How to End Your Summer Internship on a Good Note

By Alyssa Laffitte on August 13, 2018

Around this time of year, many students are wrapping up their summer internships. Now that this season is coming to a close, it’s time to consider how to finish your summer internship on a good note and to tie up any loose ends, because it’s important to leave your internship with a good impression of you. Here are some things you should do before you finish your summer internship.

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Good things to do before you leave your summer internship

Here are a few things you should do before the last day of your summer internship to help you finish off on a good note. Let’s discuss some of those things!

Set up a meeting with your supervisor

Before you finish your summer internship, it is extremely important that you meet with your supervisor. In fact, you should schedule a quick meeting with them to touch base and to tie up any loose ends before you leave. This meeting is a good opportunity to leave your supervisor on a good note. During this meeting, let them know what you have accomplished throughout your time at the company. Of course, don’t brag while you do this. Let them know the state of your project, and what the next steps will be (in other words, what tasks will your successor be responsible for?).

You could also ask your supervisor to evaluate your job performance. It’s a good idea to ask them if there is anything you can improve in. You can keep their answer in mind when you prepare for your next internship or job. For example, your supervisor might tell you that you need to pay more attention to detail. With this information, you now know to pay attention to detail in your next internship. Further, if you have any questions about their industry, or the next steps you should take to prepare for a successful career in their industry, now is the time to ask them questions. You will regret leaving their office with questions unanswered!

If you meet with your supervisor before you leave, you will be able to tie up many loose ends and finish your internship on a good note.

Ask your supervisor for a letter of recommendation

Another question you can ask during your meeting with your supervisor is if they are willing to write you a letter of recommendation. This is especially important if you will be applying to graduate school, medical school, or jobs within the next year. Nowadays, hiring managers and admissions committees are putting more emphasis on letters of recommendation, so it is imperative that your letters are outstanding. If your supervisor has seen you work hard, they could be a great candidate to write you a strong letter for these applications, because they can attest to your strong work ethic.

Even if you won’t be applying anywhere for another year or two, it still won’t hurt to ask! When it comes time for you to apply to these positions, you’ll be relieved that you already have at least one person who will write you a letter.

Asking your supervisor for a letter of recommendation is a great thing to do before finishing your summer internship.

Touch base with your co-workers

Similarly, you should touch base with your co-workers before you leave your summer internship. Just as you did with your supervisor, you should let your co-workers know what’s happening with your project. More specifically, tell them about what you have done so far and what needs to be done next in regard to your project. Of course, if you’ve become good friends with them, you could go out to lunch one last time and talk about non-work stuff. You can exchange numbers and social media handles if you haven’t already, as keeping in touch with them is very important! You can even start discussing who will pick up your work where you left off (in other words, your successor). This brings me to my next point…

Infographic by Alyssa Laffitte

Offer to train your successor

If you were involved in a big project during your summer internship, the company will likely want to continue this project. However, you won’t be there to continue it. This means someone else will have to take over your project. Before you leave, you could offer to help choose your successor. This way, you can help choose someone who can gracefully pick up where you left off. You can suggest a co-worker that you know is capable of doing what you did.

If your successor has already been chosen, you can also offer to train them. You should tell this person what you have been doing, and what they will be expected to do once you are gone. This will make their new responsibilities much less overwhelming for them, since they will already know what to expect. At the very least, write up a quick report to detail what you’ve been doing for your project and what your successor will need to do to keep it going.

Before you leave your summer internship, try to have a successor in place to take over your project, and you can even offer to train them.

Complete any remaining work

Your project might still have some loose ends that you need to tie up before you leave. For example, have you finished all your reports? Are there a few documents left for you to review? Take advantage of your last few days at your summer internship to make sure these final things get done. Your supervisor will not be happy if you leave some work unfinished, so try your best to tie up those loose ends and get everything done before you leave on your last day. This is important if you want to leave your internship on a good note.

