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How to Build Your Personal Project

personal project
Nathan Parcells
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Published on July 2, 2012

The best opportunity you could have as a summer intern is to build something from the ground up by having a unique project that’s all your own. Owning an independent project will cause you to accelerate your learning curve during your summer internship. You’ll be the sole person to work out any problems that arise and put all that you’ve learned to practice. Being able to have this level of personal responsibility will give you the opportunity to shine as a member of whatever team you’re on. Just like remarkable buildings are appreciated by all, the personal project you build this summer could become a landmark that causes your company to thank you for years to come.

Meet with your manager

The first step to starting your personal project is to plan a meeting with your manager. Before you mention your personal assignment, ask your manager what you’ve been succeeding at and what you could improve on. Write down your manager’s answers to these questions so you can reference them while you work.

Be creative and passionate

The perfect project is found at the point where the company’s goals and your passion meet. Express to your manager that you want your project to help the company and you want it to last. You must be able to display that you’ve excelled in your current job and that you will be able to carry the responsibility of a new task.

Your project could be something like building a unique software, individually reaching out to customers, or writing your own content for a site. However, it could also be something as unique as designing a model for the product your company produces. When you’re in the process of developing your project, don’t be afraid to ask your manager if you can extend the boundaries and do something unconventional.

The project the company needs you to take on may not fit with what you had imagined it to be, but that’s no reason to moan. Delight in the fact that your project is all your own. It’s your opportunity to shine this summer.

Check your progress

Once you start your project, continue to check in with your manager about it. Be as transparent as possible. Don’t be ashamed to ask for assistance when you’re sure you need it, but challenge yourself to make your project as much your own as it can be. Mastering this project will become your key to mastering your summer internship.

Nathan Parcells

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