Making the Most of a Summer Internship or Job

internship, summer job

Summer internships or jobs are often critical for students, giving them necessary work experience, skill development and professional connections that will come in handy when they graduate. When you land yourself a position in a business or nonprofit organization, it is critical to manage your impression and don’t get complacent. Your summer work could be the answer for where to find jobs in the future. It could be a key part of a profitable and fulfilling career – but only if you make the most of it.

Here are some tips for making the most of your summer internship or job:

Define Objectives: Make sure you have clearly defined objectives for the summer. On your resume, you want to demonstrate that you can accomplish or exceed certain goals (e.g. project completion, a certain amount of money raised or number of tasks completed). Summer work only takes place over several weeks, so what are you setting to accomplish during that time? Is there some kind of project you could complete in its entirety or contribute to in measurable and hopefully unique ways?

Time is of the Essence: Don’t slack off, not even for a minute. Because your work is taking place in a short window of time, you need to make every moment count in order to leave a good impression on supervisors and colleagues. You don’t want your supervisor to stop by your desk right at the moment when you’re uploading a picture onto Facebook or chatting on the phone with a friend. You don’t want your supervisor to associate you with tardiness, long lunch breaks or sloppy clothing.

Make a Good Impression: Don’t fade into the wallpaper. Be loud. Stand out. Make your presence known. Keeping your head down and doing your job isn’t enough. You need to leave a favorable impression by taking the initiative and standing out in positive ways. Ask questions. Offer to take on assignments. Solicit feedback for your work. Respond maturely to constructive criticism. If you’re ever stuck without anything to do, seek out more work. This doesn’t mean you should be hovering around your supervisor or colleagues, seeking attention. But don’t let a day go by without contributing something to your workplace and having some kind of positive, substantive interaction with the people you work with.

Build Relationships: Maintain connections. Everyone you work with is a potential connection for a future job. Be on good terms with everyone and seek out opportunities to be mentored. After your internship or job is over, keep in touch with people via LinkedIn and by e-mail. Most jobs are found through networking, so it’s important to expand your network.

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