In careers, as in most things, endings matter. This is true whether you are leaving a job, an internship or a project team. Bringing things to closure with intention and proactively working to continue relationships after you leave is important. This is the early phase for most of you of building and maintaining professional relationships so here are some tips on how to leave your internship. Don’t just drift away!
If not, it isn’t too late. Go today to your boss, or someone in the organization who is looking beleaguered and see if there are ways you can take on some responsibility, provide support, learn something that will help you down the road. If this internship isn’t providing you with those types of opportunities find a way to push and offer your time and talents.
But it is not too soon to think about how you leave this organization, and here are some things to keep in mind.
- Make sure that you wrap up your work. If you are leaving in the middle of a project leave a road map of what has been done and what is left to do so that whoever comes after you has a plan.
- Ask to meet with your boss and get some feedback regarding your efforts. What did you do that s/he was impressed with – where could you improve
- Ask for a reference. This can be from your boss or from someone who you worked with on projects etc. It is a great thing to walk away with something in writing. A year down the road when you are graduating and applying for jobs they may not remember the details of how amazing you were!
- Also ask them if they will be willing to be a reference for you down the road. They may be puzzled because they just gave you a written reference but remind them that sometimes hiring managers want to talk with the person v. just look at something written a year ago.
- Ask to connect with them on LinkedIn and then do it!
- Thank people broadly at the organization. Try and find a way to personalize it by describing a way that they helped you or that you learned from them.
- If someone helped you a lot – spend time with you or just eased your entry into the organization a very small gift is a sweet idea. I am a fan of 6 chocolate covered strawberries from Edible Arrangements but use your imagination – but keep it small.
- Give your college career development office feedback on how the internship went so they can continue to calibrate who or if they should be sending students to that organization.
If you are having trouble implementing any of these steps and you would like to talk about it – feel free to contact us for a free consultation at email@example.com.