The sounds of ruffled pages and clinking mugs can be heard at the front desk of OPR as the summer interns pack up their belongings to head back to their universities. Similar sounds flood offices all over the world, as the not-so-new interns complete their final assignments before sweeping up their laptops and heading out the doors they first entered only months ago. Often, leaving happens so quickly that these individuals miss out on something really important: the opportunity to go out with a bang and leave an everlasting impression.
Successfully wrapping up an internship and leaving on a high note is JUST as important as starting off strong. Some would argue that how you leave is almost more important, because it’s the last chance to make a long-lasting impact on your colleagues.
Following these steps can help you effectively wrap up your internship and leave an everlasting impression.
- Treat every day like a new one. Just because you’re at the end of your internship does not mean that you have learned all that you can. Every day is a new chance to sharpen your skills and gain more knowledge in your field. Never cease asking questions or challenging yourself, because your last minutes at your internship are just as valuable as your first few.
- Request more assignments. If you are blessed with the ability to crank out quality assignments, ask for a few more! There’s nothing more admirable than persevering to work hard until the very end of an internship. Take advantage of the fact that you are there to learn and gain experience! You might as well sneak in a few more projects before your departure.
- Request an evaluation. Remember all of the questions you’ve been dying to ask throughout your whole internship? Ah, yes. Now is the time to ask them! What did you do well? What can you work on? What are the best ways to make an impression in your endeavors to meet a future employer? How did your boss land his or her first job out of college? If he or she could give you one piece of valuable advice, what would it be? Does your boss think that you would be an asset to this company in the future? The list goes on.
- Build a portfolio and update your resume. If you haven’t already, create a portfolio for potential employers to look at when you apply for a position right after college. A lot of people use websites like WordPress or Wix to make their online portfolios. It’s important to have different tabs that highlight qualities that future employers typically look for: internship experiences, examples of work, extracurricular activities and hobbies. Don’t forget to add a page about yourself so that they can get an idea of who you are personally to see if you would be a good fit for their company’s culture and the position you are applying for.
- Clean up. Remember how spotless it was when you came in as a new, bright-eyed, bushy-tailed intern? Guess what. There will be many interns following you, so it is important to make sure their space is as clean and organized for them as it was for you when you first entered the double doors. Also, do not leave projects unfinished for your team members. If you have daily assignments that are being passed off to someone else or to a new intern, make sure that they are organized so that they can be picked up efficiently and quickly.
- Thank your colleagues. Whether you know it or not, your colleagues have built you up with new experiences and new skills that will make you even more successful in your future endeavors. They helped you cross the basic stepping stones to teaching you how to navigate a more challenging tide. For their mentorship, a thank you is in order! If you’re stumped, here are a few ideas: write handwritten thank you notes explaining what they taught you and what you admire about them, or give the whole office a gift, like baked goods or a vase of fresh flowers.
- Stay connected. This is the most important piece of advice I can give you. Nowadays, who you know is everything when applying for a new career. Connections can open up doors to so many different opportunities! Sometimes just having a connection can put you before someone else when competing for the same job. So before you head out, exchange emails and phone numbers, and add them on LinkedIn and any other social media outlets that you wish. Then be sure to follow up with those connections. Ask them to grab a quick bite to catch up once in a while. Do you have a new, inspiring idea? Ask them what they think over coffee. Shoot them an email if you need career advice. Call them up if you have a work-related question. The options are endless.
Always remember, the way you leave is just as powerful as the way you entered. Cheers to new beginnings with your newly acquired (but established) connections!
Jenna Mehmed is one of Obsidian’s Level 1 summer interns. She is a University of Memphis PR student graduating May of 2018. Learn a little more about Jenna here.