network a step further by creating a LinkedIn profile. You’ll be able to easily locate those you worked with over the summer by logging into your account or downloading the LinkedIn app.
Request a letter of recommendation. You worked hard during your internship and made a lasting impression. It is perfectly acceptable (and advisable) to ask for a letter of recommendation from your supervisor. It will come in handy as you look for additional business opportunities down the road. A shining review speaks volumes about your work ethic.
Make yourself visible. If you are interested in a future internship or a full time job after graduation, let your boss know your intentions during the exit interview. Make a point to stay in contact throughout the year. Start with a handwritten thank you note for the opportunity to intern with the company, mentioning the valuable experience you received during the past summer months.
Never burn a bridge. You may not be interested in a return gig next summer but staying positive and appreciative is the only way to leave a positive impression.
Good luck this school year!