Written by Jennifer Fantin, Recruitment and Admissions Assistant
Your summer internship has ended and you’re gearing up for what comes next, but there are still some loose ends to tie up and ongoing tasks to keep in mind.
Whether your internship was exactly what you had hoped for or the opportunity to gain experience in a totally different field, do not undervalue the connections you made or the importance of maintaining those relationships. Before the next phase of your life gets too far underway take the time to send a thank you letter, and make an effort to keep in touch. As you have heard time and time again, your network can prove to be one of the most powerful items in your professional arsenal.
Thank You Letter Tips:
- Don’t Delay- It is far too easy to get caught up in other obligations, but do not forget to express appreciation in a timely manner. Displays of gratitude are much better received when expressed immediately. Make it a point to reach out to your supervisor and internship site as soon as possible to let them know how much the experience meant to you.
- Be Genuine- When writing your letter, you may find it helpful to cite specific examples from your internship, or goals you achieved while there. This will make your note more personal, and it will better convey your sincerity. Your supervisor will be more receptive to networking outreach in the future knowing how much you valued your time spent learning and working with them.
- Handwritten Trumps Electronic- The rise of technology has contributed to a decrease in the personal nature of communication. As forms of electronic correspondence become more prevalent, putting in the extra effort to send a handwritten letter will help you to leave a great impression with your internship site. Many professionals simply skim over emails in their inbox, but a letter that comes through the postal service is likely to attract their attention in the best way possible.
- Short Story, Not Novel- It is very important to thank your supervisor for all of the help and resources they provided during your internship, and as previously mentioned it is vital to be sincere in your comments. This does not however require that you write them an overly lengthy testament of gratitude. Keeping your letter short, sweet, and to the point is a great way to ensure that your carefully constructed words are both read and enjoyed.
Suggestions for Keeping in Touch Down the Road:
- It’s an Ongoing Process- It is a good idea to touch base with your past internship site multiple times each year. A great way to do so is by sending out an email every few months. You can let them know what you have been up to academically and professionally as well as expressing interest in their professional undertakings. This simple act can help your professional network grow by leaps and bounds.
- Stay Informed- Before reaching out to your past supervisor update yourself on the organization’s current events. Informing yourself of their latest business will help you to understand the situations they face and will enable you to communicate with your past coworkers in a more effective manner. You can also pass along any interesting articles or information you come across that may be of interest to the organization. Suggestions and insight will show that you still have an active interest in their success.
- Visit if in the Area- If you find yourself in the nation’s capital with a little bit of free time consider paying a visit to your old stomping grounds. Reach out to your DC internship site, and let them know you will be in the area. Depending on their availability try to schedule a time to stop by the office or grab lunch. Face to face meetings are always a great way to reconnect with old professional contacts.
- Utilize Digital Networking- In this highly digital age be sure to make proper use of the online networking tools at your disposal. Take advantage of free professional networking sites such as LinkedIn. Put in the time to create a quality profile displaying your credentials, and make an effort to build connections. Also keep in mind that past, present, and future employers are on social media sites such as Facebook and Twitter. Those applications can be equally beneficial to your career aspirations, so do your best to keep the content on your pages appropriate.