By Sierra Tishgart
The last few days of your summer internship are just as important as the first -- if not more. You've worked hard all summer long, and the culmination of this experience will set the tone for your next career move. Wrapping up an internship the right way will ensure that moving forward, you'll receive stellar references and consideration for job openings and opportunities. If you take the time now to show your appreciation for your supervisor and lay the groundwork for keeping in touch, he or she can become an invaluable mentor throughout your career. The tricky thing is that saying goodbye to a boss can be a little awkward. Should you write a hand-written thank-you note or send an email? How do you make it known that you'd like to pursue a career at the company? And what's the office protocol on hugging? We asked the experts for their advice.
Click through the slideshow below for nine important tips on ending your internship on a positive note.
- Ballet Tricks To Increase Your Strength, Balance, And Posture
- How, When And Where To Apply Perfume
- Four Surprising Reasons Behind Your Breakouts
- 10 Tips For Successfully Selling Items On eBay
This article has been reprinted with permission from teenvogue.com.
Tie Up Loose Ends
"If you're working on a project that extends past your last day, go the extra mile and create a status report of where you're leaving it," says Shara Senderoff, the CEO of <a href="http://www.internsushi.com/" target="_hplink">Intern Sushi</a>. "Your coordinator will be thankful that you're not leaving him or her in the dark."
Set Up A Time To Talk To Your Supervisor
"Asking your boss if you can meet for ten minutes before the end of your internship can be helpful," says Lauren Berger, the CEO of <a href="InternQueen.com" target="_hplink">InternQueen.com</a>. "Explain your career goals, ask them for advice, and discuss how the internship positively impacted your life."
Ask For Feedback
"In order to properly understand how you've contributed, kindly ask for a critique," says Senderoff. "This is a chance to understand your impact -- or lack thereof -- so you can improve in your next experience. Don't be afraid to ask your supervisor to name a thing or two on which you can improve. This shows your determination to succeed and is a very powerful way to leave on a respectful note."
Thank People Other Than Your Supervisor
"Get time with the highest person at the company that you can," says Amanda Pouchot, the co-founder of <a href="http://www.levoleague.com/signin.html" target="_hplink">The Levo League</a>, an online social network for young professional women. "Ahead of time, ask for a coffee meeting or if you can swing by for fifteen minutes to discuss your career goals. Point out what you've accomplished and why you've found working there inspiring and interesting. The best way to leave the meeting is to ask if you can keep him or her updated on your work after your internship ends." Make sure you don't just thank the people at the top -- assistants and fellow interns have helped you succeed, too. "Be sure to thank anyone who made an impact on you during your internship," says Senderoff. "There is no stock method of saying goodbye to or thanking too many people. Everyone can appreciate an acknowledgement of how they've have been valuable to you."
If You Want To Give A Parting Gift, Make It Stand Out
"Instead of a purchased gift, create something at no cost to show your appreciation or highlight what you've learned from your supervisor," says Senderoff. "It's crucial to be unique when saying goodbye." When in doubt, a delicious homemade baked good does the trick. "If you feel the urge to bring a gift, you can't go wrong with food," says Caroline Ghosn, the co-founder of The Levo League.
Speak Up If You're Job Hunting
"Start by asking your supervisor for a meeting to discuss long-term employment opportunities," says Pouchot. "In that meeting, sell them on you and the work you've done, and how well you fit in within the company culture. You must let them know about your aspirations." Ask your supervisor to put you in touch with someone who works in human resources. "If you're passionate about a company, let them know that you are highly interested in working there -- and be specific why," adds Jenny Blake, author of <em><a href="http://www.lifeaftercollege.org/" target="_hplink">Life After College</a></em>. "Ask the hiring manager about the best way to keep in touch should any positions open up in the future. Find ways to stay on their radar even if they don't have any positions open at the moment. You can follow up in a few months and provide any updates on your end about newfound interests or skills."
If You Didn't Have A Great Experience, Take The High Road
Unfortunately, not all internships supervisors are attentive and nurturing, and you and may have had limited contact with yours. Even if you didn't gain a mentor this summer, you can still benefit from your experience. "A great way to combat a distant or tense relationship with a boss is to write up a report on everything that you worked on during the summer and send it to your boss," says Pouchot. "You could say, 'I had an amazing time this summer and learned a lot; I thought it might be helpful for me to identify the many things I worked on and what I accomplished under your direction.' Highlight to him or her what you did and learned."
Send A Hand-Written Thank You Note
"After the internship ends, students should mail out thank-you notes the very next day," says Berger. "It's a personal touch that goes a long way. People get so many emails these days--it's nice to get a card in the mail and know the student went above and beyond. These notes should be hand-written and just a few sentences. Always thank the employer for their time and reference one or two valuable lessons you learned from the experience."
Stay In Touch
"Make sure that you set up a calendar reminder or a note in your agenda to write a quick email to your employer on a monthly or twice-quarterly basis," says Ghosn. "Spend a half hour looking into what the company has done recently, and write your boss an email that shows that you're up to date. For example: 'Hey, I noticed you changed your homepage - I really like it because of X and Y, but I had trouble figuring out Z; do you want me to ask some of my friends to test it out and give you feedback?' It shows you're keeping up with the company and are there to help out with small gestures." Don't overthink it! "It can be something as simple as, 'This case study came up in my marketing class that reminded me of the work I did this summer,'" says Pouchot.