You loved your internship, you impressed your manager, and you left with tangible accomplishments. Now what?
If you’re like most interns, you strive hard all summer to do well. After meeting weekly with your manager, you exceeded all of your goals and received a favorable end of summer evaluation. You also learned from previous conversations that internships can sometimes lead to future opportunities, but the key is to stay in touch. So, how do you do that?
Here are 4 tips to help you stay in touch:
1. Ask for a reference.
Internship managers often serve as excellent references as they can speak to your work ethic, subject expertise, and time management skills. Prior to leaving your internship, ask your manager if they would be willing to serve as a reference. Once they say yes, keep them updated on the applications you submit. This will let your internship manager know you are actively looking for another internship or full time job.
Dear Mr. Smith,
Thank you again for being a reference for me. As I mentioned during our last discussion, I am interested in a career in [name the career field you are targeting]. [Due to the valuable experience I had at the company your interned with OR based on your advice], I am eager to work in [the city your interned in OR the area that your manager recommended your target]. I wanted to let you know I recently provided references to [name the firms] in case they contact you.
Please let me know if you would like more information about the position descriptions.
2. Connect on LinkedIn.
The most widely used professional networking site is LinkedIn. This site allows you to showcase your experience online in professional way and virtually connect with past managers, co-workers, team members, classmates, friends, and other contacts. The benefits to connecting on LinkedIn are that it automatically sends updates to your contacts (e.g. updates to your profile, new groups you joined, newly added contacts). Stay actively engaged with your internship manager via LinkedIn – send relevant group suggestions, share articles of interest, or request feedback on your profile.
3. Send a quarterly update.
As a student, you are constantly engaged in new course projects, learning new skills, and getting involved on campus. Once a semester, send an email to your internship manager about your progress. Did you take a class related to your manager’s interest area? Did you gain a skill they recommended? Did you meet a student who also interned at that company in the past? If so, let them know! When you get closer to your next internship or full-time job search, your internship manager will already be updated on your progress and may be more willing to aid you in your search.
4. Meet for lunch.
If you completed a local internship or are traveling to the area you interned, set up a lunch meeting with your internship manager. By meeting with them in person, this will not only remind them of the great work you did over the summer, but will allow you to have an interactive, meaningful conversation. Not in their area? No problem! Set up a phone call instead. During your meeting, ask questions about:
- Updates on the company and department
- Industry trends
- New and upcoming relevant skills to pursue
- Relevant companies to apply to in the future
- Other topics of interest (e.g. updates on a recent trip they recently went on, advice about conferences to attend)
Remember, all the hard work will be worth it. Set aside one hour each month to engage in one of the above activities to help you stay on track and stay in touch.