Getting a job

Accelerating Your Learning Curve

Learning Curve“What in the world is that!?” I’m guessing you’ve already asked this question during your summer internship.  What makes an internship valuable is that immediately after you learn something new, you are thrown into hands-on experiences with it.  After learning what a sales pitch is, you reach out to clients directly; after learning a new programming language, you write computer software with it. The quicker you can become knowledgeable about what you’re working on, the more successful you’ll be. This article will show you how you can accelerate your learning curve.

1) When you collide with something you don’t understand, catch it before it slips away! Write down that word or topic so you don’t forget it, and then start gathering information as soon as you can.

2) Learn for the sake of personal growth. Even if what you’re learning about doesn’t relate to your specific job as a summer intern, you’ll still benefit by being knowledgeable about it. You could end up working in that particular field or you could use your knowledge to contribute to an important conversation.

3) Take advantage of all the resources available at your fingertips:

  • E-books: provide in-depth information. is a great resource, especially for tech students.
  • Forums: give you the street-knowledge of the topic
  • Magazines: are interactive and fun to read
  • Blogs: allow you to interact with a community of specialists.  For instance, if you want to learn more about SEO, is great.

4) Approach the Experts
Look for the people who are cited in the articles you read. Research them. Go to their blogs and homepages. Send them a brief but insightful email. They may form a relationship with you, which would benefit your entire company.

5) Start the Conversation
Your colleagues should be glad to respond to any questions you have.  If they don’t know the answer, then you have just created an opportunity for them to learn alongside you. Use Twitter
and Facebook
to post questions.  When you spark an online discussion and you never know what knowledge could be shared or who could join the discussion.

There is a gap between being familiar with a topic and being a master of it. You can bridge that gap by purposefully acting to accelerate your learning curve throughout your summer internship.

***This is an installment from the series, Mastering Summer Internships. These articles will show how you can make the most of your summer internship experience and be a rockstar intern in your company. Click here or enter your email below to receive weekly updates with the latest installments of Mastering Summer Internships.

Photo Credit: jenny downing via Compfight cc

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Nathan Parcells

Nathan is VP of Marketing at Looksharp and has helped the site grow to over 10 million students and 30,000 employers. He has written for Forbes, HuffingtonPost, VentureBeat and more on how to get hired out of school. Nathan loves working with students to figure out their ideal career path.

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