You just finished a successful summer internship. You rocked your first day, your first week, your first month and beyond. You’ve written thank-you notes to everyone you worked with, said your goodbyes and now it’s time to head back to campus and leave your days of working at a company behind you until next summer rolls around.
Not so fast.
The benefits of your summer internship don’t end just because school is back in session. There are a handful of things you can do to maximize the impact of those few months well into the new school year. Below are some of our favorite ways to leave a lasting impression and set yourself up to rock your future career.
Update Your Resume
Do this right after your internship ends, when everything you accomplished over the summer is still fresh in your mind. If you wait until spring semester when it’s time to start applying to new internships or even jobs, the details might be a little foggy.
As you’re updating, here are some things to think about:
- When did you go above and beyond at your internship? What did you accomplish as a result?
- Did you lead a big project? What did you learn about leadership throughout the process?
- What results can you show for your work? Did you increase your company’s Twitter followers by 15 percent? Pitch an idea for a new process that saved everyone on your team 10 minutes a day?
Instead of just listing responsibilities, think about the accomplishments you’re most proud of. The more detailed you are, the easier it will be to wow future employers.
Make a “Pros and Cons” List
Maybe your internship reaffirmed everything you thought you wanted to do with your career. Maybe there were some aspects you now know aren’t the best fit. Or maybe you decided your intended career path just isn’t the right one after all. Either one of these is perfectly fine!
Internships are as much an opportunity to learn new things and get hands-on experience as a way to help you figure out what you do and don’t want to do. Within the first few days after your internship ends, write down what you definitely want to do again and what you want to avoid in a future internship or job. That way, when you’re applying to and interviewing for your next position, you can ask smart questions to better understand what each potential job will look like.
Consider Any Knowledge Gaps
Was there a particular project you found really challenging or a skill other interns had where you were a little rusty? Maybe you realized learning a certain coding language would give you a major career advantage.
Great! Head back to school and fill in those gaps. Even though it may be too late to enroll in new first semester classes, see if you can audit a class that’ll help you build a certain set of skills. Or, make a note of what you want to learn to be strategic when second semester enrollment time arrives. There are also plenty of online classes (many of them free) that will help you gain that competitive edge.
Organize Your New Contacts
It’s never too early to start building your professional network. Odds are, you’ve made a handful of industry connections, both at your company and through any networking events you attended. In addition to connecting with them on LinkedIn, make the most of those contacts and start a document to keep everything organized. You’ll want to include each person’s:
- Email address
- Job title
- Where you met and—in the case of networking events or one-off meetings—what you talked about
Instead of saying, “I’m graduating this May and wanted to get back in touch as I start my job search,” say something closer this: “I’m graduating this May and noticed [insert company] has an opening for a [insert role]. I’d love to put my application in for the job. Are you able to make an introduction to the hiring manager?” This approach is much clearer and makes it easier for your contact to take action.
Whether you’re looking to land your first, second or third internship, Philips Lighting will make sure you have plenty of experiences to add to your resume, amazing contacts to keep in touch with long after your last day, and plenty of chances to learn and grow. They’re hiring now, so head over to WayUp and apply!