If you’ve done your job well, your summer internship was filled with engaging work, formal learning experiences, plenty of new people in your network, and even some fun. Most importantly, you have a proverbial foot in the door! But summer is winding down. So, how do you keep that door from closing?
“Now is the hard part,” admits Gimbala Sankare, director of WEX’s Diversity & Inclusion and Early Career Pipeline. “Once the summer is over, it’s a lot of work to maintain your network to stay relevant to hiring managers.” He says WEX managers spend the first month or so after the summer session assessing the performance of interns and making hires. Here are some tips from Sankare and other managers to help you make the most of the all-important months that come after your internship.
- Build your connections. Make sure you’re connected with your colleagues on LinkedIn and that you have their business cards. And if you think you were a strong intern, don’t be shy about asking for recommendations. If you’re going on to grad school or haven’t decided on an exact career field yet, a general recommendation letter that speaks to your work ethic and other qualities can be a nice thing to have in your back pocket. At the very least, your supervisors or co-workers might be willing to endorse your skills on LinkedIn.
- Update your resume. While your internship is fresh in your mind, write out your accomplishments and contributions to the company (put those on LinkedIn, too). Collect the phone numbers and email addresses of new contacts who are willing to serve as references. And if it’s appropriate, leave a copy of your updated resume with a hiring manager before you go.
- Send a proper thank you. Sankare adds that it’s vitally important to thank those you’ve worked with. Say a friendly face-to-face goodbye to as many people as you can, and follow up in the next week with handwritten thank-you letters. This is an easy way to show your employer how much you appreciated the experience, and to keep in touch with key colleagues.
- Stay in touch. Touch base periodically with the people you met. This can be an update about your future plans, some professional news you think they might be interested in, or just a friendly hello. If you connected especially well with someone, don’t be afraid to reach out for advice. Most professionals are happy to help a talented newbie get off the ground.
Because WEX is committed to providing interns a challenging and engaging experience that offers the chance for real career development, we’re especially excited to announce that we’ve been named to WayUp’s top 100 internship programs of 2019. Read more about careers at WEX here.