Summer Internship Checklist
Summer internships are an opportunity for college students to experience a sliver of what could one day become their career and gain meaningful experiences to add to their resume. If you are a student who decided to trade your swimsuit and the beach in for professional attire and an office, you should be checking in with yourself now that we are closing in on the halfway mark. With internships being a very brief glimpse into life after college, you need to make sure that you are making the most out of your time. One way to do that is to stop and take stock of what you have accomplished so far and what you have yet to try.
The following is a checklist of areas that you should be able to check off at this point in your internship. If not, there’s no better time than the present to start!
→ Find a mentor: This can be anyone in the company, but hopefully you are able to make a connection with an employee who is in the role that you hope to have in the future. It is unnecessary (and awkward) to come right out and ask someone to be your mentor; instead, strike up a conversation with them, invite them out to lunch and ask them questions about their education and experiences that led them to their current role.
→ Socialize outside of the office: Going to lunch, happy hours, community events or running half marathons together are all ways to socialize outside of the office and build professional relationships. Socializing is not only a way to unwind, but it is also a casual way of networking and ensuring that you have professional references to call upon after college. Have fun, but keep in mind that this is still a work relationship so too many drinks (or any drinks if you are underage) should be avoided.
→Volunteer: Rather than sitting back and waiting for opportunities to come to you, show some initiative by volunteering for a task or a project that is slightly out of your comfort zone. Growth comes from new and challenging experiences, and your supervisor will notice the times where you put yourself out there and were a team player. Ask for help when needed but show that you are ready to dive into the professional world rather than sitting on the sidelines and playing it safe.
→ Request feedback: If your supervisor hasn’t scheduled a time to check in with you yet, ask them if you can sit down and chat about your progress. Initiating this conversation shows maturity and an understanding that feedback is necessary for growth. Accept their feedback and advice graciously, ask how you can improve your performance, and take notes to refer to later.
→ Keep a journal: No “Dear Diary, today I ______” needed while creating your summer journal; instead, keep a record on your phone, computer, tablet or good ole fashioned pencil and paper of what you have accomplished during your internship. Make sure to record the projects you have worked on, any responsibilities you had, training you participated in, people you talked with, advice you were given and any experience that you can call upon later in your classes or future interviews.
→ Request contact information: As you are talking to those who work for the company that you are interning at, ask them if they would mind sharing their contact information with you so that you can reach out with any questions that you may have later on (in school or beyond). Even though you aren’t packing up to go back to school quite yet, it is better to do this gradually throughout the summer so that you aren’t rushing around asking for numbers and email addresses on your last day.
If you read this and are starting to worry that you are behind, take the next few weeks to focus on these areas so that you can check them off by the end of the summer.