In addition to building your network and your skill set, an internship allows you to build your portfolio and maintain a tangible record of your on-the-job achievements. Whether you’re majoring in marketing, finance, design, or statistics, you’ll want to have ample evidence of your internship achievements. It will help you get future internships and, eventually, future jobs. Here’s what materials to gather and how to put it all together.
What to gather
- Relevant work samples: These might be technical problems you solved, websites you updated, sales materials you designed, press releases you wrote, or videos you filmed. Have printed copies of every one of them at the ready. Make sure you can speak to your exact work on each one.
- Company materials: If you worked for a big-name employer or a company that’s really shaking up the industry, let other employers know it. You want to be associated with successful work, so bring along your company’s annual report, a recent newsletter, or brochure. If you’ve worked on any of the featured projects, that’s all the better.
- Letters of recommendation: Towards the end of your internship, ask your supervisor for a letter of recommendation on company letterhead. This is a normal request, so it’s likely that your supervisor will know what to do. After, be sure to write a thank-you note. Additionally, if you’ve followed our networking tips, you likely have other contacts who will be happy to give you a recommendation. Consider asking your team leader or any department heads with whom you’ve worked to write letters for you, too.
- Other complimentary documents: Effusive thank-you notes from your employer or clients, as well as positive final evaluation forms, can also go in your portfolio. Your career center or professors might also have relevant letters or pieces of correspondence that promote you as an outstanding student. If you received credit for your internship, you might have written a paper on the experience; if you earned a top grade, include that, too.
- Online samples: If your internship included lots of online or IT work, you might want to develop a document listing URLs or print out hard copies of the materials. You could also put a presentation of your work on a USB drive.