Summer internships are a great way to gain experience in your field and learn new skills. Check out our top 7 tips for making the most out of your summer internship.

  • Research the company: Research the company beforehand, such as reading their most recent press releases and reviewing news articles where they are mentioned. You want to be able to start the internship with a solid understanding of the company and its goals.
  • Make a good first impression: First impressions matter. This will be your first interaction with a potential future employer, so be on time (or early) for all meetings you attend. Internships usually last between 8-12 weeks and the time will fly by. Dress professionally; it is perfectly acceptable to ask HR or your supervisor what the dress code is. Be sure to stay off your phone while you are at work — texting, posting on social media and chatting on the phone are off limits. Never appear bored or uninterested in the projects you are working on, people will notice. Come to the office every day with a smile on your face and ready to work. It will be much easier to build relationships and develop trust with others if you display a positive attitude.
  • Set goals: Meet with your supervisor in the first few days to clarify your work and set clear expectations for what you need to accomplish. Work with your supervisor to create a plan for completing these projects. Don’t be afraid to ask questions about your role — you want to make sure you are on the same page about your tasks and responsibilities. This is a good chance to ask how you will receive feedback during your time there and how they will evaluate you at the end of the summer.
  • Find a mentor: For some positions this may naturally turn out to be your direct supervisor, but there will be other colleagues that may be willing to give you advice and guidance. Connect with as many colleagues as you can, schedule informal lunches with those outside your team, or ask to join their LinkedIn network. Remember you are trying to build your professional network in this industry —  the more connections you can make the better!
  • Keep a journal: Most likely you will need to add this experience to your resume and it can be easy to forget the specifics of your time at the internship. In your journal, write down details about the projects you are working on, what technical skills you are learning and the names of colleagues you work with. This journal will serve as a reminder of what you have accomplished, as well as keep you organized throughout your internship.
  • Engage, listen and learn! Go above and beyond when asked to do simple projects. Ask thoughtful questions and if you have the chance to work on a challenging project do it! Remember this your chance to learn new skills and make yourself more marketable for when you are looking for a job.
  • Send thank you notes: Send a note (not an email) to anyone that helped support you during the summer. This will go a long way to show your gratitude for their insights and guidance as well as help them remember you if a job opportunity comes up in the future.
About the author
Marc Zawel

As author of Untangling the Ivy League, Marc literally wrote the book on gaining admission to highly selective colleges. He earned a BA from Cornell University – where he met AcceptU’s co-founder – and an MBA from University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. At UNC, Marc chaired the admissions advisory board; he has also conducted alumni interviews for Cornell for more than fifteen years.

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