Tuesday, August 23, 2011

4 Things to Do After You Leave

Hey there, fellow Edsters!

It’s morning here, but outside my window I don’t hear the bustle of traffic in New York City. Instead, I hear birds chirping. I’m sitting at home; my internship has ended. My summer has come full circle, and it just doesn’t seem real.

Just three days ago, I was in the office, finishing my last day. When 6 p.m. came (and far too quickly), I dropped into my editors’ offices to say goodbye. I gave them my handwritten thank-you notes and a little gift — the least I could do for their kindness. I gathered the supplies from my desk, stepped on the elevator with them and exited the lobby. I staggered onto the subway and rode back home.

I did it. I finished my internship. It was over, right? Not quite. It may be because I’m not a goodbye person, but I know from my other internships that this isn’t truly the end nor should it be. An internship is just one stage in your relationship with a publication. Just as much work and care should be put in after to maintain your ties to it — ties that could ultimately lead to a mentorship and job.

So what to do? Four things:

1) Keep following the publication you worked for. Stay up to date on their projects. Read what your editors write; look for signs of work you did. If you can, find your name in the masthead and proudly display it to your family and friends. And keep those issues: you never know if you’ll someday take an edit test for that publication. Better to get a head start learning the publication (and having a solid archive) now instead of later!

2) Email your editors from time to time to update them. It’s so important to maintain the relationships you made at work. Remember, your bosses invested in you. They do care and want to hear back every once in a while. “You’d be surprised,” an editor told me, “how few interns email until they’re looking for a job.” Don’t be one of them. Instead, try to email your editor at least once a semester — once a month the three months before you graduate. They’re humans too. So let them know about what you’ve done; let them know if you’ve liked a piece they’ve written. Show it’s more than just the job you’re going for when you contact them; it’s the relationship.

3) Stay involved. Just because you’ve left the office doesn’t mean you still can’t help out a bit. Ask about freelancing opportunities or if you can help with any projects. The worst they can say is no, but they’ll still know you cared enough to take initiative. Send pitches or even interesting research you stumble upon on occasion. It may not feel like you’re making a difference, but you’d be surprised: little things always help a busy editor, and it shows you’re still mindful of their workload even though you’re not there.

4) If you’re in town, don’t be a stranger. If you can, make a point to visit New York City again before the next summer. When you come, don’t hesitate to let your editors know. Chances are they’ll love to have you pop in and see your face again. Remember, at the end of your internship, it’s all about maintaining contact. You don’t want to be forgotten. Make it your goal now to go from the helpful intern in the office to the great contributor out.

So what do you think, Edsters? What are your must-dos after your internship ends to maintain contact? And what did you do for your last day?

Until next time,
Women’s Mag Intern

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