Turn in any paperwork

Of course, this will vary from workplace to workplace. But before you leave, make sure you don’t have to turn in any extra paperwork. In some workplaces, you might need to submit a formal letter or report before you leave. (Personally, for my summer internship, I needed to finalize a few documents before I left. It would have been bad to leave without doing this!) In other words, turning in any final, remaining paperwork will help you finish your summer internship on a good note.

Clean up your workspace

A clean workspace is a good fresh start for your successor. For that reason, it is common courtesy to leave your workspace neat and tidy when you finish your internship. Before you finish your summer internship, please take a few minutes to clean up your workspace. Throw away any water bottles you might have left on your desk. Tidy up the organizational spaces. Put things back where they belong. This will make it easier for the next person to move into your office once you leave your summer internship.

Good things to do once you have finished your internship

Even after the last day of your summer internship, there are still a few things you should do before the school year starts to help you get the most from your internship experience. Let’s discuss some of those things!

Send a thank-you note

This may seem like an old-fashioned thing to do, but sending a thank-you note to the people from your summer internship is a great way to wrap up your internship. Thank-you notes are a wonderful sign of appreciation and respect (Bonus points if you hand write an actual card!). Once you finish your internship, handwrite a card and send it to your old workplace. Your supervisor and co-workers will be very touched to receive it! (And they will definitely remember your short note when it’s time for them to write you a recommendation letter!) Sending a thank-you card to your supervisor and even your co-workers at your internship is a fantastic way to end your internship.

Update your resume and your LinkedIn profile

Unfortunately, many college students don’t touch their resumes or their LinkedIn profiles until it’s time for them to look for a job or an internship. This is a bad habit that you should not fall into! Instead, get into the habit of updating your resume and your LinkedIn profile often. If you update your resume and your LinkedIn often, you will not have to scramble to update them the night before an application is due (which will make you more likely to leave out something important!). Try to update these documents whenever something important happens. Your resume and your LinkedIn will always be up to date if you do this! For example, update them when you join a new student organization. Update them when you finish an internship. Update them when you graduate. Update them when you receive a new honor. These things are important, and will make your application stand out. (Another advantage of updating your LinkedIn right after you finish your internship is that you can ask to “connect” with your co-workers from your internship!) Once you finish your summer internship, update your resume and your LinkedIn profile!

Reflect on your internship experience

Now that you’ve finished your internship, take a few minutes to think about your experience. What did you like about it? What did you not like? Could you see yourself working full time in that kind of career? Is there something you would have done differently? Reflecting on these questions, and your answers to them, can help guide you as you prepare for your career. If you realize you didn’t like your internship, now is the time to realize it and to correct your course to help you prepare for a career you WILL enjoy.

The wonderful thing about internships is that they give you the experience of a job you might want to have in the future. You will have a much better idea of what a career in your dream field is like after an internship. In other words, an internship gives you the opportunity to “test drive” a certain job, because as an intern, you are working as if you have the job. Because of this experience, you might realize you don’t like the job you have been dreaming about. Next year, you can choose a different type of internship, until you find something you truly love. On the other hand, you might realize you love the job after interning for a few weeks in the field. It will make you more confident about your career path. That’s the whole purpose of an internship, to help you discover what you love! When you take the time to reflect on your internship, you will get to know yourself and your professional goals better.

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Stay in touch with the people from your internship

Have you ever heard the phrase, “Don’t burn bridges”? This phrase tells us to not cut ourselves off from our old friends, school, workplace, or supervisor. I recommend you don’t “burn the bridge” you built during your summer internship. Keep in touch with your supervisor and with your co-workers. Make sure you have your supervisor’s email address and phone number. Keeping in touch with them doesn’t have to be awkward. Send them a quick email when something important happens in your life. Write them a congratulatory note if they get a promotion. Visit them if you are ever in the area. These things will help you stay in touch with the people you met this summer. You never know if someone there will be a helpful connection for you, or if you will be a helpful connection to them! For this reason, it’s important to stay in touch with the people you met during your summer internship.

Summer internships are great ways to expand your skill set and to spend your summer productively. They are awesome networking and learning opportunities. But now that your summer internship is coming to an end, consider my tips to help you finish off your summer internship on a good note.

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