Your internship may have ended for the summer, but there’s still work to be done! Especially if you want to build on the relationships you made and use that experience to help you get another job or internship. Here are the five things you should be doing after your last day.
1. Send thank-you cards. It’s not too late to show your gratitude if you didn’t give out thank-yous on your last day. Pick up a nice set of stationery (Papyrus and Kate’s Paperie have great high-end notes, but Hallmark and most convenience stores have plenty of nice sets too!). Who gets a thank-you card? Any editor you worked closely with, from the editorial assistant who needed you to call in products, to the senior editor who assigned you a story. Write each one a message; the more specific you can be about what you learned from them or what experience they gave you, the better. Then mail ’em off! Find out what to include in your thank-you card.
2. Stay in touch. There’s no science to the right time you should send your first “hello!” e-mail, but you do want to send one. If you don’t, it’ll seem weird when you contact the editors out of the blue when you’re looking for a full-time job (more on that in #5). A good guideline: When you have something new to report, like you’re taking a cool magazine journalism class or you have a big story in your college paper, contact your old editors! Don’t forget to talk about them. See how their kids are doing, if they have, find out about any trips they’re taking, if they love to travel, or let them know how much you liked one of their recent stories (if you really mean it!). You should also take this e-mail as an opportunity to check that it would be okay if you used them as a reference if you need one.
3. Request your clips. Many editors will send you the magazine where your byline appears or links to your online articles when they go live. Others need a reminder. Allow at least four months to pass before you ask about getting any print magazine articles you wrote (feel free to send a check-in note before that, though!). You don’t need to wait nearly as long for web stories. Besides showing your byline to mom, you’ll want these articles to send to editors when you apply to full-time jobs and to bring with you on interviews.
4. Pitch story ideas. Take advantage of already knowing the editors and come up with some articles they may be able to use. (Not sure where to start? Check Ed’s guide to freelance writing.) If you already pitched some stellar ideas while you were an intern, follow up on them. The editors may have forgotten to assign to you once you were out of the office. Be willing to write for free at first, but don’t let them take your skills for granted; if the editors keep coming back for more, raise your rates slightly.
5. Let them know you’re looking for a job. When you’re getting close to graduating, or when you’ve amassed enough experience to apply to editorial assistant positions, e-mail the editors you worked with to keep you in mind for any positions that open up at their magazine. It’s a good idea to let them know what kinds of jobs really appeal to you and ask that they let you know about any opportunities they hear about from friends in the industry. If you had an especially good relationship with them, see if they’d be willing to give out their friends’ contact info so you can set up info interviews with them.