Ahh… the summer internship it’s probably over for most of you college students. Hopefully you had a great time and were able to gain some insight and valuable work experience. So now that it’s over, quick before it’s too late, write down what you’ve learned. Was it a waste of time? Did you just sit around and shred paper for some accounting firm? Or did an advertising company work you like a dog doing outside sales and pay you very little? Whatever the situation, you’ve gained important experience. Much more than your friends who spent their summer at their parents pool. So congratulate yourself, the experience might be something as mundane as “I never want to be an office worker punching in from 9 to 5”, to learning how to deal with difficult clients that even a regional manager runs away from, or just the realization that you are now happier than ever to be a student again. Summer internships are just that, a chance to see what’s out there and “live” a job; let’s face it you’ve got to start somewhere.
Besides the experience what is the main reason for taking an internship? Contacts and referrals of course! Your summer boss will be one of your referral letters in the future and one of the first steps in your career. So even if you were mindlessly updating Facebook pages for a lawyer, this lawyer will probably write write you a decent referral letter stating that you worked from June to August as a summer intern, to be sure that they do it is important to write them a thank you letter thanking them for the opportunity.
However if you want to truly be remembered you might consider giving them a personalized thank you gift. Having your words of appreciation and thanks deep engraved into a crystal vase, paperweight, or wine bottle will make an impression on your boss and more importantly, keep your name “top of mind” when they are writing that all important referral letter.