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Staying in Touch After the Internship

You’ve just finished the internship of your dreams.  Or maybe it wasn’t all that dreamy.  Either way, you are done.  The internship is over and you are on to your next big thing.  So what’s your best move now?  How do you leverage the relationships you forged at the placed you’ve just left behind?

I asked this question of ten Loyola upperclassmen who’ve just completed semester-long internships for credit through the School of Communication.   Whether they loved their internship experiences or not, they all agreed on the value of keeping in touch with their employers and building a professional network.

Here are their best suggestions for staying in touch:

  • Ask your supervisor if you may use him or her as a reference.
  • Secure the email addresses of your coworkers.  Put them in your smartphone, on your Outlook, or on a piece of paper.  Just be sure to capture them.
  • Follow your supervisor and colleagues on Twitter if they have accounts.
  • Invite your former supervisor and coworkers to connect on LinkedIn.    Tip: don’t use the canned message LinkedIn provides, “I’d like to add you to my professional network on LinkedIn.”   Instead, craft your own short, personal message such as, “I really enjoyed working with you at XYZ Company this spring.  Let’s link and stay in touch.”
  • Offer your services.  Call and ask if there are any events or happenings coming up that they could use an extra hand with.  You may or may not get paid, but the gesture will be appreciated and will keep the connection alive.
  • Forward any relevant information you come across.  It takes mere seconds to send along an article in a magazine, something on YouTube, or a news headline.  Your former employer will be impressed you still have an eye out.
  • Invite your former supervisor to lunch.  You can bet they will be thrilled, make that THRILLED, by the invite.  They aren’t expecting it and they will be delighted by it.  If your budget doesn’t permit you to spring for lunch, invite them for a coffee instead.  Either way, you pay.  They won’t likely forget you and will be impressed by your professionalism.