How to Leave a Lasting Impression at Your Internship

All summer long, you’ve worked diligently, kept a positive attitude, and taken advantage of every opportunity thrown your way. And now you’ve made it to the end. It’s your last few days, and you really do deserve a break. Sure, you could leave the least fun parts of your job for your co-worker to finish next week. No one would blame you, after all – it’s the end of the line, and you’ll be completely gone in a few weeks.

There’s even a name for that nagging feeling: short-timers’ syndrome.  It comes from the noticeable changes in behavior that occur at the end of soldiers’ tour of duty. If you’re feeling lazy or unenthused as you near the end of your job, you’re not alone. Read on to find out how you can fight the symptoms of short-timers’ syndrome and recover to leave your job or internship on the best terms possible.

1) Don’t skimp

Whether your last project involves a polished presentation or another week spent stuffing envelopes, treat it with the same enthusiasm you had during your first week on the job. It’s important to recognize that the last few days at your job or internship are how you’ll be remembered. Your final responsibilities will be the most recent in the mind of your supervisor when you ask for a recommendation, and your attitude will be the way in which your co-workers will remember you. So finish strong! Sprint to the end of your job or internship, and give all your effort on your last assignment. Leave your supervisor with a tangible reason to speak highly of you, whether it’s a polished final presentation or a creative proposal.

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Photo courtesy of Flickr – BiblioArchives

2) Say goodbye

For weeks, you might have dreamed of the moment when you push through the office doors into blinding white sunlight, never to ever look back. On your last day, it might be tempting to simply leave the office without a word, avoiding awkward explanations or goodbyes. But taking a few seconds to say goodbye to those you’ve worked with is worth it. The extra effort provides closure and leaves the relationship on a positive note.

Don’t by too shy to stop by offices, especially if the employee isn’t your immediate boss. A person might not realize how much you valued the time they spent with you until you say it in person. For employees who might have helped you in a tangible way, write a note to thank them for their advice or project help. Hand-written communication is so rare these days that a note means more than it ever has before.

FindSpark thankyou

Photo courtesy of Flickr – Cushing Memorial Library and Archives

3) Keep in touch

Everyone says this. Some people even sign emails with this phrase. But how exactly does one “keep in touch” with a supervisor, mentor, or even a co-worker after the job is over? It’s a tricky balance between maintaining contact and spamming an inbox, so here are some tips:

  • Keep all contact with your former boss as professional as than the way in which you communicated during your job or internship. Don’t slip into casual emails; rather, make sure all your messages are short, direct, and typo-free.
  • Avoid emails without a clear purpose, because you don’t want to seem as though you’re wasting his or her time. Without face-to-face contact, you might have to send more than one message, but be brief and polite with each query.
  • Don’t be afraid to ask for a referral, and ask sooner rather than later. Be sure to remind your supervisor of the dates that you worked in the office and your particular responsibilities.

Follow these tips so you don’t lose contact with the people who made a difference in your summer. If you finish strong and avoid the symptoms of short-timer’s syndrome, you’ll leave your office on the best possible terms.  What’s the best way you’ve spent your last day of work? Let us know in the comments.

About the Author

Julia is a graduate of the University of Virginia. Find her on LinkedIn or on a coffee-fueled adventure.

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