Making sure students follow best practices in saying good-bye to summer internships

August 23, 2011 at 7:00 am | Posted in Intern Advice | 2 Comments

Susan Sandberg

A recent study published by Rutgers University calculated the value of an internship. Students who completed internships during the course of their degrees earned a median salary $6,680 higher than those who did not. But first the student intern must secure an actual job offer. “Landing an internship and completing it successfully isn’t enough, in and of itself, to convert the experience into a job offer,” says Mercy Eyadiel, executive director of employer relations at Wake Forest University. “How students end their internship is often the difference between a successful experience and a less fruitful one.”

Eyadiel offers 5 tips to consider before saying good-bye:

1. Know where you stand – Be proactive and request feedback from your manager and co-workers. Make it easy for them by providing bullet points about what you’ve learned and highlighting your key accomplishments. Send this information in advance and request time to discuss in person. This will demonstrate your initiative and how serious you are about ongoing career development.

2. Communicate your interest – Don’t assume that your manager knows you are interested in working for the organization. Let them know! Share specifics about what you liked and how you can add value to their organization.

3. Stay connected – Use LinkedIn to stay in touch with former colleagues and managers. Be sure to update your professional experiences and “get recommended.” Be discerning with your Facebook interactions since most people use this as a social rather than a professional network.

4. Help make introductions – Now that you are familiar with what your employer cares about, find ways to help them make connections. If they are interested in a particular area of research and you know a faculty member who happens to be an expert, find out if there is mutual interest to be connected.

5. Show appreciation – Send a handwritten thank you note to your manager and other colleagues who were helpful during your experience. Handwritten notes will help you stand out over email.

Other best practices that could turn your students’ internship experiences into potential job offers include students asking if they could continue as virtual interns either doing special projects or performing their current assignments from their computers when they return to campus in the fall.  Suggest that your students upgrade their resumes, adding the internship experience and sending the revised resume to the company HR or personnel officer with a request to be kept on file for future opportunities.

Remind your students to collect relevant samples of the work performed as interns and assemble professional portfolios, which are also good places to showcase letters of recommendation from internship supervisors or professors. The portfolio will help to stimulate conversation during an interview. You might want to provide your students with a good-looking binder from your college in order to accommodate the materials from multiple internships.


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