As the fall semester begins, most internships are wrapping up. Over the summer, you became best friends with your fellow interns, impressed your boss, and met many different people that you hope to work with someday. What now? The best former interns stay in touch with their contacts and update them on new jobs, promotions, projects, and more. Most importantly, they think about ways they can all work together and continue to network in the future, while sharing information and connecting their contacts to each other. But, how do you stay in touch with these new contacts? Here are five ways for you to maximize the benefits of your internship through communication.
- Facebook: This might be a better option for keeping touch with fellow interns, rather than your bosses, mentors, or professional contacts. You could create a Facebook group for fellow interns to join and can include posts asking for advice, sharing other internship opportunities, and more. Additionally, Facebook is an excellent way to keep in touch via short messages to your contacts throughout the year, for example on birthdays and anniversaries.
- GroupMe: While a group chat may seem excessive, for your close group of fellow interns a group chat can be an excellent way to talk about day-to-day issues and positives, such as the progress you’ve made in a piece of code or lab experiment. GroupMe is an app that allows you to create a group chat across different phones, providers, etc. Using the app, you can see the group chat or see the messages as direct texts. Flexible notifications settings allow you to stay in touch while not getting overwhelmed when you’re studying.
- Slack: You may have already used Slack for your internship, so if you already have a domain and channels for you and your contacts, you can use the same system of communication during the year, much like you would use Facebook or any of the other options on the list. However, if you did not use Slack during your internship, here’s a quick rundown: first, create a team (for example, YourGroupName.Slack.com). Then, invite team members to sign up and create their own accounts. That’s it! Within Slack, there are private/public channels—like messaging boards—as well as direct messages. Integrations are also available in the App Directory to help you add Github, Google Drive, or a variety of other apps, which you can use to customize your Slack team.
- LinkedIn: The “world’s largest professional network” is definitely important when staying in touch with everyone you’ve met over the summer. As you switch jobs, learn new skills, or work on projects, you should continue updating your profile page with everything that you couldn’t fit on your resumé, like news articles or video clips about the projects you’ve worked on. Just ten minutes a day is all you need to reach out to new connections, participate in group discussions, and write new posts. That last item is particularly important--people who share at least once a week are 10 times more likely to be contacted, since many of the viewers might be outside of your network.
- Email: Although emailing may lack the flair of some of the other options on the list, it is exceptionally important for keeping in touch with everyone you meet at your summer internship, including your boss, mentors, and other contacts you made. Intern Queen’s tips on email etiquette are an excellent reference to keep in mind when sending an email to avoid blunders, such as spelling the recipient’s email incorrectly. The common rule of thumb is to email your contacts no more than 3-4 times a year with updates and questions.
Niharika Vattikonda is a junior at Thomas Jefferson High School for Science and Technology in Northern Virginia, where she is focusing on computer science. She was first exposed to coding in middle school through HTML/CSS, studied Java in freshman year, and was a student at the Girls Who Code Summer Immersion Program in DC. Niharika enjoys STEM outreach and is the founder and CEO of Teens Transforming Technology, a nonprofit that provides access to computer science through workshops and camps for underserved populations, and she is the Events Director for Inspiring Femgineers, another local nonprofit. When she’s not coding or writing, Niharika enjoys participating in Model United nations and writing for her own blog, Teen Thoughts on Politics.