Next steps after your WIL experience ends

As you approach the end of your WIL experience, there are steps you can take to stay in touch with your new connections. Remember to complete the following before your final goodbye:

Add colleagues on LinkedIn and exchange personal emails/phone numbers to keep in touch. LinkedIn is an excellent career management tool that will allow you to follow the professional journey of your past colleagues. You can also use this platform to check in with them from time to time to maintain relationships. If the working relationship was quite formal, be strategic about how often and why you make contact. Consider how you can give back during these interactions. Perhaps you can recommend future interns or share new industry knowledge. A great way to facilitate these catch ups is to invite your colleague for a coffee, lunch or after work drink.

When you’re searching for work in the future, your prospective employer will most likely perform a reference check. To complete this process, you will need to provide contact details of a supervisor from a previous role, who can offer positive feedback on your demonstrated skills, professionalism and personal characteristics. Therefore, before leaving your WIL workplace, it’s a great idea to ask if your mentor will act as a professional referee in the future. While this can be an intimidating task, remember that employers expect this from you, so should be happy to help.

When commencing your next job search, always check in with your professional referees before you start interviewing for new roles. If it’s been a while since your last interaction, it’s important to ensure they remember you. You could also share the position description of the roles you’re interviewing for, so they are prepared.

After connecting on LinkedIn, you could also ask your mentor, colleagues or clients to write a recommendation on your profile. A recommendation is a statement or testimonial that is written by someone within your LinkedIn network. Recruiters or future employers who view your profile will often read the recommendations to see what your connections have to say about your work.

If you enjoyed being a part of your WIL workplace, you might hope to be offered a job during your last catch up. Chances are this won’t happen, even if you were a superstar. This is because there are lots of factors that influence recruitment decisions, such as headcount, budget, and the nature of the industry. Timing plays a huge role as well. The best approach is to thank your mentors for taking the time to teach your new things and mention that you would love to be involved in any future opportunities. Even if they do not know of any relevant opportunities, if you leave a positive last impression, they may contact you when an opportunity arises in the future.

References

Sammut, Nathan and Zitko, Marko. University of Technology. UTS Student Guide to Internships. 2017.
https://careerhub.uts.edu.au/Uploads/Attachments/UTS_Internship-Handbook_FINAL.pdf

Understanding Australian Workplace Cultures: Thriving in the Australian workplace

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