Everything has an ending and internships end sooner than you think – in Washington D.C. of all places at that. This post will describe what someone should do before departing from their internships and singing the blues.
Greetings friends, hope everyone in the U.S. had a wonderful Thanksgiving. If you’re happening to read this and you live overseas, Thanksgiving is a wonderful holiday, so come to America and see what its all about.
As I ride on the DC Metro or while meeting with other fellow interns, I hear this concern quite often; what do I do at the end my internship? Remember, you’re only in the office for 10-12 weeks and you knew you would not see these people on a daily basis after the internship. Sadly, they are not your permanent co-workers. Some of them you develop a relationship with and became very good friends, others may have just become your acquaintances. No matter how you categorize these individuals, you’re not going to be working with them anytime soon, except if you were one of those lucky interns that they hired (which never seems to be me). During your last few weeks, there are a few things you should do before you depart back to reality.
- Recommendation letter- You were accepted to your internship for a reason. You worked hard or tried your best, you learned some skills, and etc. However, adding your experience to your resume is a good thing, but receiving a recommendation separates the average intern from the hard working intern. Recommendation letters and people that want to be listed as your reference will assist you getting a job. In fact, when the time comes when you apply for a job, this letter may be the only difference between you and the other candidate competing for that position. If you want this letter, inform your supervisor at least a week or two in advance so they can draft one up for you. If you wait till last minute, you be seen as an inconvenience and chances are you will not receive one.
- Network- Connect with individuals you been meaning to contact, but just have not found the time. Inform them you are leaving soon and you would be honored to meet them for an informal meeting or coffee break to discuss anything you like. Same rules apply as stated in my previous posts so do not think the dynamic changes. This is especially great to do in Washington D.C. where there are many important people to meet.
- Thank you cards- You’re not thanking them for a gift or something thoughtful they did for you. Instead, you are thanking them for the opportunity they gave you and they should be recognized and thanked. Please HAND write these cards! I cannot stress this enough. Handwriting illustrates a more personal connection and you took the time out of the day to show you truly are grateful for the opportunity.
- Stay in contact- Those business cards you received while networking, well those people you should stay in contact with. What I would suggest is at least email them once a month just to say a few sentences. As for your supervisor, I would do the same. It shows you still are thinking of them and you miss the work you were doing; never know when an opportunity can come your way just because you kept in contact.
Make the best of it at the end. Honestly, it can be a bittersweet time. You’re torn between missing the work you do and where you are at, but also excited to move on and work somewhere to make a career out of it. You never thought you would ever intern at your place, but you did. At first, the time does go by slow, but then at the end, time flies by and before you know it, your internship is over. Even if you did not like your internship, keep your head up and stay optimistic as much as possible. Once you’re done with your internship, you can now devote your time finding a job and trying to earn some extra cash on the side at a part time job. I firmly believe individuals getting hired are by knowing someone and being at the right place at the right time and also applying the right time, i.e. one position or place more competitive than the other. Employers used to stress they are looking for education, experience, and skills but that seems to be the past. Instead, employers want individuals that can communicate, have interned before, and someone that is willing to give their 110%.
A winner is a dreamer who never gives up. – Nelson Mandela