It seems like the last day of classes is long gone, and you may have already started work at a summer internship. Here’s a list of three great ways you can make the most out of this experience, so that you come away with more than just money (or college credit) and a few more lines on your resume:
Take Initiative. Some companies have well-established internship programs that are packed full of responsibilities and activities for their interns, but many internships aren’t quite as laid-out. If your role as an intern doesn’t define how to spend all of your time while you’re at work, use that opportunity to go above-and-beyond what your supervisor has planned for you. This doesn’t mean simply asking “what else can I do?” but actually identifying an area in which you can contribute, and running a plan past your supervisor. This is a sure-fire way to get yourself noticed, and it shows that you’re not just there to meet expectations.
Network. The value of networking doesn’t just go away now that you have your internship. Remember, this could be an audition for a full-time position, and the more people you have in your corner, the better your chances of snagging that offer will be. One of our former peer advisors, Dhruv, really took advantage of this strategy, and made sure to have lunch with different people from his office as often as possible. He was able to ask questions about the organization, questions about each person’s role within the company, and to discuss some of the projects he was working on. He ended up with a full-time offer after his internship, in part because in addition to doing an excellent job, many people beyond his immediate supervisor were able to see what an excellent job he was doing. He definitely stood out among all the other interns.
Evaluate the Company/Industry. I mentioned that internships are like auditions for full-time jobs, but this is also the organization’s time to show you what they’re all about. Make sure you use this summer to figure out what you like (and dislike!) about the organization, so that you can make a better decision about full-time offers later on. For instance, if you find that it’s frustrating working in a huge, hierarchical organization as an intern, that will help you focus your full-time search on smaller companies, with a more flat organizational structure.
If you need some career coaching this summer, don’t fret — The Career Center is open 8-5p every weekday, and you can make an appointment to stop and see us.
Photo credit: adpowers on Flickr.