Say Good-Bye, Maintain Connections
That prize summer internship (or job) is coming to an end…now what?
It went all too quickly, but hopefully you’re leaving the workplace with new skills, a list of networking contacts and a better sense of what you want to do in the future. But before you hightail it out their door, be sure to exit on a positive, professional note.
- Clean Up-take a few minutes to clear off the desk, or space you’ve been given, of all your personal effects. Whatever you do, never help yourself to anything that isn’t yours–including the pens in the desk!
- Loose Ends-if your supervisor hasn’t set up an exit meeting, do so. It’s a great time to see if there are loose ends that need attention, ask for a letter of recommendation, thank them for the opportunity and describe what you acquired working there. Let them know the value of your experience. Send a thank-you card or e-mail reiterating what you said once gone. Should you find this an ideal employer, let your supervisor know you are interested in a career with them.
- Coworkers/Mentors-most likely, these people proved to be valuable in some way–let them know by sincerely thanking them in person and send an e-mail or thank-you card. Collect business cards, then stay in touch with those whose opinion is most valued. Your supervisor, coworkers and mentors will be the best bets to network with for a job once graduated.
- Reflection-before heading back to college, take time to reflect on your experience. Start at the beginning: write down what was learned, who assisted you, what was observed about company culture, how things were done, why you liked (or didn’t like) what you did. It’s important to record this experience to find out if it is what you really want to do. If not, describe why–in detail–then make any necessary changes to your career plans.
The beauty of internships and summer jobs (especially if they’re in your field of study) is they give you a glimpse into the future. If you like what you see, great, you know you’re on the right track. However, when an experience proves to be less than positive, examine why. It could be you found certain aspects of the job impossible to live with on a daily basis, or perhaps it was an issue only with that particular office, not reflective of the industry. Be honest with yourself. It’s easier to make changes now, long before graduation, than to wait. After you’ve had some time to mull things over and feel confused, contact your advisor, talk it over.
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