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The Daily Illini

Making the most of your internship experience

By Jillian Kaehler, Contributing writer

Congratulations! You’ve just completed your internship. Whether you interned at your dream company over the summer or worked with a local group during the school year, you successfully survived, and that is a huge professional milestone. However, the work doesn’t end there. There are things you should do once you have finished an internship to increase your chance of getting hired in the future.

1. Stay connected with your colleagues.

Email, email, email! It is easy for employers to forget about past interns. Prioritize contacting them around three times a year via email with simple email subject lines such as “Hope all is well,” or “Checking in.” Email subjects are always tricky, especially with the vague topic of just saying hi, so keep it easy and succinct. Share what you have been up to recently, ask them about their work, and provide any examples of how your internship work continues to influence your daily life.

2. Keep your LinkedIn updated and turn on public notifications

This is a great tool to inform your connections about what you are up to. In your LinkedIn settings account, turn on “Notify my network when I’ve made any changes” and any time you update your profile or start a new job, your connections will get an email or notification about your new position. They can then send a congratulatory comment your way, or at least be reminded that you still exist.

3. Visit the company (if possible)

Did you work in Chicago this summer? If you don’t have any spring break plans, or are home for a long weekend, get permission to drop by the office. Walking through the old stomping grounds will be a great way to show your colleagues your interest and dedication to your work. If you can’t make it into the office, reach out to a colleague to grab lunch or coffee. Even if they are unavailable, they will be reminded of your connection, and can definitely try for another time. If you were in Washington D.C., New York or anywhere across the globe, don’t let distance get you down. In your email correspondence with a colleague, make it known that the next time you’re in town, you’ll be stopping by.

4. Understand that there won’t be a constant stream of communication

Remember that people are busy. If a previous coworker doesn’t respond right away, don’t take it personally. It can take months for a connection to get back to you with his or her reply, and that’s normal. Make sure your response back is in a fairly timely manner as well.

5. Don’t forget about your fellow interns/classmates

These are your peers who are going through the exact same processes as you are. If you met at the company, or if you met at a school career fair, don’t disregard them as competition, or write them off because they don’t have a fancy title. Networking is all about who you know, your fellow interns could end up working at your dream company in the future, so it’s important to stay in contact.

1 Comment
  • Awign

    Good tips on how an intern can make better use of his / her internship..!