As the end of summer approaches, many students are preparing to wrap up their summer internships and head back to school or onto different ventures. An important thing to keep in mind before packing up your desk and running for the door, is that how you leave an internship can be just as important as how you start one. Although your internship may be physically over, you will still be relying on the relationships you formed for some time as you embark on your career; so walk, don't run for the door, and use these tips as a checklist to make sure you leave your internship on the right note.
Consider your internship a learning experience which you were lucky to have. Make sure to express your gratitude by at least saying thank you to your boss and any other people you got to know while working for the company. A thoughtful gesture- that is pretty much mandatory these days- is to write thank you notes for various people at work before leaving. They don’t need to be fancy, just a simple card with a (preferably handwritten) note describing why you are grateful for having participated in the internship and detailing how the person you are writing to helped you in the process. Buying a small gift or giving baked goods is another option for showing appreciation to someone you became especially close with during your internship, but is definitely not required or expected. If you do decide to give a gift, be discreet as to not offend anyone you don’t decide to give something to.
Keep in Touch
Before making your exit, make sure everyone you work with has your "personal business card" (which should include your address, email, and phone number) so that they can easily stay in touch with you. Also, be sure to ask for their business cards so that you can contact them for recommendations, references, or just to touch base occasionally. For some coworkers I like to send Christmas or birthday cards, but I only do this for those I became very close to and consider a friend.
Update Your Resume
Although this task can wait until your internship is actually over, it shouldn’t be put off for too long after. Updating your resume while what you actually did during the internship is still fresh in your mind will help you avoid writers block when trying to describe your job duties and experiences later on. It will also allow you to have an accurate resume ready-to-go just in case you need it. Update you LinkedIn page while you’re at it with the same information, and connect with your coworkers if they have profiles.
Ask for an Evaluation
Even if having an evaluation completed is not required, asking your supervisor for one will help you figure out what skills you need to work on for your next internship or job and which areas you are doing excelling in. You might be surprised by the answers.
Organize Your Portfolio
Save information on any projects you worked on during the internship to your personal flash drive or computer. This includes press releases, fliers, emails, etc. Something you might not think is meaningful now, may be beneficial to have later as proof of the different projects you completed. I also like to type up a short summary of my internship experience (such as any difficulties I experienced, what I am most proud of, etc.) just to have as a reference for future applications or essays.
Ask for a Letter of Recommendation
Giving your employer a heads up that you would like a letter of recommendation, as opposed to waiting several months to ask, is considerate. This way, they will not have to strain to recall your job performance when composing the letter. Politely ask if they would be willing to write a letter to support you in your future endeavors, and give them all of the essential information such as when the letter is needed by and what it will be used for (such as for grad school, job applications, etc.).
Finish What You Started
Try your best to finish all the projects you started during your internship, and if that’s not possible, make sure you take the proper steps to help the person who will take-over the project by leaving detailed notes and files. Also do some general housekeeping like making sure your desk is clear and that there isn’t a picture of your dog as the background on the computer; the next intern will appreciate it.