How to Make the Most of Your Summer Internship/Work Experiences
Whether it is virtual, in-person, or a bit of both, your summer work experience is a chance to build skills, relationships, and possibly parlay the internship into a full-time offer or renewed employment!
Think of the summer as an extended job interview - where you are getting the chance to be a first-pick for full-time work, and you are determining if this is an employer/job function that interests you!
Plan Your Internship!
Design goals for yourself. These may be:
- skills or concepts you'd like to build (For example MSExcel, Python, data analysis, Tableau, project management, etc.)
- projects you'd like to design (Design a website, analyze data and produce a written and oral report)
- relationships you'd like to build (Meet 5 people in the organization through a virtual or in-person meeting)
- experiences you'd like to have (Attend a staff meeting of senior-level team members; represent your team on a committee)
- meet with your hiring manager to discuss relevant goals (some may be your personal goals and not for your supervisor's consumption)
Interview! (Yes, you are conducting the interviews!)
- You want to learn more about this employer, your job function, and the industry. Can you see yourself working with this organization? With this supervisor?
- Spend time in the office (if possible) to learn about Team Culture and Employer Culture (These are not always the same.)
- You can learn about the firm's virtual culture through their interactions with you and your peers/colleagues
- Schedule 15 minutes with staff in varying roles and levels, starting with those working full-time in your possible future role
- Get to know people, both by reaching out and developing a positive reputation.
- Stay connected to your recruiter
- Attend events (in-person or virtual) that you are invited to
- Ask questions of your supervisor or recruiter
- Join clubs or affinity groups, especially if your employer is large and has organized groups for employees/interns
Find a Mentor/Employee You Trust
- Your mentor may be assigned to you through a formal program in which case make the most of the opportunity
- Find a mentor, or someone with whom you feel comfortable and may ask questions. This is not always possible; but, don't be shy about asking other employees to meet with you in person or virtually to discuss their work. You may hit it off and find an informal mentor
- Mentors can help you navigate through new situations at work
- Mentors can be future advocates for you with your current employer or a future employer
Document Your Work!
- Catalog all of your projects in a notebook or spreadsheet
- List these by responsibilities and results
- Brainstorm the skills you used and developed and the people with whom you worked to get the work done
- Add this information to your resume and LinkedIn account
- Create a website (wix.com or wordpress.com) to showcase your work, if applicable
- Practice speaking about your summer experiences
- Record the names and contact information of the people you worked with and connect with them on LinkedIn
Next, read the article from the PennyHoarder Rock Summer Your Internship!
Adapted from the Muse and the ECO's summer internship PowerPoint, How to Make the Most of Your Summer Internship and alum Sabrina Grandhi's recommendations.