As an intern looking to make your mark in the world, there are two big things going through your head at any point in time. The first is that you want to do a good job over the course of your however-month-long internship. And the second is that you want to do a good enough job to grow your professional network and job prospects. If you really loved the company, you might even be hoping you’ll have the chance to come back and work there full time later on.
I speak from experience—as a college senior, I was able to turn an editorial internship into a full-time role I loved by the time I graduated (of course, it came after getting rejected and following up with the hiring manager, but that’s a story for another day).
And if there’s one lesson I’ve learned from that time in my life, as well as all the times I’ve managed interns over the course of my career, it’s that the little things go a long way in helping you stand out—including sending a post-internship thank you letter to your supervisor (and some other people, too).
Why Should You Send a Thank You Letter After an Internship?
Well, it’s polite. It shows respect for the person’s time, tutelage, and resources, and acknowledges that you’re one of the lucky few who got the opportunity—and don’t take that lightly.
But it’s also memorable. It’s all too easy for someone to walk out through the office doors and never be thought of again. Just as job candidates or networking dates come and go in the blink of an eye, so do interns. When you put yourself in front of your supervisor and peers one last time in a professional, compelling manner, you force them to remember you—often for months or years to come, and hopefully when important career opportunities pop up.
Worst-case scenario, if every other intern sends a thank you note, at least you won’t look silly having missed the boat. And best-case scenario, if they don’t send one, you’ll stand out in an excellent way.
Tips for Writing a Post-Internship Thank You Letter
Staring helplessly at your computer trying to decide what to write? Here’s how you can go about tackling this task.
Pick Your Medium
This is the fun part! Decide how you want to send your note. If you think it’s appropriate or want to make it super personalized, go for a handwritten card (you can hand it to them in person, leave it on their desk, or mail it afterward). If that’s not possible or you feel uncomfortable doing so, shoot them a nice email—that’s perfectly acceptable, too. This is always a good choice if you work remotely and want them to get your thanks quickly and easily.
But you can’t go wrong either way. It’s all about feeling out the situation and what your boss or supervisor might appreciate.
Actually Say “Thank You”
I hate to have to say this, but yes, your note should say “thank you” somewhere in it—ideally in the first sentence of your letter and in the subject line of your email.
For example, you can start with: Thank you so much for the opportunity to work on the [team] this summer.
Or: It’s been a pleasure working with you these past [X weeks/months]. I wanted to thank you for all you’ve done for me…
After giving thanks, dive into some specific details of your experience that you’re thankful for. What was your favorite moment working with the team? What projects were you proud to be a part of? What was some advice or guidance your supervisor or colleague gave you that really resonated with you or helped you grow?
Here’s what that could look like: I’m so grateful for all the feedback you provided on my articles and patience you had as I learned more about content creation. I know I’ve become a stronger writer and editor thanks to you.
Another example: It’s been so enjoyable to watch the recruiting process in action and help streamline how you onboard new hires. I look forward to taking what I’ve learned with me into my job search and applying these strategies to future HR roles I take on.
Let Them Know You’d Like to Keep in Touch
Next, make it clear you’d love to stay connected by providing your personal contact information either in the body of your note or in your signature (hopefully they’ll do the same!). An email address works great. If it seems relevant, you can also add your phone number or social media.
Use this opportunity to also express an interest in a full-time position down the road, if that’s something you’re looking for. You definitely don’t want to explicitly ask for a job, but you’ll want to reiterate how much you’ve enjoyed your experience and that you’d be excited to come on board as a permanent employee.
It could look like this: I’d love to stay in touch as I finish up my senior year. This team has been absolutely wonderful to work with, and if your company is looking to hire some more talent next year I’d be thrilled to apply. You can reach me at [email address].
Pro tip: Copy your personal email address on your thank you note if you’re sending it from a professional address. This makes it retrievable even after you’ve left (should you want to revisit your conversation), and immediately gives the receiver your contact information.
Make it Fun (if Possible)
If you and your colleagues got along swimmingly over the course of your internship, it’s always nice to add some flair and humor to your note—just for that extra bit of personalization.
For example, you might say: I’ll miss all our weekly team lunches—especially Taco Tuesdays. I hope the next time I’m in town we can bring them back one more time!
Or: In addition to being an incredible supervisor, thank you for all the amazing GIFs you sent my way. They truly made my inbox better, and I now feel ready to take on the working world with the skills to pick the perfect GIF for any meeting.
Templates for Writing a Post-Internship Thank You Letter
I’ll make it super easy for you to write your internship thank you note with these handy-dandy templates—tailored to the person you’d send them to.
