Summer internships offer an incredibly important opportunity to build relationships, skills, and experience en route to a rewarding full-time position. Before your internship ends, consider seizing these three opportunities to get the most leverage from your experience.
Say Your Arrivedercis
Whether you accept a full-time offer, start a new job search in your backyard, or move across the world to join a completely different firm, it’s important to cement the relationships you built over the summer. A robust and thriving network is key to your long-term success: it will lead to future opportunities that you can’t predict now. So remember to take time to ensure that the people you have met and worked with become solid members of your network.
Start by making a list of everyone who fits into one of these categories:
- Supervisors, mentors, champions, and advocates
- Collaborators, peers, and colleagues
- Subordinates, people you managed
- People you didn’t work with directly but who helped you out at some point
- People you wish you had gotten to know better
- Anyone else who comes to mind as someone you want to stay connected to
Now, take time to personally connect with each of these people before the summer ends. It is one thing to send a mass “Goodbye, everybody, it’s been real!” email. Definitely be sure to give people your personal email address and let them know how to reach you in the future. Connecting on LinkedIn is also a good idea. But those actions won’t deepen the relationship. Real relationships require a personal touch. So take them out for coffee or lunch. Pass by their office for a final quick chat. Call them. Have a genuine conversation with them to let them know you appreciate them and that you want to keep in touch. We call this “saying your arriverdercis” instead of “saying your goodbyes,” because arrivederci is Italian for “until we meet again.” It promises that the relationship has a future.
Collect Constructive Feedback
Learning how to fail gracefully could be one of the most important things you do in your career, because failure ultimately leads to success. But even if you have excelled during your summer internship, do not forget to leverage a final opportunity to learn from it. If your supervisor delivers a final performance review, be sure to think carefully about the areas for development he or she identifies. Schedule conversations with your key reviewers to ask follow-up questions and seek guidance on next steps for your personal growth.
But don’t limit yourself only to your official reviewers. In your farewell coffee chats with collaborators, peers, and subordinates, take a moment to ask them for some final advice and feedback. Don’t neglect office staff and other people you worked with indirectly in the course of business. Asking people for their input not only further deepens your relationship with them, but can also yield surprising insights into potential areas for growth.
Get Out of Town
Last but not least, plan a vacation. Don’t neglect your friends, family, or desire to explore the world! Work is important, but so is play. Taking time off allows you to internalize the lessons you gained over the summer. More importantly, if you return to campus with some new experiences under your belt and refreshed from a week or two of relaxation, your next term will get off to an even better start.
Angela Guido runs Career Protocol, the web’s most refreshing destination for no-nonsense career advice and awesome professional development coaching. She’s helped thousands of MBAs get into dream schools and dream jobs while staying true to themselves. Want to turn your career from meh to HOLY COW AMAZING?!!! Angela has an MBA from Booth and extensive post-MBA experience at the Boston Consulting Group.
This bi-weekly series will teach you how to get the most out of your career by building meaningful professional relationships, elevating your self-awareness, learning to talk about yourself powerfully, and positioning yourself to get what you want in the long term while making the most of the opportunities you encounter along the way. To learn more about how to actively manage your career, check out Angela’s advice at the MBA Career Coaches blog or schedule a free consultation with her.