Summer is flying by and if you are currently working at an internship it is likely you have recently reached or are about to reach the half way point. It might be tempting to cruise along through the rest of August without giving it much thought, but there are some things you can do before the summer comes to an end to take full advantage of your intern experience.
1. Connect with co-workers and fellow interns on LinkedIn. It still surprises me when students come back from an internship and can’t remember the people with whom they worked or how to contact them. Talk about a lost opportunity.
At the very least, get business cards and/or save emails and phone numbers in a place you can easily access once you return to campus (note: your phone might not be the best place for this if you are prone to losing it). These people are new members of your network and you’ll want to nurture at least some of those relationships after you leave.
Bonus points if you can provide some LinkedIn recommendations to colleagues. Make sure these are people for whom you can honestly vouch for the quality of their work. It is typical to want to get recommendations as a young professional and soon-to-be full-time job seeker. Turn the tables by helping others (without expecting anything in return).
2. Request feedback from your supervisor and other colleagues, if you haven’t already. If you have received feedback, are you reflecting on it, both good and bad? Have you been making efforts to improve? Make sure you have saved a copy of any performance reviews or other written feedback for future reference. Your email account, saved documents, files, etc. will not be yours anymore after your internship so, like your contacts’ information above, make sure you keep this information in a place you can access once your internship ends.
3. Visit your goals and assess your progress. No goals? Set some for the remaining weeks of your summer. It’s easier to show how you have contributed if you can demonstrate you have met or exceeded goals you and/or your supervisor have set.
4. Identify people in the organization you still want to meet and/or want to spend some time with.
Check out this post from Nuzhat Karim to learn more about networking within an organization.
If you are using your internship to “test drive” a new city in which you may want to live someday, take your networking one step further and connect with people outside your company. Attend networking events for young professionals, look for industry events, check to see if your university has an active alumni group in the area and get involved. Take advantage of the opportunity to get face time with people you want to add to your network before you have to return to campus.
5. Update your resume with your accomplishments so far and details about skills you have used or gained. It’s so much easier to update as you experience new things instead of trying to remember it all later. You may even be able to get feedback on your resume from co-workers. (This should be handled with care – if you are hoping for a full-time job offer at the end of your internship, you may not want to give the impression that you are getting your resume ready so you can shop elsewhere.)
Be proactive now and save yourself time and regret later. Any interns have additional advice?
Kelly is a career advisor at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, where she assists undergraduate business students with all aspects of their career development. Connect with Kelly on Twitter, her blog, LinkedIn or BrazenCareerist.