How to end your internship the right way

Make sure you complete this checklist before you clean out your cubicle.

The school year is almost here, which means it’s the end of intern season. Most students will abandon the 9-to-5 lifestyle and return to college.

Leaving an internship on a good note is crucial if you want to use your manager as a reference or return to the company after graduation.

Use these tips to leave a great impression:

1. Get feedback.

Many managers and companies require an off-boarding or exit interview to discuss how the internship went. If your manager doesn’t give you feedback, take initiative and ask.

Being evaluated can be nerve-racking—no one likes to hear negative things about the work they did—but be open-minded about constructive criticism. Feedback or constructive criticism can help you improve in your next job or internship; internships are for learning from mistakes. If you worked hard all summer, there will likely be more talk of what you did well than what you did not.

2. Stay connected.

Networking is another goal of an internship. Don’t waste all the contacts you made! Gather business cards or connect with co-workers on LinkedIn. You never know when you may need a connection to give you a reference or help in returning to the same company.

It is important to stay top of mind. Send an email once a quarter about how you’re using something you learned at your internship, or ask how an event went.

3. Tie up loose ends.

Most likely there will be ongoing projects or responsibilities that someone else will have to take over once you’re gone. It may be a new intern or another team member. Identify those projects with your manager and put together instructions and contact people for each project. This will make the transition smoother.

If the project is complex, it may also help to set up a meeting or phone call to talk about the project’s process, time table and due dates. Your manager and co-workers will appreciate the initiative.

4. Ask for a recommendation.

If you feel like you contributed and worked hard during your internship, ask your manager to write you a recommendation. Your manager worked with you all summer, so she knows what attributes to highlight to make you look good to future employers.

You can ask for a hard copy or request she write a recommendation through LinkedIn. It can be helpful for future job searches to have proof from a former boss that you are an asset.

5. Say thank you.

The last thing to do before you clear out your cubicle is thank everyone you worked with. Chances are they answered a lot of questions and provided guidance in the first few weeks while you figured everything out.

A handwritten card with a small gift is appropriate for the people you worked with closely. Candles, baked goods or travel coffee mugs usually go over well and won’t break the bank. For the people you worked with indirectly, send an email thanking them for allowing you to join the team. A thank you goes a long way, and people will remember small courtesies like thank-you notes.

Allison Quilty is a marketing student at St. Joseph’s University. A version of this article originally appeared on LinkedIn.

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