How to make sure your internship ends on a high note to score that dream job after graduation.
You landed that coveted internship, and killed it all summer. Amazing. That was all you had to do to convince your manager to offer you that full-time dream job for after graduation, right?
Wrong. As your internship comes to a close, there are four crucial things you must do to increase your chances of being offered a full-time role, or at least cement a solid recommendation for whatever you go on to do next.
And managers, you think your amazing intern did a solid job on everything you threw at them, so you’re sure you should make them an offer. That’s not enough! These four actions will tell you if you’ve got a real all-star worthy of that coveted offer in your midst or not.
1. Show what you know
I have had several interns under me over the years, and two recent ones really nailed this tip. They put together a report sharing the insights from their work. It was structured as findings from their work that we could implement to improve our business.
Secretly, they were demonstrating that they really dug into their assignments, learned a ton, understand our business, and can provide valuable insights into our future. They also showed they have excellent business writing and presentation skills, to boot.
No one asked either of them to write their findings into a proposal or report, but they took the initiative and it paid off.
2. Get a review
Feedback is important for your growth, and how you seek out and receive it is so important for showing the kind of employee you will be.
Are you someone set in your ways who does not want to grow and cannot take constructive criticism, or are you someone looking for opportunities to do better that is hungry for real feedback you can put into action?
Ask your direct manager if you can set time to get feedback on how the internship went, how your work was, and what you can work on to keep growing. During the interview, be as open as you can be to the feedback, and if they do not share things you could improve, ask for them directly.
A great question to prompt this (and the idea of you coming back full-time) is, “If I wanted to work here after graduation, what would you recommend I focus on to be as successful as I can be?”
Be sure to ask about next steps after the internship if you are interested in working with the company in the future (even if it is for a different unit or department).
3. Leave no loose end behind
This is an obvious point to make, but you would be surprised how often people end internships with work mid-flight. This is as much on your manager as you, but you can certainly control it from you end.
Make sure you finish everything you started that can be finished, or make sure it’s handed off completely. If it is finished, make sure your manager knows this (an easy way to do so is by doing the first tip, and talking about it in the second tip).
4. Leave on a high note
As you start the last morning of your internship, before you lose access to company email, send out a farewell email to everyone you worked with to say goodbye, tell them what an amazing experience you had, and thank them for all they contributed to your time there. You can also ask to stay in touch, and share a link to your LinkedIn profile.
For people you worked with closest, go beyond the email, and do an in-person goodbye, thanking them for all they did to help you over the course of your internship. This is a great chance to ask if you could count on someone for a reference down the road.
Internships can be so valuable to your career, but only when you make them as valuable as they can be. Make them miss you when you go by ensuring you leave on a high note.
For employers, a great intern may not make a great employee if they can’t transition into being more independent initiative-takers. Watch for how they exit to see if they have what it takes to help drive your business forward.
This post is inspired by my best-selling book, “Do a Day: How to Live a Better Life Every Day” available in print, ebook and audiobook formats. It originally appeared in my Inc.com column on July 18th, 2017