Summer is coming, which means warmer temperatures, longer days, and of course…summer internships.
According to NACE, 60 percent of paid internships turn into full-time gigs. Clearly, internships are a valuable portion of your background, whether you’re a college student or a professional looking to get started in a new industry.
So, what are some do’s and don’ts for summer internships? To avoid being the stereotypical coffee runner, check out our ultimate guide to summer internships!
Search for Internships as You’d Search for a Job
Just because internships may only be a three-month or semester-long stint doesn’t mean they’re any less important.
With that in mind, search for internships as you would any other job. That means honing your online brand, customizing your resume, connecting with thought leaders, and applying for internships that will benefit you. It may not be a long-term stint, but internships shouldn’t be viewed any differently than a job.
Allocate the Time for Your Internship
We all want to make the most out of our summer internships. However, if you don’t allocate the time for one, you may not be putting in as much effort as you could. For instance, if you’re taking summer classes, have a full-time job, and still want to participate in extracurricular activities, you may not have time for an internship.
If this is the case, don’t go overboard. See what you can nix so you have the time, as well as the mental capacity, to take on another venture.
Find Out Your Job Duties in-Depth Beforehand
If you’re lucky enough to land an interview, you have the perfect opportunity to ask the million dollar question: “What will I be doing as your intern?” This information is important to know because you don’t want to be in a situation you aren’t happy with later.
For example, being relegated to coffee runner may not be your idea of the perfect summer. So, it’s important to ask questions, find out what the previous interns did, and get a firm grasp on what you’ll be doing before you commit yourself to an organization. There will be no surprises this way.
Be More Than an Intern
You could easily do some paperwork, answer phones, and draft up some copy here and there. After all, these may be your actual job duties as an intern. However, it’s also important to go above and beyond those duties — as in, be more than an intern.
How can you make this happen? Simple. Ask for meetings with your supervisor to see what else you can do. Speak up in meetings. Be aware of what’s working and what’s not and come up with some solutions. Ultimately, do more than what’s asked of you. You’ll blow the other interns out of the water and your team will likely notice.
Take What You’ve Learned and Run with It
Some interns bounce from internship to internship without fully using what they’ve learned. This is understandable, since many internships don’t turn out to be the dream experience you’d expected. However, even bad situations can steer you the the right direction because they help you to understand what you don’t want in a job.
At the end of the day, internships are supposed to prepare you for a future in your industry. So, take what you learned, both good and bad, and apply it to what you want out of your professional career. You’ll find that both experiences will shape your career in the right way.
Summer internships can be more than sitting at a desk waiting for 5 p.m. They can be enriching experiences that help define your career path. Understand who you are as a professional and apply it to your search, your performance, and ultimately what you do with your experiences. When you do so, you’ll be able to see the value of internships, no matter what you end up doing.
What do you think? What are some other tips for summer interns?
About the Author: Sudy Bharadwaj is a co-founder and the CEO of Jackalope Jobs, a platform that helps job seekers find a job via their social networks. Learn how Sudy and Jackalope Jobs obsess over job seekers by connecting with them on Facebook, LinkedIn, and Twitter.