We’re in the last stretch of summer internship season with the school year heading our way in a span of a month. Many of us have been sitting at a desk for multiple hours a day staring at a screen intently and pretending to be in deep thought. Don’t let your internship be another box to just tick-off your “must do before graduating college” list—you still have the opportunity to get a lot of our what’s left of the experience and help build your professional profile!
Don’t be afraid to ask those questions you’ve been wondering about for the last 2 months! It may sometimes be intimidating being the youngest employee in the office, but you are there to learn. No one expects you to dazzle your manager who has 20+ years of work experience when you haven’t even graduated from college yet. If you still don’t know how something is done, ask a superior to clarify the process and help you get through it.
Visit other departments
If you haven’t had time to visit another department you are interested in, now is the time! Take the initiative to ask your superior if you can sit in on the weekly HR meeting or schedule a catch up with the head of finance. These are great ways to learn about what they do and what their daily routine entails. This will give you more insight into what types of jobs you might enjoy (or not!) and you’ll make important connections for the future.
Ask for feedback
Before you wrap up your internship, ask your manager what you’re doing right and how you can be better. It’s important to make sure you’re always growing and improving your work. You could even ask your manager for a final internship performance assessment to help you pinpoint areas in which you excel and things you can work on for the future. At the end of the day, internships are all about learning new things and building professional skills.
If you have nothing to do, ask for more!
You may have hit a plateau in your internship and feel like you’ve been doing the same thing all summer. Or, by this point, you’ve learned to do your tasks (like creating yet another chart) super fast and are bored out of your mind after finishing them in the first 20 minutes of the day. Instead of taking multiple Buzzfeed quizzes and texting your friends about how bored you are, ask if you can help with something else.
Chances are the person you ask is drowning in work and you are throwing them a lifeline. Even if it’s something simple like organizing files, you’ll be taking some things off of someone’s plate, the time will pass by much more quickly, AND you’ll get points for being a proactive intern. And you might even learn something new.
Wrapping up your internship
At the end of the internship, make it a point to thank your supervisor, your team members, and all the employees who mentored you. Make sure to add them on LinkedIn to grow your network—it might prove very handy in the future. You may even want to post something about your time at the company, reflecting on what you learned and what you’re looking forward to next.
Internships are an important part of our early careers, and although they can sometimes seem like another box to tick, they offer valuable life lessons that help mold us into professionals. So, don’t wait—there’s still time left to put these tips into action and get the most out of your internship this summer!