Moving On Without Walking Out

by cindybrugge

Believe it or not, spring semester is coming to a close and those internships will be ending before you know it. For some poor unfortunate souls, who dread their internship daily, leaving this experience behind may not be the worst news. Others may be hoping that their internship could result in a summer job offer. Either way, it’s always best to end an internship gracefully, by following a few simple steps.

  1. Do your research: As college students in a failing economy, sitting still and hoping for the best is not enough in the job market. Even if you have the perfect job, you must always be looking for something better; always be searching for the next job and creating a back-up plan. So, start digging into different internship options that will expand your knowledge base and fill out your resume. You can’t stay where you are just because it is fun. You have to do what’s best for your career.
  2. Decide what you want: After you’ve looked at all the other options and scribbled a few pro-con lists, make some choices. If the connections you’ve made at your current internship could be useful in the future, then staying with your present employment might be best. However, are there other options? If so, pick your first, second and third choice and act accordingly.
  3. Meet with the Big Guy: You can’t expect your boss to be a mind reader, so let him/her know how you feel. One month from the end of your internship, ask for a performance evaluation meeting with your supervisor. Give your boss the opportunity to tell you what you did well and what you should work on. Take notes because he/she could help you grow in the next step of your career. Towards the end of your meeting, tell your boss your plans. You can either ask if there might be an opening for you in the future at that company or take the other route and gracefully bow out. Remember to show gratitude for the opportunity and explain your choice to pursue other employment.
  4. Move forward: Before you take your next step, make sure to arrange a few details with your current internship. First, make a list of all of your duties and projects that you completed. It will come in handy when you’re trying to write a cover letter and resume later. Second, ask for a reference letter from your boss. If you ask for it while your hard work is fresh on their mind, it will be much more personal and detailed then if they are trying to think back years from now. Third, update your LinkedIn page, with your job, duties and gained proficiencies.

Always remember that these final interactions with your co-workers and boss will be the last thing they remember of you. Don’t leave a bad taste in their mouth, by leaving with condescension or bad attitude. Always leave that door open because you might need it to get into another room later.

Best of Luck,

Cindy | Former Bookkeeper Girl Intern


This is a piece from my monthly column in the Campus Pages, called Intern-al Affairs.

See the published copy by clicking here.