Best practices for wrapping up a successful internship

by Jessi Cohen
Marketing & Digital Intern at Charles Aris

As I conclude my amazing marketing internship with Charles Aris Executive Search, here’s what I’m doing to ensure a smooth transition for my team:

  • Make sure employers know when you’re leaving: Don’t just disappear! At the start of any internship you should plan for when it ends. Discuss end dates with your manager, and inform the rest of your team and any other necessary people.
  • Return all company items: This includes shipping back or returning all resources to the office, such as company laptops, monitors or other technology.
  • Tie up loose ends: Before it’s too late, ask your boss and team about what the transition process will look like. Maybe you’ll have the opportunity to train or shadow an incoming intern who will be filling your role, or perhaps you’ll be put in charge of creating training materials to pass on based on the roles and responsibilities you’ve completed in your internship.
  • Reflect on what you’ve learned: In your last week, you’ll be feeling pretty nostalgic about your internship. If you had to summarize the most significant lessons into one statement, what would it be? Future employers will definitely be asking, so prepare while it’s fresh. Here are some guiding categories and questions.
    1. Skills: What do you know how to do now (or do better) than when you started?
    2. Knowledge: What have you learned since you started?
    3. Personal: What have you realized about yourself through this experience? What have you learned about the world?
    4. Miscellaneous: What surprised you about your internship? What did you learn that you didn’t expect? 
  • Ask for feedback: This is your chance to get an assessment of your performance and talk about what you learned. Remember all of the questions you’ve been dying to ask throughout your whole internship? Now is the time to ask them! Set aside time with your boss to go over what they think you did well and how you can continue to develop yourself as a professional. Here are a few example feedback questions to ask:
    • 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 their first job out of college? 
    • If they 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?
    • Don’t be shy to share your career goals with them, ask for advice, and make sure to thank them for their mentorship.
  • Collect references: You’ve worked with many different people during your internship and you’ve gained many good contacts in the process. Ask some of your coworkers if they’d be willing to give you a reference on LinkedIn. Be sure you’ve connected with them on the platform.
  • Follow up and stay in touch: It’s essential to show that you are grateful for the time you spent at your internship. The best way to start may be sending an email to your employers thanking them for the opportunity. Your colleagues have built you up with new experiences and skills that will make you even more successful in your future endeavors. 
  • Template: “I’d love to be able to list you as a reference in the future when I’m applying for internships/jobs, since you’d be able to speak to my work and how I’ve grown over these past months in my internship. I’d love to keep in touch; how does that sound to you?” 
    • Don’t forget to be specific about what you’ve learned or explicitly enjoyed, and thank your supervisor for their guidance and mentorship.
    • Once they’re in your digital network, they’ll be at your fingertips to follow up with for information, advice or to provide an update. 
  • Build a portfolio, update resume and update LinkedIn: While your internship is still fresh in your mind, use these tips to update your LinkedIn profile. The more detail, the more your future employer will learn about your skills, abilities and knowledge. And if you haven’t already, create a portfolio for potential employers to look at when you apply for a new position. Keep copies of projects you completed to show at future interviews, as your company allows.

Bottom line: You’ve learned so much in your internship. Take full advantage of your new skills and connections. And don’t forget that not every internship is going to be your ‘dream job.’ Even if this was the case, the internship was still a learning experience and an opportunity to add something to your resume and portfolio. 

Now it’s time to set your sights on new opportunities. The skies are the limit!