by Anne Marie Gercke
As the summer winds down, many of you are probably wrapping up summer internships or jobs to come back to Penn. You may also be feeling that familiar ache deep in your stomach that always seems to come around this time of year – this season, so often packed with fun and sun, is coming to a close. Hopefully you’ve had great experiences at your respective jobs and now have helpful skills to add to your professional history. However, as you are getting ready to say farewell to the old 9 to 5 to head back to school, maximize the benefits of your experience by using these simple tips:
1. Send a thank-you note. Take some time to write a note to your boss/mentor thanking him or her for all the help provided throughout the internship. Make sure to also point out some of the projects you enjoyed working on at the company. Was there anything you did that you thought was really cool? Include it! This is a great way to express your ambitions and interests, as well as add some closure to your job while keeping a window open for any future opportunities. Plus, you are more likely to get a good recommendation if you make a good impression.
2. Update your resume. While it’s still fresh on your mind, add your recent experience to your resume making sure to highlight your accomplishments. If your title was “intern” while working at the company, talk to your supervisor about possibly using a more descriptive title when detailing your internship. For instance, if your job duties involved managing the social networking sites and helping plan company meetings (in addition to grabbing coffee and a muffin for your boss each morning) something like “Social Media and Events Coordinator” may have a nicer ring to it. Don’t embellish, obviously, but it’s okay to be a little creative if it brings useful information to the table.
3. Network, network, network. LinkedIn is the perfect, professional online networking tool to connect with colleagues from your internship. Knowing and staying connected with people in the industry is key to breaking into the business, whatever it may be. A broad network of professional contacts makes any job search easier. Check out our LinkedIn alumni group here!
4. Plan your next steps. Did you like working at your internship? Can you see yourself working in that field in five, or even ten, years from now? What didn’t you like? What types of internships would you like in the future? Does Penn offer any classes that may help you expand on these interests? Are there any professional organizations you can join to stay connected? Determining your future goals now while you are still in “work mode” is a good way to get on the straightest path to achieving them.
5. Recharge and replenish! You’ve been working hard. With the school year quickly approaching, you need to take some time to get yourself ready and together. Catch up on sleep. Read a book…for fun. Exercise to clear your head. Eat plenty of fruits and vegetables. Take a daily vitamin. Spend time with family and friends. These are all ways to ensure that you will come back to Penn with the energy you’ll need to have a stellar year, perhaps your best yet.
While the first day of classes isn’t too far off, you still have plenty of time to check off all these items from your list. As always, we are here in Career Services to help with any of your career needs, so remember to stop in to see us once you get settled back at Penn… and most important, enjoy the rest of your summer!