Congrats! You’ve made it! You’ve survived coffee runs, printer disasters, waking up at an adult hour and more – all in the name of real world experience. And while a lot of the work may have been tedious, that’s not what really matters. You’ve started to build a professional network that can shape your career path in the right direction.
But just because your time at that company is over, doesn’t mean those budding professional relationships need to end. It’s really not too much work to stay in touch with your supervisor, other interns and other employees you’ve worked with.
Follow these three steps to ensure that you secure career-long connections (without being clingy):
1. End on a good note
It’s time to recognize that your supervisor had to take time out of his or her day to make sure you had work to do and to teach you. Yes, it was work for them to find you work. So, take a couple minutes to acknowledge this and write them a thank you note to show your appreciation. You can even get them a little gift, depending on how well the internship has gone. A simple thank you can go a long way.
Also, some companies have an exit interview (at a magazine, you might have to do an edit test). This may be your last chance to prove to them that you were worth their while. This means you should be serious about it – it may just secure you a job with the company later.
2. Exchange contact information
If you want to stay in touch, let them know! Seriously, don’t be shy – this is your future.
If you think they still have more to offer you, it’s never a bad idea to ask if it’s okay to hit them up with questions.
Email is probably the best form of communication, but also add them on LinkedIn. You never know where they’ll end up, so if they give you a company email, you want a backup plan. LinkedIn’s a lot more professional than Facebook (please, don’t add them on Facebook…) and you can keep it updated as you move up in the world.
3. Stay in touch
It’s unlikely for a former employer to reach out to you, so you’ve got to make the first move. It’s a good rule of thumb to reach out three times a year whether it be for a simple question, resume advice or furthering your knowledge on something you learned during your internship; however, depending on how well you meshed with the person during your time working with them, three times a year can seem like a lot. So, try to reach out to them at least once a year. If you were in more of a low key industry (aka magazines, like me), social media can even be a good way to let them know you’re still around!
An experience is only as great as what you take from it; that includes people. So just because your time there has ended doesn’t mean the value from it has to too.