Interns Return to College, But Need to Stay in Touch

Summer Intern

An account executive at a Chicago agency told me last week that it’s been nearly a month and she still hasn’t heard from one of the interns she supervised this summer.

Not only did the intern leave the internship three weeks before returning to college, the student apparently has fallen off the grid. No thank-you note or follow up to the internship experience. We could only assume the student has no interest in pursuing a career in public relations.

As summer internships wind down and undergrads begin to return to college, it is important to properly close the loop at the agency or company. Assuming you have done a great job, your intern supervisor can become a key advocate for future employment at that agency or as a reference elsewhere. Remember, PR is an awfully small world and people “talk.” You want to be the intern they remember for the right reasons, not because you’re lousy about follow-up.

Here are some simple suggestions that apply to all interns, not just college students:

  1. On your last day in the office, send an email farewell message to everyone you worked with at the firm. Thank everyone for their support, and cite a couple of take aways from the experience. Include your contact information. Send early on your last day rather than as you walk out the door. Use your personal email account so any replies actually get to you after your office account is shut down.
  2. Be sure to personally say good-bye to the human resources team you hopefully met during your internship.
  3. Upon returning to college, drop your supervisor a note to let her know how you value the internship and her help.
  4. During major milestones at college – holidays, end of semester, etc. – send brief updates to your supervisor. If you worked closely with others, include them, too. They love to hear about classroom experiences that are relevant to what you learned at the firm.
  5. Visit the office during holiday breaks. Just let your supervisor or agency friends know that you’d like to stop by. Keep the visit brief, and perhaps bring a cup of their favorite Starbucks.
  6. Three months before graduating is the best time to remind your supervisor that you’ll be in the job market soon. Send an updated resume and ask for her help in getting it into the right hands at the firm.
  7. By the time you graduate, you should know if there is any employment potential at the firm. If not, ask the supervisor for help in identifying opportunities elsewhere. She will be glad to help.

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