How to End an Internship on a High Note

What You Can Still Do to Make an Internship Successful

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Ending an internship on a professional note is one of the most valuable and best things an intern can do. Since the major purpose of completing an internship usually consists of the following 3 opportunities, it is crucial that students take the time to end their internships on a good note.

The 3 Main Reasons for Completing an Internship

  1. To gain relevant experience in a career field of interest.
  2. To add the experience to build a stronger resume.
  3. To make personal connections in the field that you will want to keep in contact with.

In evaluating the above 3 reasons for completing an internship, the first and last ones are the things you will want to focus on as your internship comes to an end. Evaluating the experience and recognizing if you have learned everything you can from the internship will help to show you where you are. Are there questions you need to ask or people you still need to talk to? Are there professional journals in the field that you could be reading that you haven’t done so far? If so, see if you can get these in prior to the last week of your internship.

Also, have you taken the opportunity to form relationships with co-workers and supervisors who can help you achieve career success for the future? Is there more you can do in this regard to establish professional networking contacts for the future? One of the most valuable aspects of any internship you complete are the relationships you have made with professionals currently working in the field.

Things to Consider Before Your Internship Ends

Ask for Honest Feedback on Your Performance
Anyone starting out in a new field will want to get feedback so that they will know how they did and what they need to do to improve their performance. If you have enjoyed your internship and you feel like you’ve been a valued member of the team, you may already know how your colleagues feel about you. On the other hand, if you are not sure about your performance on the job, or if you wonder why other interns have received recommendations or even a job offer, you may want to check so that you understand what’s going on. Although this can be an uncomfortable situation, it’s important to know what’s keeping you back or if you’ve done a good job, if there’s anything else that’s working against you. It could be as simple as you are working in a field that is not a good fit for your personality, interests, and values. In that case, it’s best to know to move on rather than questioning why you left the internship feeling rejected and not appreciated for your efforts.

Make an Effort to Be Appreciative for the Experience
Prior to the end of your internship, make it a point to go around and say goodbye and thank those who you’ve worked with over the course of your internship. There will undoubtedly be those that you’ve gotten along better with than others; it’s important to maintain professionalism to everyone who’s contributed to your learning over the summer even if it’s with someone that you had to learn how to control your emotions to avoid uncomfortable situations. Taking this approach also leaves the door open for future opportunities or even just to get a recommendation for a future job you apply for.

Gain Perspective by Reflecting on the Experience
Sometimes we are just too close to a situation to be able to see it realistically. Stepping back and reflecting on the experience may provide some much-needed clarification. Taking some time to evaluate the experience and asking yourself specific questions can help you learn more from the experience and ways you might improve your performance next time. There are always things we can learn from any experience, and a good attitude is what will help you to grown and improve professionally.

Do Your Best Work Right Up to the Last Day
Be sure to put all of your efforts into your internship up to the very last day. Becoming a slacker the last few days or weeks of your internship will leave a bad impression of who you are and will cause the employer to question your work ethic in the long term. Last impressions are often the most vivid, and you want to leave the internship on a very high note. You will want to receive a good reference from the employer and who knows, maybe even a future job offer.

Maintain Your Connections with Supervisors and Co-Workers
Just because you are leaving your internship, don’t just fall off the face of the earth. Since networking is the #1 job search strategy and one of the core reasons for doing an internship to develop these contacts, touch base periodically to update them on your progress and to ask for their expertise. No matter what the field, professionals love the opportunity to help new talent get their feet off the ground.