A Parting Gift for the Summer Intern

Posted on August 1, 2013


gift2I just gave our summer intern a gift. I hope it is a gift that will keep giving.

My first experience with a summer intern is now history. Contrary to circumstantial expectations, it was an exceptionally positive experience. In May, when I learned Dan was going to be joining us for the summer, I also learned it would be MY responsibility to keep him busy. Dan was a part of a pilot internship program sponsored by our business owner’s son who was working with students at Vanderbilt University.  Dad—the owner—was obligated to participate. So, in comes Dan McNeill—my summer intern.

Upon Dan joining our team I did one of my favorite things—I took him to lunch. Over Pad Thai at the Tin Drum Asia Café I got to know a little about him. He was eager to learn and experience the world of employee benefits. We talked of his interest, not in insurance, but in becoming a doctor and serving others. Then we proceeded to talked about expectations, both his and ours, for the summer.

We enjoyed lunch again today—eight weeks later—this time he had a burrito and I enjoyed my chicken fajita. There On the Border I did my HR thing—the exit interview. “What did you learn this summer? What was the most meaningful part of the internship? What could we/I have done differently and better? What would you recommend as we prepare for an intern next summer? What recommendations can you give me in managing the office?” As he answered I moved my tortillas away and scribbled on my notepad.

I thanked Dan for his time, complemented him on his attitude, work habits and passion for the summer work experience. We concluded it was “a win” for all of us. Then I gave Dan his gift—one I hope is meaningful to him. A gift that will leave him with a sense of accomplishment. A gift to help him in landing his next new opportunity. A gift to remind me of our appreciation. It was a gift of a…

Letter of Recommendation for an Intern

August 1, 2013

To Whom It May Concern,

This summer Daniel McNeill served as an intern at BIS Benefits. I was his supervisor for the summer and I can affirm we were genuinely impressed with Dan and our experience with him.

Dan was willing to do whatever he was asked to do for us—nothing was too mundane or too complicated. He worked very well with our team and our employees enjoyed working with him and getting to know him.

Dan is a learner, eager to take on new challenges and was proactive in pursuing the multiple projects given to him. He did an excellent job with each and required minimal coaching. He is a self-starter and thorough.

I found in Dan the qualities we look for in employees. He is teachable, adaptable, dependable and capable. It didn’t take long for Dan to gain my trust and the trust of our team. Furthermore, he knows how to work alone and with a team.

If you are considering Dan for employment or other opportunities, I can say from our experience he is a quality person and I have no reservations in recommending him to you.

Thank you,


Jack W. Bruce

Chief Operating Officer

We gave Dan a small gift and expressed our appreciation with a staff breakfast of homemade waffles in his honor. He leaves our office with some good memories and a new familiarity of at least one new working environment.  He will serve someone well one day—my hope is that when his formal schooling is completed the letter of recommendation will be one small piece that helps him land that dream job.

The Letter of Recommendation to a Summer Intern–it’s a final gift we, as employers, can award as the interns say goodbye and depart for the fall semester.