After Your Externship

November 1, 2013

7 Smart Things to Do After Your Externship Ends

Externships are one of the secret ingredient to kick starting your career. But a few miscalculated steps could dampen your image for years to come.

Whether you love or hate your externship, burning bridges is not going to do your career any favors. Here are seven ways to keep your professional image intact after your externship ends:
1. Don’t forget to say thank you

As your externship comes to end — or even if you’re already gone — it’s your duty to personally thank everyone you worked with during that period. Recognition is important, even if you didn’t thoroughly enjoy the working experience.

Verbal thank you’s aren’t enough, either. Go with the handwritten thank you note. For each person you write, provide specifics about what you appreciated. Maybe they showed you the ropes or made your lunch break more bearable by sharing a table with you. Whatever it is, avoid a canned response.

2. Don’t badmouth anyone

Unfortunately, some externship experiences aren’t positive. You may have had a less-than-impressive manager or duties that lacked educational value, but it’s best not to share your opinions publicly. Don’t tweet or Facebook your distaste for an employer, ever.

3. Don’t lie about your experience

The aftermath of a bad externship may feel disheartening, but don’t blow it out of proportion when sharing it with friends and family. Lying about your experience could get around fast and ruin your professional reputation.

4. Don’t share confidential information

Sharing confidential information pertaining to your externship, such as client- or customer-related details, could place you in serious legal trouble. You’d face hefty legal fees and being branded as untrustworthy — something no employer is looking for.

5. Don’t lose touch

Building your network is essential to the future of your career. Everyone you came in contact with during your externship is a potentially valuable connection for another externship, job opening or professional development opportunity.

Stay in touch with your fellows classmates, coworkers and manager by connecting with them on social media sites. For instance, you can shoot your previous externship manager an email if you see the company has won an award, or check in with a former coworker to see how things are going since you left.

6. Don’t ask to be hired without having a plan

Maybe you’re seeking an entry-level role. The worst possible thing you can do is ask for a job without having the appropriate plan in place. It’s the equivalent of shouting “Please hire me!” into a crowded room.

Build a personal presentation. Compile all the outstanding work you’ve done for the company and from other endeavors. Schedule a time to speak with your externship manager and pitch this opportunity. Even if they’re not sold on bringing you back or they don’t have the resources, they may know of another employer seeking an entry-level employee.

7. Don’t engage unprofessionally

While judgment is subjective, you should set some engagement boundaries for yourself after your externship. Don’t go to the bar and get drunk with your previous externship manager or coworkers or engage in unprofessional public conversation on social media.

Just because your externship is over, that doesn’t mean you don’t reflect on the company— that gig will be on your resume for years to come. And burning bridges isn’t the best way to jumpstart your career. Remember to keep your professional reputation in mind even after you finish an externship.

By Ashley Mosley

Ashley Mosley is Community Engagement Manager of InternMatch, an online platform connecting the best intern candidates and employers. Connect with Ashley and InternMatch on Facebook,LinkedIn and Twitter.

31 thoughts on “After Your Externship”

  1. these are excellent reminders for a successful career.your reputation can easily be permanently damaged for unprofessional behavior.

  2. This is new too me I was never told to thank them at least in hand writing anyways. I would never ask for a job at my externship, I believe if they decide that they want you they will ask.

  3. These are great do’s and don’ts to keep in mind not only for one’s professional self but to also integrate into one’s personal daily life.

  4. I think the not acting unprofessional on social media thing is a major deal these days, it happens so often and people aren’t getting hired because of it!

  5. i like that, always have a plan. its always nice to be reminded about tips when getting or applying for a job. keeps you on your toes

  6. I think the most important of all of these is staying in touch.

    Maintaing a healthy professional network opens more opportunities and helps maintain reputation more than anything else.

  7. Most of those should be common sense but I know for most people it’s not, specially the ones that putting everything in their life on social media, but that’s the pointer I liked the best

  8. This is really good advise you need to be professional in all your dealings on or off the job, people and companies respect a good business attitude; you expect it in your own life so why not give it to others.

  9. This is extremely helpful tips on what to do and what not to do and how to do it but it is commen knowledge that you should never lie about anything

  10. I agree with this blog because it is true if you don’t have a professional manner about you most company’s will not want you apart of their business yeah they might like you outside of work like your Facebook ,Twitter but anyone’s unprofessional manner will not make them want to hire you during work.

  11. These where some very great tips to keep in mind. There are a lot of people that talk to loud and to much when your in a professional environment you don’t want to do that it would be rude. Also don’t talk about your personal life past or present no one wants to hear about it. Your client wouldn’t want to listen to it, it would be a big turn off and they would find somewhere else to go.

  12. Thanks for this information. It is always important to act professionally at work and outside of work. I especially like number one- saying thank you because gratitude is the attitude that determines your altitude!

  13. These are all really great tips and reminders of what to do and not to do. My aunt has always told me to send thank you letters and I owe a big thanks to CCC already. I can’t wait to start my externship and be able to refer back to CSC and CCC all the time. I already tell people it’s the place to go to school. Professionalism is so important. It gives you an advantage even more so in today’s society than it ever has. That’s important.

  14. #6 is a really good tip, I honestly haven’t thought about that before and it really made me stop to brainstorm on some ideas.

  15. This is full of great tips! I have held many important positions with several reputable businesses and one thing that I can vouch for is your reputation does follow you, and often times precedes you.

  16. This was all very good advice! No matter what these people have put time and effort into you. You need to be grateful for the opportunity. Even if there are things that you don’t agree with you can make mental notes of how you would like to change things in your new job location.

  17. I have done an externship before but whether or not I decide to work there or they decide to keep me I never like to burn bridges. Tulsa is such a small town and your name will spread fast!

  18. This are all important steps and precautions to keep in mind. You don’t want your whole reputation to be ruin the first time a mistake was made, or just as simple as a thank you. Being appreciate is important but it is also to show it.

  19. I always thought that keeping in touch with an old employer or company that you used to work for was weird. I never thought I could ask them how they were doing or keep them up to date with me or me them before. That’s a really neat idea/tip.

  20. why does it always have a math question at the bottom of the page? anyways, i agree some of this info should be common sense. i feel like people expect things way to much and dont think they need to earn it first. anyone participating in an externship should treat it like the real thing. i must admit, i need to work on taking time to write letters more often.