Information abounds from our office about how to find potential internship sites and opportunities, how to apply for internships by constructing targeted resumes and crafting convincing cover letters, how to thoughtfully prepare for interviews, and what to do when you get an offer or receive a rejection. If you haven’t found it yet, look around. There are TIP sheets and webshops and a host of other resources on both the Career Services webpage and within JobCenter. Need help? Come in and ask.
But today, I want to spend some time on another best practice for student interns – finishing well.
What did you learn?
… about your work habits and attitudes and those of others?
… about company culture?
… about skills you need to acquire and/or hone?
… about the connection of your studies to work, industries, jobs, etc.?
Along the way you likely have been reflecting on questions like these in your internship journal. As you near the end of your internship assignment, you are encouraged to review that journal and put together a summary of your reflections. This summary will be particularly helpful in isolating key items you might wish to later share in résumés, cover letters, personal statements, and interviews for jobs and/or graduate school.
Your summary could include:
- Comments on the progress of the goals you set for yourself prior to your internship.
- The personal or professional challenges you have encountered while interning that you may not have been anticipated.
- A description of any new behaviors, interests or changes that you have adopted as a result of working in a professional setting.
- “Light bulb” moments. You know what I’m talking about… those moments of inspiration, revelation, or recognition when you made a connection between what you are studying and what you are now doing. Or the whack to the head “V-8 juice response” you give yourself when suddenly it all becomes crystal clear and your way of thinking/behaving personally or professionally changes forever.
More than likely your supervisor will conduct an evaluation of your performance and discuss it with you as you near the end of your internship assignment. If not, ask for this feedback. You also will want to secure a letter of recommendation and/or a willingness to act as a reference for you. You may even want to discuss at the time what might be some key aspects of the recommendation.
Express appreciation to everyone that assisted you in this learning experience. Such thoughtfulness rarely goes unnoticed. Meaningful expressions of thanks, whether hand-written or otherwise, for the time and energy someone invested in you says speaks volumes. Don’t delay in doing this!
Keep in touch with those who have now become part of your network. Keep them posted on new developments with respect to your continuing education and /or job search. Let them know of your success and don’t forget to inquire about and/or recognize theirs. Share interesting articles or insights on work-related topics. Invite their input into your professional development.
~Sharon Givler, director of career services