5 Ways to Get the Most Out of Your Summer Internship

Woo hoo! Summer is almost here! Get ready to dump those textbooks and head to your summer internship. More than exams and group projects, your summer internship is the thing that makes the biggest difference in your college experience. A summer internship looks great on your resume, but it also gives you the chance to try out different companies. Think of it as heading to a candy store and getting to try before you buy.

By the same token, you don’t want to spend the summer just stuffing your face with candy. If you get there and love the company — great! If you start your summer internship and realize you’ve made a huge mistake…there’s still a way to salvage your summer. Read on for our top tips for making the most of your summer internship!

Get to know everyone.

Seriously, the more people you meet, the better. If you usually feel awkward networking, being an intern is great cover. People expect you to go out of your way to get in front of as many coworkers, managers, mentors, and C-suite leaders as possible. Under the guise of “learning about the industry” you have the chance to get face time with someone you may not usually have access to in an entry level job. Take advantage of that! Even if you get to the company and realize it’s not the right fit for you, someone may know someone who may give you your next break.

Ask questions!

The more you know…the more you know. Ask lots of questions while at your summer internship. On one hand, asking good questions will help you get to know the company better. Sometimes you might not get the answer you’re looking for — and that in itself is significant.

On the other hand, asking lots of questions shows you’re engaged, you’re thinking, and you’re here for the company. “If you’re in a meeting with senior colleagues, think less about your answers to their questions and more about what you see missing — the questions no one else is asking…And, as a rule of thumb, make sure you ask one or more authentic questions in every meeting you attend. Following this advice will hone your ability to ask questions that lead to real insight and will ingrain in you the essential habit of intellectual curiosity,” says Harvard Business Review.

Develop new skills.

Does your university have a course in how to use Salesforce correctly? Ours didn’t. There are so many invaluable skills you’ll need to join the workforce that can’t be taught in a classroom. We’re not just talking about new software, either. Some summer internships offer leadership development or soft skills training — an MBTI assessment, for example — that many universities don’t have the resources to supply. “If your internship offers training workshops or mentor pairings or any other skills-building endeavors, make sure you take advantage of these,” recommends Time Magazine.

Pay your dues (and no more than that).

Being an intern means there are some menial tasks that come with the territory. Unfortunately, that hasn’t changed since our parents were starting out in their own careers. “Consultants disagree about the percentage of time interns should expect to spend on menial tasks. Some say 20%, others say 50% or more,” writes Forbes. Show up on time, smile and nod when someone asks you to stuff envelopes, and have a good attitude.

If your summer internship is exclusively dedicated to getting someone coffee, then it might be time to reassess your position. Here are some signs that your internship is taking you down the road to nowhere — and some tips on what to do about it.

Ask for feedback.

Use a tool (BULLIT) to start collecting regular and casual feedback from your managers and coworkers. We like BULLIT because while you may be graduating with an impressive resume, most recruiters won’t know how much better you are than others in your graduating class. You’re going to be competing with others who joined just as many clubs, majored in business, and also volunteered at the student union. However, if you can point to reviews from your professional network that show you’re trustworthy — that will make a huge difference.

Get started with BULLIT by claiming your profile today! We’ll help you get started with a link you can send to your new network. Get out there and conquer the world, one summer internship at a time.

Originally published at BULLIT.