As your internship ends, you want to make sure you leave a lasting impression. After all, even if your internship doesn’t turn into a full-time gig, the experience and contacts you’ve gained can help you later on.
The most sufficient way to show your appreciation to your supervisor is by giving him or her a thank-you note. A thank-you note is a clear and thoughtful indication that you have valued the experience.
Your note should do the following:
1. Express gratitude to your manager(s)
Supervising (and mentoring) an intern isn’t always a walk in the park. It can take ample time and effort, often above and beyond a manager’s normal duties. Thank your manager — and your manager’s manager — for helping you build your skills.
If others were instrumental in helping you land the internship — a family friend, a university connection, or an HR recruiter, write them a thank-you note, too.
2. Show off what you’ve learned
Demonstrate to your supervisor the progress you’ve made by listing some accomplishments you’re proud of or noting a valued skill developed during your time at your internship. Include some lingo that you picked up while on the job for bonus points. Let your supervisor know what your biggest takeaway from this experience was and how you will carry that with you in the future. You can even add your appreciation for the help in “life lessons,” like how to kick the breakroom vending machine in just the right place whenever it got stuck.
3. Lay the groundwork for future opportunities
If you’ve had an amazing internship experience, this company is probably at the top of your list for a full-time job. But you can’t flat out ask for a high-paying, full-time job in an internship thank-you note.
Instead, plant the idea for when you do come back around with your application: Tell them how much you enjoyed your time at the company and that you would be honored to work there again. Ask to connect with your manager and others via LinkedIn, or in person in a few months, and keep them updated on your end-of-college successes via email or over coffee down the road.
You might even bring up the possibility of taking on a project or two on a freelance basis before you graduate, to maintain those professional connections.
4. Make it personal
Aside from the basics of writing a thank-you note (use good paper, check your spelling twice, write clearly and legibly, etc.), don’t forget to make your note stand out. Personalize it by referencing conversations you had, whether about “Star Wars” or how to send a companywide memo. Going the extra mile to handwrite a note can show how meaningful the internship experience was for you.
5. Send it promptly
You may be exhausted coming off a busy semester, but don’t procrastinate. Capture all of your thoughts and sentiments while they’re still fresh in your mind — and plan to have the note arrive while you’re still fresh in your managers’ minds. Be sure to also account for the fact that snail mail will take longer to deliver.
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