So your summer internship just wrapped up, and you’re getting ready to head back to school. But if you want to be the best intern ever (and increase your chances of a job after graduation), your involvement with the company shouldn’t end on your last day as an intern! Staying up-to-date with your former colleagues and developing those personal relationships is a crucial part of demonstrating your dedication to the company, and, therefore, how valuable you would be as a future employee. Check out HC’s tips for staying active at the company you interned for, even if your internship took place across the country.
1. Stay up-to-date with the company’s happenings
One simple way to stay involved with an organization that you interned for in the past (and may want to work for in the future) is to stay informed about the company’s noteworthy achievements and awards.
Tamara Peters, a career development specialist at Rutgers University Career Services, suggests using online resources to keep up-to-date with the organization’s happenings.
“An easy way to do this is to set up a Google Alert to keep you updated on news that is published about the organization,” Peters says. “Also, follow the organization through LinkedIn and other social media platforms, including Twitter, Facebook and Instagram, if they have accounts.”
To set up a Google Alert, go to Google Alerts and enter the topic you want to create an alert for—say, the name of the organization you worked for. This way, Google will send you an email when there are new results for your search, which makes it easy to stay informed about what the company is doing!
2. Share your professional achievements
You may have gone above and beyond during your internship to impress your supervisor, but even post-internship, you should continue to show him or her how awesome you really are!
“Get in the habit of updating your former bosses/colleagues of your professional milestones,” says Ashley Stone*, a career development counselor in New York City. “Managers and colleagues are always happy to be remembered not only when you need help, but also to share in your joy when your career is in the rising.”
Whether it’s a job promotion, a new assignment or an award, keep your former boss and colleagues in the loop about what’s going on in your life by sending them a quick email or message on LinkedIn. To keep your message from sounding too braggy, focus on the accomplishment in terms of the skills you gained through your former internship. For example, you could say something like, “I just wanted to thank you again for the invaluable skills I acquired from my internship at X company. Thanks to my experience with your company, I was recently promoted to Y position.”
Vicki Salemi, career coach and author of Big Career in the Big City, also suggests sending relevant articles with projects that you worked on as a way to stay top of mind throughout the year. It may seem like a small step, but staying involved in a company (and increasing your chances of getting a full-time position) is all about keeping your name at the forefront of your former supervisors’ minds.
3. Ask for extra tasks that you can do remotely
Although your summer internship may be ending, there are still ways that you can help out at the company remotely (and demonstrate your passion and initiative while you’re at it!).
“For starters, you need to make it known to your supervisor that you want to stay involved,” Salemi says. “Ask to help out remotely; ask to be included in conference calls. Figure out how many hours you can contribute on a weekly basis, and, again, communicate with your supervisor that you'd like to stay involved, even at a minimal basis.”
One of the keys to landing a full-time position with a company that you previously interned for is to make yourself essential to the running of the organization. If you can show your supervisor how valuable you are as an intern now, they will be more likely to consider you for a full-time position later.
“Even if your supervisor has made it clear that there are no full-time positions available after your internship ends, you can still offer to volunteer your services after your assignment ends as a way to keep connected to the company,” Stone says. “This means going above and beyond what is asked of you, asking for additional projects, offering your help with important tasks and having constant meetings with your supervisor about how you can contribute to the company past your internship’s end date.”
Before leaving your internship, let your supervisor know that you’d love to continue working with the company through tasks that you can do remotely, such as managing the company’s social media accounts, writing their newsletter or acting as a student ambassador for the company or internship program.
4. Continue to develop relationships with your former colleagues
Your former supervisor, interns and colleagues can be valuable connections when it comes to finding future jobs and internships. However, these relationships should be both genuine and beneficial for all parties involved.
“You don’t want to have no contact with these people for a year and then return and ask if they can help you find a job,” Peters says. “Continue to develop the relationships from a distance, having periodic contact, and when the time comes that you are looking for a job, let them know and see what happens.”
There are several ways to stay in touch with your past colleagues, such as congratulating them on a promotion, sending them a link to an article that they might find interesting or inviting them to coffee or lunch.
“If you have a more personal relationship with your past employer or colleagues, remembering birthdays, holidays or personal milestones (like getting married or buying a new house) is a great way to stay connected,” Stone says. “You can send a handwritten note of congratulations or call them on the special day. A personal touch in your communication with old colleagues always goes a long way!”
If you were close with your fellow interns or other colleagues, you can add them on Facebook to make sure that you know when these big events occur. Peters also suggests using LinkedIn as a way to stay up-to-date with your professional network.
“LinkedIn gives you an easy and simple way to access your professional network and keeps you current on events that are happening in their lives,” Peters says. “You can then nurture the relationships by congratulating them if they get a promotion, have a work anniversary, or move on to a different organization.”
If you see that a former colleague was promoted, send her a quick message to let her know that you’re thinking about her. For example, you could say something like, “Hi so-and-so,
I just wanted to personally congratulate you on the promotion! I know you’ll do a fantastic job as the new (X job title).”
Peters says there are more ways to let your old colleagues know they’re still important to you.
“Also, keep an eye out for articles that might be interesting to individuals in your network and send the article to the specific individual telling them that you thought of them when you read it and why,” Peters adds. “For example, if you read an article about the best locations to participate in a marathon and Fargo, North Dakota, is on the list, and you then remember that one of your former colleagues, an avid runner, had mentioned his interest in running the Fargo … marathon, you can then send him the article. Highlight in the note you send that the article reminded you of him and [you] thought he might be interested, and that you hope he is doing well.”
By nurturing these colleague relationships, you’ll keep your name fresh in their minds so that when a job opens up, you’ll be the first person they think of!
Regardless of whether your summer internship took place in your hometown or on the other side of the country, staying involved with the company and your former colleagues is absolutely crucial when it comes to being remembered for a full-time job later on. By keeping up-to-date with your colleagues’ personal and professional lives, sharing your own career-related achievements and demonstrating your continued dedication to the company, you’re more likely to make the big leap from former intern to future full-time employee!
*Name has been changed.