Take time for self-assessment.
What did you learn as a result of the internship – about yourself, about your field, about that company? What successes did you have? What challenges did you face, and how did you manage them? What did you like about the company and the work you did? What didn’t you like?
Ask for feedback.
If the organization didn’t provide feedback on your internship, ask for specifics from your supervisor – your strengths, skills, potential gaps in development, and what they would suggest you strengthen and/or develop for the future.
Identify the value YOU bring to an organization.
You want to make it easy for employers to answer the question, “Why should anyone hire you? After you’ve gotten feedback and done your personal reflection, come up with three-five things of value you bring to a role – skills, personality traits, experience, etc. Then, practice speaking about your value proposition, so you can represent yourself confidently in future job interviews.
Nurture the connections you’ve made.
An internship allows you to begin to build your professional network. Write personal, handwritten notes to key players in the company – thanking them for the opportunity, identifying valuable lessons you learned from the experience and how you have grown as a professional, and that you’d like to be considered for a permanent position (only if you really do!). Stay in touch – when you see a news article that may be of interest to them, send them an email with the link, invite them to connect on LinkedIn, or reach out to them prior to industry events.
An internship is a short-term experience that enables you to grow as a professional, and to help make the transition from student to employee. Use that time to grow your skills, confidence and your connections, so that when a job opens up, you’ll be the one that comes to mind.