Whether you are a high school student working as a pizza delivery boy, a current college student finishing a summer placement, or a recent graduate coming to the conclusion of a summer training program, it is vital to part ways with your employer on good terms.
August is known for vacation and relaxation. However, for current students and recent graduates the month can act as a valuable time to expand their network and update their resumes. An internship or summer job is worth little more than your paycheck if your boss does not become a reference.
I recommend following these steps:
Ask for Feedback
While your time as a pizza delivery boy may be over, the simple act of discussing your strengths and weaknesses with a former boss can show maturity and dedication. Regardless of the importance of your position at a company, a past employer will not want to recommend your work if he or she is not under the impression that you care. Furthermore, the feedback will provide you with insights into how you are perceived in the workforce. This allows you to make adjustments for future positions.
Ask for a Recommendation
Recommendations are very important when applying for gainful employment at any stage in your life. Hiring managers are much more likely to take a person’s word over a skillfully constructed resume that may or may not be manipulated/construed. Recommendations should come from present or past employers, supervisors, coworkers, instructors or someone with whom you have volunteered. Relatives, friends and religious leaders are not the best choices for references.
When asking an individual to write a recommendation you should clearly outline what you would like them to include. This will make the process easier for your reference and allow for more time to be spent drafting their letter. It is suggested that a letter of recommendation reflect the current job skills, accomplishments and positive human relations skills of the employee, as well as the reference’s contact information (i.e. mailing address, e-mail, phone number and relationship).
Write a Thank You
Whether a summer employer will be supplying you with a letter of recommendation or not, it is necessary to write a thank you note. It is considered respectful to thank a past boss for the opportunity to grow at his or her firm and necessary if you would like to add him or her to your network. Make sure that the note is hand-written and expresses the values and skills the job taught you. Furthermore, if a contact within your network was of any help during your earlier job search, it is recommended that you reach out to them as well.
After the completion of your summer job it is a good idea to spend some time revising and updating your resume. In addition to adding your most recent employer, readdress some the skills, accomplishments and experience sections. Furthermore, remember to update your printed edition along with your electronic version (PDF, LinkedIn profile, Come Recommended, Monster, DreamFetcher, Brand-Yourself, etc).
Stay in Touch
In addition to continuously updating your resume, I recommend staying in constant contact with your reference list. Occasionally check in with past employers and contacts in your industry with updates to your current progress in school, side projects and employment status. This will allow for your references to properly answer any questions a potential hiring manager may ask them when and if they are called upon.
It is always best to have at least three references to provide a potential employer. This number may seem high if you are a current student with only limited work experience, but think about how many professors you interact with in a given year. Finally, letters of recommendation are stronger influencers in the hiring decision if they are no older than one year.