In a few short weeks, chances are you’ll be packing your bags and heading back to campus. Hopefully, you’ve spent the summer working at a fabulous company gaining practical experience that you can add to your resume. Your internship may have helped you become clearer on your career path. Even if your summer internship did not live up your expectations, or you’ve crossed the field you worked in off your future career list, you’ll still want to leverage your summer experience.
Here are 12 things to do before you leave your summer internship.
1. If your employer does not have a formal internship review process, request an exit performance review. Be prepared to discuss what you learned and reflect on your key contributions, including what you thought went well and where you felt you could have done better. Be sure to ask for specific feedback, especially constructive suggestions on areas to focus on building your skills. Take notes as you’ll be able to use this information in future interviews.
2. Request a letter of recommendation from your supervisor. Also inquire whether he or she would be willing to act as a reference. Make sure that you have their full contact information, or a business card, so that you can reach them later.
3. Connect on LinkedIn with your boss and co-workers. LinkedIn connections, and recommendations or endorsements, will help you not only strengthen your on-line profile, it might lead to your next job. LinkedIn also makes it easy to stay in contact, even if your former boss has moved on to a new company.
4. Inquire as to the process for applying for a full time position after you graduate. Even if you are not 100% certain that this company is the perfect place for you, it is good to understand how the process works and the timing. Plus, it shows initiative and planning, traits that all employers like.
5. Send hand written thank you notes. Send them to all the key people with whom you interacted, as well as to anyone who helped you. If there was a peer, an administrative person or a cubicle mate, include them on your list. Not only will you make their day, you’ll stand out as being especially thoughtful.
6. Update your resume to include your internship. Be sure to incorporate specific details about what you accomplished. Metrics and measurements will get your profile noticed much more than descriptors of your speed and prowess in making the morning coffee run.
7. Update your LinkedIn profile and add your summer internship position.
8. Change your LinkedIn description to include your expected graduation, major and positions you are seeking, e.g. Northeastern University 2016 International Business Major Seeking Supply Chain Position in Greater Boston.
9. Follow your company on LinkedIn. Set up Google Alerts too so that you are always in the know on the latest news. Emailing an article or referencing a recent development at the company makes a great excuse to keep in touch with your former boss.
10. Ask your boss for recommendations on key industry publications to follow so that you can keep up on what’s happening and relevant to the fields you are interested in.
11. Join LinkedIn groups associated with your college or university. In particular, join their alumni group on LinkedIn. If they won’t let you in now, try again in the spring. These connections will be key ones to develop to help you set up informational interviews later on.
12. Contact your Career Office before you get back to campus. Get the schedule for when, and which, companies will be on campus interviewing. Then put them in your calendar. Once you are back on campus, make arrangements with any of your professors if you need to miss a class to attend an event or an interview. After all, you are going to college not only to get a degree, but also to get a job.
Do all this and chances are you might just get a job offer before you’re back on campus.
This post was also published in the Bangor Daily News on August 3rd.