If you are about to finish (or have already finished) your internship, you may not be sure what to do next. Maybe you’re looking for a new job offer, or you’d like to grow within the company, or you’re not sure and would like to study the opportunities on the market before you go back to work again.
Here are 7 smart things to do after your internship ends to make the most of what you have learned during your work experience:
1- Thank your employers and stay in contact with them
After your internship ends, it is important that you express your gratitude to the people who have given you the opportunity and taught you during your internship. Not only will you make a good impression, but you will also show interest in what you have learned.
Write a personalized letter to each person who has taught you, highlighting in each case everything you have learned thanks to them and how their contribution has helped you to grow as a professional. By doing this, you are sure to be considered in the future.
It is also a good idea to keep in touch with these people as they may be the gateway to other internships or a new job. Nowadays with LinkedIn, it is straightforward to feed your professional network and it is a good idea to set reminders to send them a message, for example, to ask about the evolution of a project where you have collaborated, or to greet them on their birthday.
2- Always: ask for recommendations
Ask for a letter of recommendation after your internship ends. Each company has its own processes for requesting one, so be sure to ask before you apply. It may be the Human Resources Department, or perhaps your own boss is the right person to write it.
Make sure you check and apply in time before the end of your internship so that you have it ready on the last day.
There may even be an open position you are interested in at the same company (or elsewhere), so you can ask directly to be recommended for that job.
3- Work on your professional profile
After your internship ends, your professional profile will have changed from how it was when you started, so to update it according to the experience you have gained you can follow these steps:
Self-knowledge exercise: Consider what your skills are
Write down all the skills you have developed during your internship. They are all important, both the social skills and the technical skills specific to the job you have developed.
It is a good way to get to know yourself better and to find out what is more challenging for you and what you are good at, what you like the most and what you like the least, and what you have learned or developed thanks to this experience.
It will also serve as a guide to know what you should focus on and what you should work on. You will identify your strengths and weaknesses.
Update your CV
And by this, we don’t just mean the job title and the name of the company where you have worked. Do a profound update and highlight your contributions to the company: What have been your greatest achievements, and how has the company improved as a result of your performance?
The more specific the information you provide, the better you will be able to demonstrate your performance as a professional to other companies that may be interested in you. Include details of specific projects you have worked on and demonstrate how you have added value to the company.
Start creating your portfolio
It is essential to have an updated portfolio with your most outstanding work in many professional areas. If you are just starting to build it, you can include everything you have done so far, and gradually when you have more experience, you will refine it with what you consider favors you more as a professional.
Ask your company for permission to collect samples of your work during the internship and detail in your portfolio what the challenge or objective was that you had to achieve, and what you did to overcome it. This will also be very useful for you to keep in mind when explaining it in your next job interview.
4- Ask for feedback in a reverse internship interview
After your internship ends, ask your supervisor for an exit interview to discuss your experience and receive feedback. This will be very useful for two reasons: it will increase your value as a professional to your employer by showing interest in your development and in their opinion of your performance. You will also get your supervisor’s opinion of your job performance, from which you can draw conclusions about what you are good at and what you can improve.
Think about the questions you want to ask in advance, analyze the topics you want to talk about, and don’t be afraid to ask anything that you think will help you improve as a professional. They will appreciate your interest.
You can get more details by reading the 5 tips to maximize your internship experience.
5- Continue working hard with your company
Don’t stop striving to continue adding value to your company. Even though you have finished (or are about to finish) your internship, ask yourself what you can continue doing to help your company improve.
Think back and review any gaps, holes, or mistakes you have seen during the time you have been working and propose improvements, offer to volunteer to write a process plan or help other colleagues with what they are doing. If you can, make a proposal, be proactive and present a few ideas to your supervisor for approval.
6- If you want to stay in the company, ask about future opportunities
If you have enjoyed your internship and are interested in continuing with the company, express interest in the job before you leave.
Check what your possibilities are: is there an open position that interests you, perhaps another internship contract in the meantime, or maybe they need someone part-time to help with a specific project?
7- Make a plan for the next steps in your career
Whatever your situation is at the end of your internship or whatever advice you take, it is clear that the most important thing is to be clear about where you want to go and what you want your next step to be. To be clear and not lose focus, draw up a plan (as detailed as possible) with your goals and what you can do in the short and medium term to achieve them. This will guide you in making a decision and you will know that whichever option you choose, you will be going in the right direction.
Read more about the 6 reasons why you need to do an internship this summer.