Summertime is just around the corner, bringing with it days of glorious sun, rising temperatures and afternoons…in a cubicle? If you’ve landed a summer internship, you may be packing a briefcase more often than a bikini this year; so how do you make the most of your summer as an intern?
Internships are more important than ever; building years of hands-on experience and creating connections are key when searching for a job. Unfortunately, not enough first-time employees take advantage of this unique opportunity for career growth! Depending on your role, you may be able to connect with more people and learn more skills than the job description alone could ever imply. Sure, a day at the beach is nice, but a career boost is even nicer.
If you’re planning on a career-focused season, here’s how to have a successful summer internship:
Try Something New
An internship, by nature, allows you safely try out a new role. However, don’t let the confines of this role stop you from trying something completely new, even if it’s not directly geared towards a career you have in mind. If you haven’t done much writing, find an opportunity to stretch your skills. If math isn’t your cup of tea, find on opportunity to learn a new technique from a colleague. Now’s your chance to push your boundaries!
Take a Risk
Similarly, being an intern allows you the flexibility to aim higher and take risks. Any intern can do the bare minimum and knock out day-to-day tasks well enough; take the extra step to introduce a new idea to the team or lead a large project from start to finish. Not only is this a time to build skills for the future, but it’s also a time for you to build pieces for your future portfolio. Embrace available opportunities and take them one step further!
Keep Track of Everything
Starting a new intern adventure requires a good memory. From day one, you will need to be learning new names, new skills and countless bits of information that may be hard to remember. Make an effort to keep a log of everything you do, from checking morning e-mails to organizing meetings. An on-going digital document or old fashioned pen and paper are simple tools to help you keep track of your role and responsibilities on a daily, weekly and monthly basis. The smallest aspect of your internship may end up clinching an opportunity for you down the road! Don’t miss out on important details by not keeping track of your progress.
Place a High Value on Feedback
An internship is an amazing chance to continue your learning. Classes and books pull together important technical knowledge from your field of interest, but hands-on experience is the only way to know what the day-to-day of your career path might look like. That’s why it’s important to take away as much direct instruction as possible. Regular check-ins, weekly or otherwise, with a manager or supervisor are a great way to gain direction, and also build a lasting relationship with someone in your field.
Build your Network, One Step at a Time
LinkedIn connections and handshakes only get you so far! Internship time is a fantastic opportunity to build real, lasting professional relationships. In addition to your daily responsibilities, seize chances to collaborate with coworkers and other internal teams. From projects to corporate outings, don’t shy away from occasions that allow you to meet new people and build new connections! These conversations not only allow you to build bonds, but can give you great insight into your industry.
If you’re trading in the beach for an office this summer, set yourself up for success! Learn new skills, expand your circle and bring these new experiences with you as you continue your career path. Do you have any tips for a great summer internship? Share them below!

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