Q. My internship has just ended, but I want to keep in contact with the company when I’m back in school. What can I do?
A. Here’s a great opportunity for you to be proactive. Rather than asking the company or your busy internship supervisor to take his/her limited time and figure out your options, develop a game plan yourself and present it to the company. You’ll be respected for your creativity and forward thinking. You might find some of the following tips helpful:
- Self-designed assignments: Based on what you’ve learned during your internship, devise an assignment for yourself that will add value to the company. For example, if you’ve been evaluating data, you could offer to write reports on the results. Review what you’ve learned about the company and examine any areas that could benefit from new material, such as a history update on an old building. Another area to explore is research. All companies need to have more research done and usually don’t have enough staff to do the work. After you’ve decided on the best assignment, write up a proposal and a timeline and present it to the appropriate person for approval.
- Intern support: Companies love interns but are often overwhelmed by the responsibility of training and monitoring interns. Why not offer to train your replacement intern as a way to gain favor with the company? Or you could volunteer to write a guide for new interns, answering typical intern questions on company dress code, policy, and corporate culture. Another suggestion would be to start an alumni intern newsletter online, which would also serve as a marketing tool for the company. You may wish to start an intern blog, open to current, future, and former interns as a clearing house to improve the internship program.
- Company representative: If the company attends college career fairs, you could offer to go to these events and tell students why you liked your internship at the company. Or you could spread the word about the joys of the company internship back on your own campus, helping recruit outstanding candidates for the company. The company may sell products to college students, which opens another door for you to act as a company representative on your own campus.