College students, by and large, are interning away this summer. We’ve discussed what to wear at length but I wanted to give some tips about how to get the most out of your internship and how to leave the best impression. I’m no expert but there are a few easy things you can do to make your summer work much more valuable.
1. Add your coworkers on Linkedin. Ahhh, connections that aren’t students, doesn’t that feel good. These people may have friends in tons of industries and could be the connection you need for your next job. Updating your profile throughout the year will remind them what a supastar you were/are.
2. Make a list of what you’re doing. Someday (at the end of the summer), you’ll translate all of that into buzzwords and a couple of lines on your resume. For now, keep a list in a word or google doc of exactly what you’re doing, from projects to people you’re working with. This will be really helpful when you’re trying to describe your internship in a cover letter or interview, asking for references, and more.
3. Make a to do list for every day. It’s easy to let cubicle ennui get the best of you. You’ll feel better about reading a newspaper article or checking twitter (though do that sparingly) if you are crossing things off. It also helps break up any long term projects you may be assigned in little pieces.
4. Make a list of lunch places to try. Get out of your rut. Foursquare explore is GREAT for this. It helps you explore new neighborhoods and find cool stuff right nearby (and sales too).
5. Use Google Docs! Forget the days of emailing work to yourself at home. It’s easy to share things with other interns and your boss. It’s also an easy way to do extra work at home if needed.
6. Branch out in the office. You’re likely assigned a specific department but all of the employees are part of the same team. Ask what else is going on. If there’s a project or event that sounds interesting to you, don’t hesitate to ask more about it, introduce yourself to the relevant people, and offer to help. Just be transparent with your original department and keep them in the loop (and as your priority).
7. Join Levo League.
Levo League is a start up network for ambitious women. Once you get accepted (it takes a couple of days), you fill out a profile about your dreams, what you do now, and your interests. You can get matched with a mentor, surf job listings, attend virtual office hours with leaders of amazing companies, meet other members at exclusive events and more. The founders are all over twitter with insightful articles about topics ranging from the benefits of sorority membership for networking to tips on asking for a pay raise to suggestions for networking to the art of resume writing and so much more. I think Levo League will grow enormously in the coming months and it’s a great idea to be a part of it! Sharing the articles with mentors is another great way to show how seriously you take yourself and your future.
8. See if you like what you’re doing.
This sounds obvious but do you enjoy your internship? Does the industry feel important? Do you get satisfaction? Do you like the people? Be careful to separate things you may dislike about an entry level position (early mornings, some menial tasks) from the actual jobs. Let’s say you’re working for a non for profit. You may not like the development work you were assigned but be interested in the events division. Talk to people and see what you can do in the future to try another role. Try to get a feel for the industry through events you attend and start thinking about what you want to do next summer.
May the last few weeks of your internship be productive, fun, and satisfying! Let me know if you have any tips to add!