How to Succeed in Your First Job

How to Take an Exit Interview

When exiting an internship, closing the door with a smile and fond sayonara may feel like all that is necessary. However, there are things you can do to create good-will, help you learn from your experience, and position yourself better for the future. Some companies have what they call exit interviews in which they hope to get a sense of how they might improve their program for future interns. However, you can take charge of your own exit interview to serve both you and your company well.

  1. Organize all your work from the internship into a clearly labeled folder so it can be found by your boss and whoever your future replacement happens to be.
    Let your boss know about the status of any just completed or outstanding projects. Even if you are in the middle of a long term project, make sure your supervisor has the necessary material to take off where you left. You will want the transition to be a seamless as possible. Self promote and tell them what materials you have organized for their benefit. Your professionalism and consideration will be both noticed and appreciated.
  2. Review any written goals and expectations and compare them with your actual experience.
    You will want to see if a realistic job description should be amended for the next intern. You will want to note if any opportunities described in company documents slipped through forgotten by both you and your supervisor. You will also want to be able to illustrate your proficiency in performing your tasks, and the different ways that you exceeded expectations.
  3. Make a list of your accomplishments.It will make you feel good, and also give you an idea of what you can talk and write about during your next job search. Email yourself the work projects you are proud of to begin building your professional portfolio. Don’t rely on your memory. You may surprise yourself when you make a list of all that you have learned and been able to do. If you have learned a new skill you won’t want to forget it when it comes time to update your resume. Such a list will also assist those reviewing your work with their evaluation. Don’t diminish the importance of even small benefits you might bring to your next job.You can even legitimately say things like, “performed all tasks in less time than required”, if that is actually true.
  4. Take a meeting.Ask your supervisor for a few moments of their time to review the documents you have prepared, and go over your accomplishments as they relate to the original job expectations. This is not a good time to explain your disappointments, but rather to provide an unbiased look at the job description and the job reality. It is also a good time for you to quietly promote your accomplishments, thank them for the opportunity to work there, and ask for references. If you can get references in writing, preferably on LinkedIn, then you won’t have to worry about what happens if they should leave their job and become hard to reach.
  5. Generating good will can go a long way toward establishing your professional referral base.
    Don’t forget that it isn’t just your employers who can help you in the future, but also your colleagues. You might want to leave a treat in the break room for everyone to enjoy or send flowers with a note where everyone can see and appreciate them.
  6. Update your resume, Facebook page, and LinkedIn, and tweet about your internship in a positive way.
    You might also want to enter our intern contest and write an essay about your experience. It could be humorous or serious or exciting or whatever. We would love to see it and it would be a great way to get noticed by businesses on our site.

Most of all, enjoy your new school year, good luck and good exit.

Next, get more career tips for internships and entry-level jobs such as What is an Internship? and find answers to common interview questions such as What’s Your Dream Job?