Hacking Your 2017 College Internship

It is time, it is summer of 2017 and many students will or have already started their internships. This post will help you get the most out of your internship and make you feel like a total champion by the end of it!

If you have come across this article as anyone other than an intern, do me and them a favor and share it now ;-)

Rewind to few months ago — you put all your energy in fine-tuning your resume, applying endlessly and interviewing efficiently along with using all that you learnt about getting an internship. All that hard work did land you an internship: an internship that will either convert into a full-time job offer or valuable work experience that you can leverage later.

Depending on how much time you had between then and now, you may have taken some time to prepare yourself for your summer internship. And if not, well I am here to help.

Let’s put together a game plan and make sure you are more than prepared to have the best internship ever:

What to do before your internship starts

  1. Know the company
    It is very important that you know the company or in other words who you are going to be working for. You want to make sure you understand their Mission, Values, Culture and company facts. If your company makes a product then it is worth checking it out, same goes for services or anything else that the company does. This will help you navigate through the first few days better as you will know what to expect from the environment and will be better prepared to fit in the culture, and most importantly this will help ensure you don’t have ‘blank’ moments where you do not know what someone is talking about.
  2. Set goals
    Next, you would want to have a clear To-do list of what you want to achieve by the end of your internship. Is it completing all the tasks, projects assigned to you, is it getting superb recommendations, is it learning a new skill — whatever it is, know what it is. This will aid in making progress towards your end goals and keep you in check every now and then.
  3. Prepare
    Carve out some time to read books or materials that is relevant to what you will be working on. If you do not have any resources, ask your manager or read company news, documents available on the web. Once you have this knowledge, you will feel more confident and will be able to contribute more to your projects.

3 Steps to take during your internship

  1. Make an Impact
    No position is small or big, you got to maximize the unique opportunity that has been given to you to learn about a company and contribute towards their uber goals — all in a matter of few weeks. Utilize the fact that you are new and bring an outside perspective, and add that new enthusiasm and ideas to your project and team. Don’t be shy to speak up in meetings or ask questions. Every conversation is going to lead you somewhere and every idea you have is going to make some impact to the work you are doing.
  2. Build Relationships
    This one is important because so many times interns get so focussed on their projects that they ignore the huge amount of talent they are surrounded with. Don’t be them, and actively meet your teammates for lunch, coffee AND look for opportunities to set up informational meetings with people outside of your immediate area. Interested in a topic or upcoming initiative? Set up some time and learn more about it. Go to events and seek every chance to build meaningful, long-lasting professional connections. Trust me when I say this, these connections are going to be so valuable down the road whenever you need expert opinion or advice.
  3. Ask for a fun project to work on
    Make sure you are having fun at your internship, after all internships are adult & professional playgrounds. So, you need to ask your manager or mentor for a fun or cool thing to work on, and if they don’t have anything, think of something yourself. Do you see an obvious thing that the company should be doing? Go ahead and pitch it to your team or work on it in your spare time. Just whatever you do, have a darn good time!
Bonus tip: Have a mentor!
Some companies actively assign mentors to all incoming interns but if your company is not fancy, please reach out to your hiring manager and have a mentor who you can tap into for help and guidance throughout your internship.

I hope this is empowering and will help you in jumpstarting your internship this summer. Here is a link to a webinar I did on this topic last year — https://www.evisors.com/webinars/204/hacking-your-college-internship

Feedback, questions and comments are all welcome :) Good luck, go and rock your internship!