Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Last Week? 4 Things You Must Do!

Hey there, fellow Edsters!

The moment’s finally here for me: I only have five days left until I pack my bags and head home. It doesn’t seem real. Was it really two months ago I started my first day? Struggled to find my cubicle? Now the office feels like a second home. It’s dizzying to think how much time has passed. My internship has been one of the best experiences in my life, and I’m crushed to think it’s almost over.

But right now I can’t be sentimental. This last week is bound to be my busiest ever. At the mag, we’re closing an issue and launching a new product — which means tons of assignments to do to help my editors keep their cool. I don’t have time to stress about goodbyes when there’s so much in front of me. There’s too much to get done.

And I’m not the only one feeling the pressure. Because we’re all now seasoned interns, a lot of my friends are getting bigger assignments too. The last week on an internship isn’t the time to coast. It’s the time to step up and put in your very best to tackle those last challenges.

But will you be ready for the end of the week? It may be easy to get bogged down, but there are four things that regardless of how busy things get on the job, every intern should strive to do:

1) Give your bosses handwritten thank you notes. This is the most important. Whenever I leave an internship, I give all my editors thank-you notes. I make my own card on InDesign and always hand-write the message. It’s so much more personal. Write thank-yous for the editors you’ve worked with and the internship coordinator at your office. Let them know all you’ve learned and thank them for giving you the opportunity to do it.

2) Get contact information to follow up. Make sure you ask your editors what the best way to stay in contact with them in (typically this is work email, but some prefer personal). If you haven’t already, ask for HR’s email and connect with them. Because you’ve interned at the company, it’s important to establish that relationship before you leave (and while you still have your company email, which they will no doubt be more responsive to than your personal). Knowing someone in HR (and staying in contact with them) can help with securing next year’s internship and prove invaluable when you’re looking for jobs.

3) Get (and give) feedback. At the end of your last day when your editors have a moment, step in, wish them a proper goodbye and just talk with them for 10-15 minutes. This is your chance to connect with them as a person and not just the intern they’ve worked with. Let your personality shine so they get an impression of you beyond the assignments you’ve done for them. And if the opportunity presents itself, ask them for feedback on your performance (you can always do this through email later if it doesn’t work out here). Above all, be sure to thank them for their kindness and the opportunity they gave you. Show gratitude. The way to end your internship is on a high note.

4) When it’s all over, reflect on the journey. When you finish your last day and step out of that building, take a moment to look up and reflect on all you’ve accomplished. Maybe the journey’s been smooth; maybe it’s been bumpy. But what’s most important is you made it through. Pinpoint where you’ve grown and where you hope to grow next time. And then pat yourself on the back and congratulate yourself, Edsters. It’s been a summer well done!

So what do you think, Edsters? What’s the most important thing to do on the last week? And how do you keep your cool when things get busy?

Good luck and until next week,
Women’s Mag Intern

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