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Exit Strategies for Interns: 7 Ways to Leave on a High
December 5, 2017
Worst and Best Intern Qualities…According to Hiring Managers

Okay, interns. We already talked about all ways to treat yourself on that last day of your hard-fought internship. Now, brace yourselves for a peer-to-peer truth bomb: your behavior in the last week of your internship is going to have as much impact as your entire performance. It’s a fact. Those last few days are how your boss and your colleagues remember you most.

Why does it matter if you make a positive impact?

Well, your boss and the people you work with will either come back to haunt you OR, they will become your angels. Referrals, recommendations, and their connections can give your career a big boost later on.

Here are 7 exit strategies for interns that will make you positively memorable and feel accomplished when you walk out the door:


We all know first impressions can’t be undone. Same goes for the last one.

1. Finish what you started

Don’t leave tasks open. End all of your projects so that the next person who comes after you can pick up easily where you left off. In a best-case scenario, you’ll be able to finish all of the tasks you were given, but sometimes that’s just not the case, so communication is key. Leave a trail of post-it notes someone else can follow if need be. Make sure everyone knows the date of your last day so that you don’t leave anyone or any task unfinished.

2. Report on what you accomplished

It’s good practice to meet with your project heads a week before you’ve wrapped up all tasks. Write a report on what you did during your internship. It helps them value what you did and shows how engaged you were. Your boss will love it! This may open the door to future projects they will think of you for. Ask them if there’s anything else that needs to be done before your last day. This is a sure fire way to win respect and gratitude where it really matters.

3. Leave handwritten ‘Thank You’ notes for everyone who helped you

This is one of the most important things that you can do as an exiting intern.

Leaving handwritten ‘Thank You’ notes shows maturity, kindness, and thoughtfulness.

It says that you are a true professional and that you appreciate everyone’s time and guidance. These notes matter! They can even mean the difference between getting hired in the future and being forgotten. Give a small book a teammate would find inspiring, a card with a picture of a dog they like or buy bagels that day. Celebrate your last day with an act of gratitude.

4. Connect with your colleagues

One of the greatest assets you can come away from an internship with is an expanded network. You never know who may be able to help you in the future (and vice versa). Exchange information and connect via social media, email and LinkedIn with your fellow interns before you walk out the door. Many interns forge lasting friendships this way!

5. Update your LinkedIn page and rewrite your resume

Do this while you are still there, so your info is always updated and ready.

This is a great excuse to ask for a testimonial from your boss, which will be easier to get before you leave.

6. Make plans to follow up

Before you walk out that door, you should already be thinking ahead to the next steps. If you felt like you really connected with your manager or a colleague, let them know, and make plans for a future encounter. You might mention that you really enjoyed working with them and that you’d like to grab coffee sometime to pick their brain. If you live in another city, invite them to contact you when they come to town. You have nothing to lose and everything to gain!


7. Take the time to say proper goodbyes

It’s hard not to revisit the days of senioritis and become a clockwatcher all over again. Been there. To leave on a very positive note, take the time to go around and say your goodbyes and thank-you’s to everyone in person. This is also a great opportunity to deliver those handwritten ‘Thank You’ notes.

By following these 7 tips, you’ll not only leave your internship growing a fantastic network, you’ll also be leaving behind a positive indelible last impression.