Thursday, 9 September 2010

The best way to finish your internship

So you're finished a tough summer internship with long hours (for both work and social reasons!) and you are taking a well-earned break before facing into what will likely be an equally tough final year at uni.

All very understandable! But if you want to save yourself hours and maybe even days of hard work later in the year, I'd highly recommend taking a couple of hours to review what you're done for the summer, whilst it is fresh in your mind.

First off, practicalities. 

Make sure you have:
- your internship line managers full name, email address and contact phone number (and ideally mobile phone number also)  (you'll be surprised how quickly you'll forget...)
- the contact details of anyone else you worked closely with
- HR contact details (e.g. the recruiter who hired you, or the name of the person in the company who you contact for references)
- your P45, or know when it is going to be sent to you
- if you did a mid/end of internship appraisal, make sure you have a copy and file it carefully somewhere you wont lose it

Record your experiences
The internship will be one of the key experiences you will use for answering competency-based questions at interview. Take some time to remember specific incidents or examples whilst they are are still fresh in your mind.

Remember that the best examples for competency questions are often examples of when things went wrong (and you helped resolve), where something wasn't working (and you put a new process in place) or in a difficult team (where you helped resolve disputes). Don't focus only on the 'day-to-day' things you did during your internship as often they are not necessarily the richest vein of information.

These 1-off occurences are also likely to be the ones that fade in the memory more quickly - in particular the detail about what happened, which are the details that you will need to recall at interview to make it a really strong example.

Join the a world of professionals
Create a LinkedIn profile and update it with details of your internship. In the last 18 months in particular, there has been a significant increase in the number of people and recruiters in particular using it.

You'll hear a lot in your career about the importance of networking. And now that you have joined the professional world, you have started to expand your network. Keep in touch with the friends you've made. As you are all interested in the same industry/area, it's highly likely that you will cross paths again and potentially help each other out along the way. Believe me, it's a very small world out there!

Useful materials
Within the bounds of what is allowed under your agreements with your internship employer, keep copies of an work you have done as it is very useful to read it through before interviews.

Some work to cover off all of the above activities will really be of use to you come November/December time when you are trying to prep for interviews along with studying for exams, final year projects and making the most of your last year at uni.

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