Students: How to Maximize Your Summer Experience

Tips to support your career path this summer, by Rebecca Andersen, Director of Career Services, School of Information

MIMS Students at a networking meet-up // MIDS students on a tech tour // Rebecca Anderson

Summer is a great time to pause and put in practice a few things that can “maximize your summer experience.” Read on for 5 hot tips!

1) Update LinkedIn.

Are you working on an interesting research project this summer? Did you just start a new internship? Adding these items to your LinkedIn early in the summer can help build connections and establish your “brand.” Bonus points if you take time to add last year’s recently completed projects or coursework to your LinkedIn Profile.

2) Make New Connections.

Don’t wait until the end of the summer to make connections—start right away! If you are starting a new internship, you can ask new colleagues if they would like to go to lunch. Ask your manager if they are free for coffee, as you’d love to get their advice and perspective. Are there alums that you’d like to connect with (perhaps at your employer, or down the street)? Send them a note! And be sure to also make these connections virtually via LinkedIn.

3) Ask Questions.

Take time in the beginning to ask questions (many, many questions). Remember, you aren’t expected to know everything! While you may want to “make a great first impression” or “create something with a big impact,” sometimes the most powerful way to do this is by first gaining a solid understanding of what (and who) you are working with.

Great leaders know that one of the most powerful ways to start any endeavor is with a listening tour: time set aside to gather insights, ideas and context from others.

4) Have a Sense of Scope.

At the end of your internship, you want to walk away knowing that you added value and have concrete project outcomes/learnings to add to your resume. To ensure you can have a demonstrable impact, get a sense of your internship scope—the goals, key deliverables, tasks, etc. It’s very easy in any role to get into a reactive mode — completing day-to-day, as-needed tasks. You will be able to build (and showcase) more skills if you can make impact on a clearly defined project/feature.

5) Have a Good Attitude and Show Gratitude!

Attitude is everything—so be positive, inquisitive, and serve as a team player. Think about what kind of mark you want to leave on an organization and endeavor to exemplify an attitude that matches. Be gracious to everyone whom you meet and who helps you throughout the summer; greet the front desk receptionist with a smile, say hello and make personal connections with other interns, and in general strive to treat everyone with respect and professionalism. Taking steps to not only succeed in your work, but also in how you work with others, will serve you well in the future.