Each semester, thousands of students complete internships in order to gain experience that will boost their employment appeal. However, many of those students forget to do a few simple things to help them make the most of their internship experience. Even if the internship is not what you had expected and you thought you had not learned anything from it, you can still make some yummy lemonade from the lemons you had been given.
1. Connect With As Many People As Possible
The internship is designed to help you learn skills relevant to your future career. But you can also make some great connections while interning. By being helpful to everyone you meet at your company, fulfilling your responsibilities to the upmost of your ability, and taking initiative, you can prove to others that you are a valuable asset. Don’t stay isolated in your cubicle the entire summer! Initiate projects that will allow you to work with others in the company. Your supervisor and immediate co-workers are obvious connections – but what about people from other departments? Could you ask someone from another department if you could interview them about their job so you can learn more about their role in the company? You never know – it may lead to a new career interest! Consider buying coffee for another manager to get their professional advice. Learn as much as you can from all of the people you encounter.
2. Get Some Action Shots
Have a co-worker snap some pictures of you on-the-job. Get some good action shots that show you engaging with others. If you are working at an event planning organization, for example, take photos of all of the event set-up’s you assisted in coordinating. If you work in a hospital, ask if you can take a photo with a healthcare professional. You can use these pictures on your personal web-site, on your blog, or in a portfolio. Images convey more than words, so whenever you can pull out photos that show what you did in your internship, the more impact you will have in future interviews.
3. Learn Your Impact
Schedule a meeting with your supervisor to discuss the impact you have made on the organization during your internship. Did you work on a team project that will be implemented into next year’s marketing campaign? Did your financial analysis study lead to cost savings for the organization? What did you do to help the organization? This information will become powerful in propelling your resume, and interviewing for full-time careers. Anytime you can show that you have made an impact – and how you made that impact – you are proving that you can do this again for any organization.
5. Get The Basic Numbers
Before you finish up your internship, gather some quantifiable information about the organization and about your experiences there. How many customers does the organization serve? What are the key divisions you worked with? What is the corporate value? How much money did you save the company? How many events did you coordinate? How many patients did you impact? Resumes should be filled with quantifiable information. Take a look yourself; which statement sounds better on a resume?
“Worked on several corporate accounts that brought in new clients”
“Worked on 10 key corporate accounts that resulted in an increase of 25% in per-client revenue”
If you do not already have a LinkedIn profile, now is the best time to create one. You should include your current internship in your experience section; watch some tutorials or talk with someone in your university career center to learn more about the type of information to include on your profile. Near the end of your internship, send personalized LinkedIn connection requests to the people you have connected with at your organization. Be sure to delete the default message and write a personal one to each person reminding them of how you had collaborated together. This way, they will have a frame of reference for who you are. Ask your supervisor, a co-worker, or any other professional at the organization if they would consider providing a LinkedIn recommendation for you based on your work in their organization. In the future, when recruiters view your LinkedIn profile, they will see the accolades you’ve received from previous supervisors. This boosts both reliability and credibility.