How to Keep Up Business Relationships Once Your Summer Internship Ends
You did it! You landed the perfect internship, gained valuable experience, and formed great connections with your coworkers and managers. So … now what?
After the summer ends and school starts again, it’s easy for students to get caught up in their academic and personal lives. Swamped with papers, group projects, and meetings, it gets easier and easier to push keeping in touch with your former colleagues to the bottom of your “To-Do” list.
So how do you keep up these relationships after the summer is over? And more importantly, do you even need to keep up with your former colleagues regularly?
The answer to the latter is most definitely, yes! Keeping up with your former colleagues is something that every woman should make a priority. Building a strong network is an asset that will become more and more valuable as time goes on. Having former coworkers and managers that know your work ethic and have kept up with you throughout your career can lead to opportunities and information that you wouldn’t otherwise have.
One of the easiest ways to keep up with a former colleague or manager is by connecting with them on LinkedIn. Make sure that your profile is updated and proofread before you send them an invitation. Send a personalized message once you’re ready to connect, and make an effort to log on and check your news feed every so often. If you’re active either within groups or by sharing content, your colleagues will be able to see. Likewise, you can keep up with your colleagues and managers’ professional interests and accomplishments, all while proving you’re social media savvy!
Sending a “catch up” email every few months is a nice way to keep your colleagues and managers updated on your academic and professional goals. You can use these emails as an opportunity to share more in depth how your classes are going, what activities or clubs you’re participating in, and what your professional goals are for the future. Be sure to ask questions about their lives as well to make your email more of a conversation- your connection will be stronger if there is a mutual interest and dialogue.
You can really stand out by making an effort to meet in person with your former colleagues and mangers every once and a while. Good old face-to-face interaction can’t be beat! While LinkedIn and email are great ways to keep in touch, meeting in person for a quick coffee or lunch will help your bond continue to grow stronger. Often times, meeting in person allows for more casual conversation, and you may feel more comfortable asking questions or for advice when you’re sitting face-to-face.
Depending on if you traveled or relocated for your summer internship, meeting in person may not always be possible. Great free alternatives would be Skype or a Google Hangout session so you still get that “in-person” feel. Simply making the effort to talk will show that you value the relationship and want to continue developing it.
You worked hard to make an impact during your summer internship, so don’t let these relationships go to waste! If you make time to periodically reach out, your managers and colleagues will continue to keep up with your academic and professional career. Set a reminder on your phone, put it in your planner, schedule it in Google Calendar—whatever you have to do to remind yourself to keep in touch! If you start developing and cultivating these relationships early on, you will have a strong network you can tap in to and use in the future.
Stephanie Watkins recently graduated from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. Her dream job is to be a marketing and social media consultant which allows her to travel all over the world. Stephanie’s spirit animal is Leslie Knope from Parks and Rec and you can find her on Twitter at @StephanieWatki5.