Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Making the Most of Your Internship

Happy last day of June! Summer is almost half over (sad, I know), but this is a great time to start thinking about how to make the most of your summer internship or job you have. By now, you understand your job responsibilities, know how to work the copier and what to wear every day, but have you thought about how to make the most of this work experience? Here are 5 sure fire ways to ensure this:

1. Treat every day like it’s your first day on the job: It’s easy to become complacent once you feel comfortable in your work environment, but keep in mind that you are in a temporary position and you want to make a positive impression every day. Do this by asking good questions, but also by working independently. Volunteer for an extra project. Make sure you arrive to work on time every day. Be polite and respectful to everyone in the office (and everyone else you come in contact with) and avoid office gossip. Review the company policies, especially about Internet and cell phone usage while at work.

2. Meet as many new people as you can: By now, you probably know the names of everyone in your department or area, but take advantage of every opportunity to meet new people and build your network. When you meet new people, ask them if you can meet with them for 15-20 minutes either in the office or over coffee so you can ask questions about their role, their career history, and what advice they have for you as someone who is trying to get their foot in the door. Also, don’t forget to connect with them on LinkedIn. Not on LinkedIn yet? Check out LinkedIn’s short new videos especially for students about how to use LinkedIn:

3. Attend the company bbq or any event sponsored by the company: It might seem intimidating, but this is a great opportunity to meet with people who work in other departments in a casual and relaxed setting. We have even heard of interns who have talked to the CEO of a company (who was wearing shorts and flips flops no less!). Unsure of what to say? Use your 60-second commercial (where you have been, where you are and where you are going, i.e. your career goal).

4. Update your job search materials: It’s always a good idea to update your resume as soon as possible so you don’t forget anything, but also to get ready for on-campus recruiting that starts in September. Also, use your resources! Ask your supervisor to take a look at your resume and provide feedback. Think about who you will ask to serve as professional reference. Who can speak positively about your work style and work ethic? Think of your processional references as your cheerleaders. Once you decide who the best person is, make sure you ask that person to be a professional reference for you.

5. Send a thank you note: After your internship is completed (or while you are still there), make sure you express your thanks to everyone who has helped you. This can be a short email or a nice handwritten note.

Don't hesitate to contact our office with any questions. Good luck!

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