How to make the most out of your summer internship

If you are starting your first internship or interning at a completely new place, you might be nervous and excited of what is to come. You are not alone, I am too! So I complied advice from previous interns to help us both out.

1. Get to know the office culture

Every office and even every team is different and it might be hard to predict what you will come across. So if you know a previous intern there ask them for advice on how to adapt to the specific office’s culture. Make you best effort to adapt to their culture and protocols even if you do not know them in advance. Some general office etiquette includes being on time, not talking about politics (including office politics), keeping positive, and not over sharing about your personal life. You want to maximize your time at your internship and getting into drama in the office will definitely minimize that.

2. Be social

It might be weird to make small talk with full time employees who are much older than you are, but it will help you build your network. You can find a mentor and learn more about the industry by asking them to lunch. If you have some free time in the office you can ask to observe their work or ask to help out.

3. Don’t be afraid to ask questions

If you are stuck on or do not understand something do not be afraid to ask your supervisors or others for help. When they hired you as an intern they knew they had to teach you something. As you go through completing tasks ask for feedback from your supervisor. You should ask specific questions so that you get clear answers on how you can improve.

4. Take risks

Do not be afraid to be assertive and voice your ideas and opinions. They hired you for a reason your input matter. The best way to learn is to get your hands dirty and challenge yourself. When you feel pushed you are truly learning.

5. Don’t leave empty handed

Ask your supervisor for a reference before you leave. If you ask them down the road when you need it, they might have forgotten some of the awesome things you did or be too busy. Make a portfolio or document your work in some way. Therefore you can refer back to it as an example of your work for future applications. And finally, ask how you can improve in technical and teamwork skills. So in your next internship or general professional life you can focus on making yourself a better and more valuable team member.

I hope with this advice you can come out of your internship with some clarity on your career goals. Your internship will be a learning experience where you learn not only about technical things, but what type of company or environment you want to work with and what types of work you want to do in the future.

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