Summer flew by, and now your internship is about to end (or has already ended). All those days of transcribing, analyzing, reporting, getting coffee – whatever it was, are over. Whether you loved or hated the place you were working, you know that expanding your network is vital to success. After all, whether or not you want to stay in the industry you interned in, it’s common knowledge that it’s not always necessarily what you know, but who you know – right? Well, here are HC’s top five recommendations for keeping in touch with your internship so that when you’re looking for another internship or job after graduation, you’ll have contacts to turn to!
But before you start to “keep in touch,” make sure you do a couple things before leaving this summer…
- Ask for 10 Minutes- If you haven’t already, ask if you can meet with either your supervisor or an executive at the firm you are working at. Sit down with them for 10 minutes or so to ask them questions to see how they got to where they are now. “Just 10 minutes will allow you to receive some invaluable advice that you can thank them for later,” says Lauren Berger, the Intern Queen. Then, if you begin a relationship with someone in a high position and continue to keep in touch with them, they can give you an excellent recommendation if you ever need it.
- Thank you notes- Though so much is done via email now, buy some stationery and on the last day, give out hand-written thank you notes to any professional contact whom you had a strong relationship with. If your internship’s over already and you forgot to give them out, send them in the mail. In your note, be sure to say that you look forward to keeping in touch with them in the future!
Keeping in touch…
1. Keep in touch 3 times a year. Send emails to your contacts on a semester basis. It can be your supervisor, or someone else you worked closely with. If you’re sending them to multiple people, take the time to make it personal. Remember, it shouldn’t be a mass email! “Send an email once in the fall semester, once in the spring, and once in the summer,” Berger says. In your email, mention something about the company that you read in the news or online. For example, if you worked for a publicist and read their client quoted somewhere, send them an email and congratulate them. “Just something short, nothing lengthy” Berger says. If you haven’t really noticed anything big in the news, mention something you worked on while you were there or say something that’s new about their website. Also make sure to give them an update on yourself.
Here is an example email:
Hope all is well at CosmoGIRL.com! I noticed that the domain changed and now it’s linked to Seventeen.com. It’s unfortunate that CG doesn’t have its own website anymore!
Anyhow, I just wanted to check in and say hi because I’m in the city this summer. I’m interning at X company until the end of August. If you’re ever free, I’d love to come visit and say hi.
Obviously, this is a little more casual than some would write. Business and finance internships will most likely require a more serious tone. However, you know the relationship with your supervisor/contact the best, so use your best judgment.
2. Offer to help after. If there is work that you think you contribute from home, ask if you can continue work. For example, if you’re working at a magazine or newspaper, ask to continue a blog online. When I interned for CosmoGIRL!, I asked to continue my blog for their website and did so for two years after. Not only did it give me more experience for my resume and a chance to get more clips, but it also strengthened my relationship with the web editor. Now she’s given me a bunch of contacts as I search for a job!
3. Visit – If Possible.Visiting the city you worked in? If your supervisor has time, stop in to say hi. Even if you know someone you worked with previously, who may now be in another branch of the company, try to connect with them. “I worked at Deutsche bank in London while I studied abroad. Then I had an internship with a different company during the summer in New York. However, I grabbed coffee with someone I worked with remotely while in London who was now in New York. She gave me a tour of the building and told me more about the recruitment process in America,” said Parag Shah, a recent graduate of Boston University. It’s helpful to do this because not only do you keep in contact, but it also gives you a chance to physically see what is going on in the office you once worked at. If you worked at one branch but are near another, you can learn what it might take for you to work in that location.
4. Don’t forget your digital network- Connect with your supervisors and contacts on LinkedIn. Hated your internship? You’ll still want to stay in touch (you never know when your supervisor will be helpful down the road), and this is an easy way to stay in touch if you and your supervisor really didn’t click. You can also use it as a way to connect with those at your company who you think might be good contacts later on, but you didn’t work with or get to know very well during the summer.
5. Nurture your network.This is something many students forget to do but is vital. Keep in touch with the other interns on LinkedIn and Facebook. As you progress, they’ll pop up in the future! They will definitely be your future colleagues and people you’ll want to contact. “I became pretty good friends with the other interns I work with. We’re Facebook friends and plan to stay in touch. Since we’re all pretty good friends, I think if any of us ever needed help finding a job or internship we would be willing to help each other,” says Raina Chauhan, a senior at Bryn Mawr College who is interning at TIME Inc.
Northwestern University “After Your Internship “ http://www.northwestern.edu/careers/internship/after.html
Lauren Berger, the Intern Queen
Parag Shah, recent graduate of Boston University
Raina Chauhan, a senior at Bryn Mawr College