Completing an Internship Program: Steps for the Intern and the Supervisor

Posted July 30, 2013 by Marcy Twete in On the Ladder
Group of businesspeople standing.

It’s a shame to say it, but unfortunately summer is beginning to wind itself down. And with the end of summer comes the end of summer interns in your office. For many businesses, summer interns are key to success. Here at Career Girl Network, we were generously blessed with five incredible summer interns. And while great thought and care was given to crafting a program for them, as I hope you’ve done with your internship programs, often what’s missing in an internship program is the proper way to complete it, both for the interns and the supervisors.

So as you say goodbye, either as interns moving back to college, or as a supervisor bidding them farewell, consider these tips and tricks to ensure that the internship experience ends well for both parties.

For Internship Supervisors

  • Say thank you! It’s easy to forget that these young men and women are working for your business or department for free or next to nothing. Don’t take that for granted. Take the time even just to order pizza to say thank you or to take them to lunch. It means a lot!
  • Write your recommendations now. It may be that your interns will later ask you for a recommendation next year for graduate school, etc. Take the time to put pen to paper now while their accomplishments are fresh in your head. Save it so you can access it later.
  • Consider a formal review process at the end of the program. While the interns likely won’t be staying on with your business into the school year, you can give them valuable feedback for their next position by conducting a professional review.
  • Quantify what’s being done by interns and what will then need to get reallocated to other staff. Your interns are working 40 hours a week, and while some of their projects may be one-time things, they are likely doing some work that must be ongoing. You’ll need to have a plan to transition that work to other interns in the fall, or to existing staff (or yourself). Be cognizant of the balls that may drop when your interns leave.

For Interns

  • Write your resume bullets now! You’ve just completed a summer of what I hope is full of professional accomplishments. Don’t wait until graduation to put those accomplishments on your resume. Do it now! You’ll forget in a few months all of the wonderful projects you’re working on and you want to make sure you have them down on paper.
  • Update your LinkedIn profile with those same resume bullets if you haven’t already.
  • Make copies! Now, I’m not telling you to steal anything from your place of business. That would be wrong. However, if you’ve worked on a significant PowerPoint presentation, designed a brochure, written a white paper or press release, etc. take the initiative to save it as a PDF on your own computer. It will come in handy later if you ever need to create a portfolio or show examples of your work outside the classroom.
  • Keep in touch. If you haven’t already, now is the time to add your boss and your coworkers to your LinkedIn profile, be sure you have everyone’s email address and phone numbers, etc. You’ll want these if you have to use an individual as a reference later on.
  • Request recommendations on LinkedIn from key people in your office. LinkedIn recommendations speak volumes about you, and show that you are savvy and well respected. Take the time to go on LinkedIn and formally request recommendations. Not everyone will agree, but it’s worth a shot.

I welcome any and all additions to this list in the comments below! Interns are a phenomenally valuable asset to your business, and continuing to build a relationship with them even after they go back to school is key to success in any networking or colleague relationship.

About the Author

Marcy Twete

Marcy Twete is a career fundraiser turned corporate responsibility executive, a career and networking expert and the author of the book "You Know Everybody! A Career Girl’s Guide to Building a Network That Works."