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So Your Summer Internship Is Over…Now What?

If you have ever had a summer internship, you know that amazing feeling of relief when you first land the position, whether it’s for “the experience” or to make some much needed money—maybe even both if you get really lucky. All of your parents’ nagging transforms into enthusiasm and pride when you realize you won’t have to spend four months scooping ice cream or holding a bunch of summer camp kids’ hands.
Not to mention, you can almost foresee the gleaming new addition your resume will have on it by the end of the summer-the sparkling glimmer of experience and effort that isn’t the least bit padded. Fast forward to September. You’re back at school and your hard-won internship is over…now what? Read on for 4 important steps that will help keep your summer internship coach from turning into a pumpkin!

1. Update Your Resume
This may sound minor, but it’s so important for you to update your resume while the experience and all of the new skills you gained are fresh in your mind. Be sure to include a brief description of the company or organization next to its name so that future bosses can easily recognize just how impressive your experiences are. Highlight the most impressive projects or tasks you completed and skills you gained—you dedicated months of your life to an experience that hopefully involved more than getting coffee and checking Facebook, so let it show!

2. Reflect on Your Experience
Did you love your internship? Did you hate it? Either way, what really matters in the long run is why. Was an industry you thought was dynamic and interesting actually boring? Were the projects you worked on relevant to your interests? An internship is equally valuable if you’re obsessed with the company and want to work there forever, if you learned a lot and want to apply it elsewhere, or if you’re running away and never looking back—you learn something about yourself in all three scenarios, you just need to pinpoint what it is and then use that knowledge in the future. 

3. Get a Fall Internship

Once you’ve completed #2, why wait until next summer to have your next fantastic internship experience? It’s not too late to get a fall internship! A lot of companies are looking to fill last-minute positions, literally, right now. There are a few super effective ways to find those opportunities. Barnard and Columbia’s internship postings are a great place to start looking—with step #1, your resume should be ready to go anyway! Reach out to friends who had great experiences at their own internships this summer to see if they know of any fall opportunities. A personal connection to your potential new boss or the company can be one of your very best tools towards landing the internship. And it definitely doesn’t hurt to reach out to your summer boss and the other interns you worked with to see what opportunities they may know of. 

4. Keep in Touch
This is an intern 101 platitude, but surprisingly (or maybe not so surprisingly), a vast majority of interns don’t do this. It is SO IMPORTANT! Your summer internship may look great on paper, but you aren’t making good use of that network if you don’t reach out to all of the people you met and worked with. A good rule of thumb is to contact your former boss every several months—you don’t want to harass him or her with awkwardly frequent check-ins, but you also don’t want a year to pass so that you lose the connection and get that painful “I’m sorry, but who are you?” response. If you land a fall internship, email your summer boss with an update on where you’ll be working and what you’ll be doing. It’s also a huge plus if you can drop in something you heard about the company or its work like a great article you read or a new project you heard about. Be sure to include a major thank you as well if you used that person as a reference to land the new position. If you maintain a connection with your old bosses by keeping them updated and newly impressed by your ongoing stellar work, it will ultimately be the most helpful resource you have when searching for your next internship or even a job!

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