Last Friday, the Indiana INTERNnet team joined over 50 interns at the Indiana State Fairgrounds for another summer intern engagement event.
Attendees played a round of trivia for a chance to win donated prizes – it was the perfect way to make sure everyone was wide awake and engaged. After buzzing in for questions about Indianapolis, Indiana and the State Fair, the interns were fired up and ready for the morning’s career development session.
Samantha Martin, assistant director of the Ball State University Career Center, was eager to take the floor and keep up the energy in the room. To start, she had participants split into groups for a unique networking game where everyone was asked to make a chain of facts that each of their internships had in common. The winning team took home “Fair Bucks” and Crew Car Wash coupons for connecting 66 facts into a story about their shared internship experience!
Following the networking activity, Martin advised the attendees on creating a plan to wrap up their internships in a meaningful, productive way:
Before Your Internship Ends
Start by thanking people that were involved in your internships experience, whether they were a co-worker, supervisor or mentor. If possible, make this thank you personal and let the person know how they impacted your experience with the company. Don’t leave out those you didn’t work closely with – let everyone know when your last day is going to be. Martin suggested that you should set aside time in your calendar to say your good-byes.
“Get those connections!” She stressed, indicating that connecting with members of the company on LinkedIn is a great way to keep in touch with both the people you’ve met and the company you worked for.
Be sure to get feedback or evaluations about your work at your internship if it’s not already built into your program. “Feedback will help you understand, ‘What are your strengths weaknesses? How can you play up your strengths in your career?’ It will be practice for later on when full-time jobs provide full reviews,” explained Martin.
Clean your space, both physically and digitally. If you have a full trash can at your desk, clean it out and “be sure that your work space is as nice as it was on your first day – or even better.” Ensure that your replacement will be able to find all the files they might need by organizing your folders on your computer. Don’t forget to save any files you might want for your portfolio.
You can also make a tip list for the next intern, a sheet containing things you wish you would have known on day one. “It’s nice and shows that you care about the company and their internship program,” said Martin.
Once Your Internship is Over
Don’t just strut out of the office and never look back. Instead, think about how you’re going to give the company and your supervisor updates about your career. She said that the typical rule is to send an update every six months, but this can differ depending on what you feel is appropriate between you and your former boss.
In the future, you could also follow up by asking about a project you worked on. If you’re interested in working for that company find a way to keep tabs on the company’s progress such as setting up google alerts.
Reflect on your internship experience. What did you like? What did you not like? For example, did you like the company’s team atmosphere, its open-concept work environment or the way they managed their employees? Making a pro-con list for yourself can help you narrow your future job search.
Always attend networking events whenever you’re invited. “This is where you stretch yourself if you’re introverted,” acknowledged Martin, “Staying in your comfort zone prevents you from moving forward.”
Couldn’t make it to the Fair? Registration for Indiana INTERNnet’s final summer event, meet@TheChallenge, closes on Aug. 17: bit.ly/2Ku7uaI