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Entry by Ali Norman, Career and Technical Education Intern, Department of Workforce Development

Last week was my final week at The Department of Workforce Development. As I have been wrapping up the last couple days by taking down personal touches to my little cube, I have to say that I’ve been a bit nostalgic while doing so. My experience has been nothing short of great this summer. I’ve had a wonderful job experience, done some great networking, added to my resume and made fabulous new friends along the way.

I’ve also been thinking about my favorite parts of this internship and came to this realization: You get what you put into your experience. My experience this summer was so stellar that I would recommend it to anyone. All the qualities of a great internship any college student would want was included: versatility in projects, a great work atmosphere, participation and inclusion on agency meetings and discussions, multiple networking opportunities and friendly co-workers. (Yes, I just made a shameless plug for the DWD Fall internship. If you’re interested, check out the posting on!)

So, to end my internship on the perfect note, I’ve done a few things to ensure a solid lasting impression and want to encourage you to do the same:

Write thank you notes
To some, it may seem that a quick email is sufficient. I have experienced the benefits of writing a quick note of thanks to a supervisor or a mentor. Include something about how enjoyed working with them and appreciated help with your projects and the overall internship experience. To express your appreciation a little more personally, mention a certain instance that meant a lot to you or a time when you learned something new.

Clean up your workspace
In my music organization at Purdue, we always say “leave things better than you found it.” This phrase applies not just to life in general, but particularly to your internship. What if you were to leave a candy wrapper in a drawer and someone found it months later? Gross. Dusty desk and computer? Nasty. Papers, documents and marks on your desk? Rude. Grab a paper towel and do a quick wipe down! Now, doesn’t that feel better?

Print all documentation worthy of making an appearance in your portfolio
While it’s impressive, if you created a 16 page spreadsheet, your future employer may not necessarily want to see that. If you wrote a press release, completed a research summarization, wrote anything important (writing examples are always highly valued) make it look lovely, print it off and pop it into your portfolio. This shows a potential employer that you’re serious about what you want and have the relevant experience and skills to back it up.

Update your resume – right now!
It’s important to add this internship to your resume right away. Right now, while you’re sitting in your desk, in the work environment, thinking about all the projects you’ve just completed and how you need to make sure you’ve crossed your T’s and dotted your I’s before you leave. Ask your supervisor to check out the new resume entry for feedback – they may have a suggestion of something to add that you have forgotten!

At the end of the day, I hope all summer interns have had successful experiences, and continue to do so in the future. Add this internship to the resume and start thinking about what you want to do next summer, because the application season for Summer 2011 will be here before you know it! Good luck!

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