To Your Direct Supervisor
Thank you so much for the opportunity to be your [internship title]. I can confidently say I wouldn’t have grown and learned as much as I have these past [X weeks/months] without your [constant feedback/support/guidance/mentorship]. I’m so grateful for [advice or experience they gave you], and especially enjoyed [project or opportunity you liked].
As a result of this experience, I’m more excited than ever to pursue a career in [field] and feel well-equipped to take on [role or responsibility you’d like to take on].
I’d love to stay in touch as I [finish up school/make my career change/some other transition you’re in]. You can reach me at [email address] or [phone number]. And if there are any openings in your department down the road, I hope you’ll let me know so I can apply.
Thanks again for this incredible internship, and I wish you and the [team] all the best.
Thank you so much for the opportunity to be your production assistant. I can confidently say I wouldn’t have grown as much as I have these past six months without your detailed feedback and unwavering support. I’m so grateful for the opportunity I had to shadow you on set and see video production in action, and especially enjoyed filming the shampoo commercial—I can’t wait to see all our hard work pay off when it airs!
As a result of this experience, I’m more excited than ever to pursue a career in film production.
I’d love to stay in touch as I maneuver my career change. You can reach me at email@example.com. And if there are any openings in your department down the road, I hope you’ll let me know so I can apply.
I wish you and the ProductionWorks team all the best!
To Anyone Else on Your Team
On the last day of my internship, I wanted to thank you for being a wonderful [teammate/mentor] and support network. I’ve really enjoyed [experience you had together], and can’t wait to take [knowledge you gained from them] with me to my next role. I’ll especially miss [some memorable experience you had together].
While I won’t be in the office anymore, I’d love to stay in touch and possibly meet up for coffee the next time I’m in the area. My personal email is [email address].
Wishing you and the [team] the best of luck!
As I wrap up my summer internship, I wanted to thank you for being a wonderful teammate these past eight weeks. I’ve really enjoyed building our consumer offering with you, and can’t wait to take the skills and best practices I’ve developed along the way with me to my next role. I’ll especially miss our Monday brainstorming sessions—they made coming into work after a weekend that much more enjoyable!
While I won’t be coming into the office anymore, I’d love to stay in touch and possibly meet up for drinks the next time I’m in town. My personal email is firstname.lastname@example.org.
Wishing you and the rest of the engineering team the best of luck!
To Anyone Else You Met/Interacted/Had Coffee With
As you may or may not know, today is the last day of my internship, and I just wanted to say thank you for being an amazing [friend/mentor/peer/colleague] these past [X weeks/months]. While I’m certainly sad to be leaving, I’m grateful I had the opportunity to [work on project you worked on together/go on the coffee date you went on and what you got out of it].
I’d love to keep in touch as I [finish up school/make my career change/some other transition you’re in] and hear about all that you’re up to—my email is [email address] and my phone number is [phone number].
I look forward to our paths crossing again!
All the best,
As you may have heard, today is the last day of my internship, and I just wanted to say thank you for being such a great colleague to work with these past three months. While I’m sad to be heading off, I’m grateful I had the chance to grab lunch with you several times over the course of my time here. Those lunches really helped me get a better sense of what it’s like to be an accountant and refine my future career goals. Plus, they introduced me to some of my new favorite food spots!
I’d love to keep in touch and possibly meet up for one more lunch as I finish up school and head out into the real world (scary!)—my personal email is email@example.com and my phone number is 343-434-3434.
I look forward to our paths crossing again!
All the best,
There you have it: The perfect foundation for leaving an internship with your reputation and job prospects in great shape.
The next step? Follow up and actually keep in touch! If you see something that makes you think of your old colleagues, shoot them a note. If you notice they got promoted or changed jobs, send them a “congrats!” on social media. And when you eventually see the role of your dreams available at the company, leverage your supervisor and peers to get a referral. This thank you note in their archives is sure to be a reminder of how great you are—and can help you get a stellar recommendation.
Photo of intern writing note courtesy of Dougal Waters/Getty Images.
Previously an editor for The Muse, Alyse is proud to prove that yes, English majors can change the world. She’s written almost 500 articles for The Muse on anything from productivity tips to cover letters to bad bosses to cool career changers, many of which have been featured in Fast Company, Forbes, Inc., CNBC's Make It, USA Today College, Lifehacker, Mashable, and more. She calls many places home, including Illinois where she grew up and the small town of Hamilton where she attended Colgate University, but she was born to be a New Yorker. In addition to being an avid writer and reader, Alyse loves to dance, both professionally and while waiting for the subway.More from this Author