I know this title sounds a little backwards, with most people advising students on what to do before and during an internship, but I think it is just as important to focus on what you do after an internship experience! In my opinion, there are certain steps that many people miss that are absolutely critical to making the most out of your internship experience!
Here are some often-forgotten and very important tips on how to make the most of your internship experience as you make the shift back to the school year!
1. Write Everything Down. Okay, admittedly this is something I would advise before your internship, but it definitely applies afterwards too. Throughout my entire summer, I made sure to keep a detailed log of every task I completed at my internship, and now I have a complete list that can easily be transferred to my resume. Even if you don't remember to do this during the summer, write it down now before you forget everything! It will be much easier to remember right after the internship than six months from now when you are trying to get another internship or even *gulp* a real job!
2. Thank You Notes. Expressing gratitude is an important behavior in all aspects of life, but professionally it can go miles for the impression you leave behind on an employer or coworker. For more specific advice on how to write the perfect professional thank you note, check out my post here!
3. Evaluate the experience for yourself. Most internships will likely ask you to leave them an anonymous evaluation of how the program went so they can make adjustments and improvements for next year. Don't stop there! Make a personal (and private!) list of pros and cons from the experience. Don't just do this for the specific company, but for the types of tasks you were doing. For example, if you had a sales position, figure out what you loved and hated. Then meet with a mentor or advisor, and see if there are any other types of positions that will better suit responsibilities that appeal to you! This will help you narrow down where you want to be in an industry.
4. Reach out! Even if you don't end up getting (or taking) a job offer with the company you interned for, all employers will appreciate you returning the favor by assisting them with future recruiting. Find out if the company is coming to your campus for a career fair or internship expo. If so, ask the recruiter if they'd like to grab coffee or get a tour of the campus! Some recruiters may even ask you to help them get the company's name out there. This is a great networking tool, and will leave a great impression on the company even after you're gone.
And don't miss my post with downloadable email templates to use whenever you need to interact with your recruiter or interviewer! Templates for asking the tough questions, and when to ask them!
Hope these tips are as helpful to you as they have been for me!