So, you got the summer internship? You’ve updated your LinkedIn profile, bought the wardrobe and settled into your department. At my summer internship last year, I had an amazing experience but didn’t achieve all I had intended. Thankfully, I’ve had an opportunity to come back and pick up where I left off. Learning from last year, here are seven ways you can get the most out of your summer internship the first time around.
1. Be Intentional
To be intentional is to be purposeful with your words and actions. One way to ensure purposeful action is by setting goals. What new knowledge do you expect to walk away with? Whatever it is, write it down. Set personal deadlines around your goals and re-evaluate as needed.
Being intentional doesn’t just take place in the goals we set long term, it’s a day-to-day practice. Come to work prepared and ready to perform each task with excellence.
2. Take advantage of your resources
National Life Group provides a unique internship opportunity through hands-on projects and professional development seminars. If your internship offers similar opportunities, attend these events, and then use the knowledge given to you as an opportunity to grow. You are surrounded by interesting, talented and experienced individuals. If you find someone you’d like to learn more from, network by inviting them out to lunch.
3. Take Initiative
No one can do the work for you. Find a need in the company or take on projects without being asked. People may not realize or think to ask you, that’s why it’s imperative you take the first step by asking to help. Ask your manager if you can sit in on meetings so you can learn more about your department and identify needs.
4. Step Out of Your Comfort Zone
There’s a saying my colleague Dena Jackson shared with me: “Make the uncomfortable comfortable.” No one ever did something great by being stagnant. Be flexible to change your circumstances. Learn to adjust your thinking or change your plans quickly when things don’t go your way.
5. Don’t Be Afraid to Ask
If Google doesn’t have an answer, your manager just might. So often we worry our question may sound silly. Not asking may be comfortable in the moment, but your lack of knowledge will be uncomfortable later. In addition, by asking questions and gaining knowledge you can provide more value to your organization.
6. Stay in Touch
Don’t just connect with other interns. Form relationships with employees as well. Connect with these individuals on LinkedIn throughout the summer and follow up once you leave. By doing this, you can form mentorships and stay visible for future opportunities.
7. Always Wear a Smile
Lastly, always show up to work wearing the best accessory, your smile! If you’re not a morning person, grab that extra cup of coffee to seize the day. It’s easy to get caught up in routine. We forget to stop and be grateful. I know it sounds cheesy, but smiling is a great way to remind yourself and others to choose joy. You’ve been given an amazing opportunity to grow, learn, and have fun. Embrace it!
It’s easy to go on cruise control once you get into your office routine, but don’t let those weeks fly by without getting the most out of them. And once your internship is over, remember, you can apply these tips to your next job as well.
This post was originally published in June of 2018. We thought it was worth sharing again.