Wednesday, August 24, 2011

6 Ways To End Your Internship On The Right Note

I just wrapped up my last week at the mag – it’s crazy to even write it.

Summer flew by, and I still can’t quite believe it’s over. It’s been a good experience, and I’ve learned a lot about magazines and about myself and the things I want in a job and a career. I’ve also met some incredible, successful journalists and had some great conversations. Sure, there were ups and downs as you all know, but I’m still glad I did it.

Since I’m sure many of you are wrapping up your summer stints soon, here are a few tips for how to navigate the last week of your internships:

1. Set up lunches in advance. Email any editors you worked with or connected with, as well as any editors you’ve been meaning to get to know, and let them know that it’s your last week and you’d like to get lunch with them. Even if you see them regularly, it’s good to take an hour to get outside the office, step back, and talk about the whole summer, about your career plans, etc. Just remember that if you suggest the lunch, you should be ready to pay (most editors will probably offer, but be prepared just in case).

2. If you’re a rising senior, or if you’ve graduated, have an answer ready for when people ask “do you think you’d like to work in the magazine industry?” If you do want to work in mags, you’re set. But if you don’t or if you’re considering other things, you don’t want to insult anyone at the mag by implying that it was your internship that made you waver in your commitment to journalism (even if that was the case), but you also want to be honest. So have an answer ready, even if it’s just that you want to try other things before you decide or you think you prefer newspapers or whatever the case may be – and make sure you can phrase it in a tactful way that makes it clear you still valued your mag experience this summer.

3. Finish your assignments early, and then come up with tasks for yourself. You don’t want to be in the office until 7 p.m. on your last Friday trying to wrap things up, but you don’t want to be done with everything on Tuesday and then sit there for three days because no one will give you work. So, get everything done so you know you won’t be rushed at the end, but then come up with a way to stay productive in your last few days. Can you organize something in the office? Is there any information you can compile to pass on to the next intern? Doss your boss need some story ideas? Find a way to make yourself useful.

4. Don’t wait until the last minute to say goodbye. Remember, especially if your last day is a Friday, that it is still summer, and there’s a good chance some editors you want to see won’t be in the office, or that they’ll leave early. If there’s someone you want to make sure you see, email and set up a time, or stop by their office a day or so before your last day. And if you do miss people, leave a note or send an email so you can still keep the line of communication open and it doesn’t seem like you just disappeared.

5. Write thank you notes! Everyone talks about this, but from what I’ve heard from editors not many people do it. It’s so simple, and leaves a really good impression, plus it gives you a chance to give your editor (and any other people you worked closely with) your non-work contact information, making it easy to stay in touch.

6. Take your boss to coffee. Talk about the summer, and ask them what you still need to work on. If you’re getting close to job-searching time, ask for their advice. Or find out what internships they think you should try for next year. Ask if they’d be willing to write a reference for you when the time comes. And, of course, thank them for everything they’ve done.

Anything I’ve missed, Edsters? How are the final days of your internship going?

Edit intern

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