Getting a job

5 Ways To Make The Most Of Your Summer Internship

Congratulations!  You have landed a summer internship and if you haven’t already started, you will soon.

So how can you make the most of the comparatively short time you have working at a summer internship?

Here are my 5 suggestions!

  1. If this wasn’t covered in your interview, talk to your supervisor about what you should expect to be doing over the next few weeks, and – since an internship is supposed to be a learning experience – what will you be learning?  Try to get this in writing, then check off the tasks you complete, and note the new skills and knowledge you acquire during the internship.
  2. Keep a journal detailing every task you take, every project you complete, and every new skill you acquire.  Why should you do that?  Well, if you are interning for academic credit, this information will help you to write a meaningful reflection paper, and, of course, you don’t want to forget anything when it comes to updating your resume!   You will want to leverage your experience this summer to help you obtain your next internship or full-time job.
  3. Always go the extra mile – this is a cliche, admittedly, but nonetheless very important!  While I am not suggesting you put in hours of overtime, it will definitely make a a good impression if you ask for more work once you’ve completed a task.  After all, it’s no fun for you if you’re bored, and you never want to be caught tweeting, texting or Facebooking at work.  Asking for additional work shows that you are hard-working and can complete complete tasks in less time than expected.
  4. Be friendly and outgoing with the other staff – making friends with your co-workers will bring you many benefits!  They can help you when you encounter problems, teach you about the company culture, tell you the best places for coffee or lunch (maybe even take you with them) and far more besides.  You don’t want to come across as stand-offish or antisocial.  There may be times when you have questions that you don’t want to bother your supervisor with, so who better to ask than your co-workers.  And quite apart from those considerations, isn’t it always more fun when you get along well with people you spend so many hours with?  You don’t want to be an outsider, you want to be part of the group, the team.
  5. Don’t get involved in office politics!  If your co-workers try to make you take their side in a dispute with other colleagues, just say no!  Be assured that nothing good will come of it, and it could ruin your reputation, not to mention the rest of your time at the internship.

So, once you have taken all this wise advice and acted upon it, enjoy your internship and the rest of your summer!  If you are returning to college in the fall, be sure to schedule an appointment with your career center as soon as you can to get help with updating your resume in order to show your internship experience in the best way possible.  If you’re lucky, you might make such a great impression during the internship that your employer will offer you a full-time job after graduation.  And what could be sweeter than that?

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Paula Conrad

Paula Conrad is a transplanted Londoner who has lived in the San Francisco Bay Area for the last 20 years. She is the Internship & Career Fair Coordinator at Saint Mary’s College of California. Paula serves on the Board of Directors of the California Internship and Work Experience Association (CIWEA) and her particular area of responsibility is CIWEA’s annual Bernard L. Hyink Scholarship essay contest.

  • Matei Gavriluta

    5 smart tips. I would go with the #3 which is a fit for me. No matter what I like to think that big things happen when you repeat doing small good things. Our entire life we look for the perfect or try to give the perfect shape of our life. Is it worth!? Isn’t perfect the life that we already have, our daily 8 hour program!?

    Is not enough and because of our education we always strike for more and more. We become robots, we start to manipulate ourselves!

  • Kapital Learning

    some smart tips for sure….now you can check out for more resources

    • InternMatch