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?

How to Turn Down a Job Offer

You’ve prepared yourself for the challenge of a long job search, multiple interviews and even rejection, but now comes the unexpected part: turning down a job. Whether this comes up during your search for a paid or unpaid internship or an entry-level job, it’s certainly not a bad problem to have. It can, however, be difficult to navigate.

Whether this job was a near second choice or one you would have never actually considered, here are some best practices to follow when turning down a job offer.

Be prompt and appreciative.

Interviews can often be time-intensive for you and especially for the hiring manager. It’s likely that he or she spent hours looking over LinkedIn profiles and resumes as well as doing phone screens and follow-ups. It’s possible that the hiring manager even advocated on your behalf. Because of this, you want to decline promptly in a way that is appreciative of the time and energy that went into your hiring process. Your “thank you note” should be genuine and specific.

Say something like: “Thank you so much for offering me the Partnerships position. I really appreciate the time you took to share information about the company’s goals and to answer all of my questions. It’s clear how passionate the entire team is, and I very much enjoyed getting to learn about how everyone works together.”

Be honest and concise.

Another way to communicate respect is to share an honest and concise reason explaining why you’re declining the job. Hiring managers are people too, and they probably would like to know why you decided to go in another direction. No need to go into detail or to indulge in all of the pros and cons of your decision-making. Keeping it short and sweet is your best bet.

Say something like:

  • “After careful consideration over the past few days, I’ve decided to stay with my current company. “
  • “After careful consideration, I’ve decided to accept another position at a different company.”
  • “While this job is an exciting opportunity, I’ve ultimately decided to accept another position in a role that better aligns with my interests and long-term professional goals.”
  • “After careful consideration, I’ve realized that my current class schedule does not allow me enough time to handle the demands of the role.”

Consider the future.

You want to do everything you can to avoid burning bridges. Who knows what the future may hold? You may cross paths with this company or hiring manager again, so communicating a desire to stay in touch is a small gesture that can go a long way.

Say something like:

  • “It’s been a true pleasure getting to know more about the company over these past few weeks, and I hope our paths cross again in the future.”
  • “I hope to see you at the upcoming PR conference this spring.”
  • “Wishing you and your team the very best on your upcoming projects, and I hope to stay in touch.”

With these tips, you should feel confident in your ability to decline a job offer graciously and to keep your networks intact. Turning down a job offer may be tough, but remember that this is a necessary step in the pursuit of a great and rewarding career.


Next, get more career tips for internships and entry-level jobs such as How to Get a Mentor at Work and find answers to common interview questions such as What is Supply Chain Management?.