Quilty, A. (2014, Aug. 29). “How to end your internship the right way.” PR Daily. Retrieved 1 Sept. 2014 from http://www.prdaily.com/mediarelations/Articles/17177.aspx
As a student who just completed a summer internship, the PR Daily article of “How to end your internship the right way” caught my eye. Looking at the list, I realized that I still needed to wrap some elements up.
The author, Allison Quilty, gives five tips on how to end your internship the right way. First of all, she states that the student should pursue some type of feedback. We’ve heard for years that the best way to learn is to accept constructive criticism, right? Pursuing your intern coordinator or employer for helpful feedback may give you the ability to address a weakness or capitalize on a strong suit. Understanding your work from a third party perspective could increase your value when you market yourself for a salaried career.
The second suggestion is essential for any communication student hoping to make it in the industry – stay connected! I shook many hands this summer, many of these belonging to people much more important in the business than I, who will most likely forget my name. As a matter of fact, one of the CEOs only knows me as “the intern with purple tights.” These connections are invaluable, and networking opportunities seem to fall hand in hand with internships. Don’t lose these relationships once your time ends; the article suggests collecting business cards or connecting on LinkedIn is a great way to stay in touch.
Quilty’s third recommendation is one that I faced myself – tie up loose ends. It’s the last week of your internship, your intern hours are well over their requirement, and you’re still working on something important for your boss. What do you do? I suggest, and Quilty seems to agree, that you complete your part in whatever task you’ve been given. Although it may be inconvenient for you, this will be what sets you apart in the employer’s mind. If you go the extra mile, you will be the one who takes the position. If it’s a large project, detail the process for the next person who will be taking it on. Making that transition easier for a coworker will show that you are a team player.
The fourth proposition Quilty makes is to ask for a recommendation. In reading this article, I realized that this was one thing I did not do. If you’ve worked closely with someone for an internship and feel as though you’ve contributed valuable work, take that next step and ask if he or she would be willing to put in a good word for you. Now, LinkedIn makes this easier for an employer, as he or she can write a small paragraph about how spectacular you are that anyone can see on your profile. It’s as simple as asking in a polite email. Having this “proof” from your supervisor shows your value or asset to the company, and looks good to the next boss.
Finally, Quilty’s fifth piece of advice is to say thank you. Just as we are learning and as our textbook states, PR is about building relationships. Beyond making a new networking connection on LinkedIn, show that you are grateful for the internship opportunity by thanking those who took the time to help, teach, and guide you in your venture. A thank you can be a handwritten card, or an email – but these are the things that people will remember in the future.
In retrospect, all of these tips that Quilty shares are ones we may think of as common sense; however, I know that I forgot to specifically address a few of these elements among the overwhelming amount of material that came with my internship. As I mentioned previously, I think the two most important aspects of this article are maintaining the networking contacts and building relationships. Paralleling the “rationalist management” orientation of public relations, creating and cultivating relationships in the early stages of a career, i.e. in the internship phase, will only benefit you in the future.