Extracurricular & Summer Activities | International College Counselors blog | Summer Opportunities | Tips for High School Juniors
10 Ways to Make the Most of Your Summer Internship or Job
Summer is here. If you have a job or internship, plan on making the most of your opportunity. At the end of the summer you’ll want to be in a position where you can get a recommendation from your employer. Your other goal should be to turn your experience into a resume builder. Internships are an important way to impress a college, gain experience and even launch your future career.
- Stand out with your professionalism. Show the company you’re the one they should be watching and giving the best assignments to. Be professional, serious and responsible. This should earn you more respect and responsibility. Be on time for work, meetings, conference calls and team building exercises. Even better – come early. Make sure you dress for success, too.
- Be realistic. Sometimes realities don’t match expectations. Rather than dwell on any negatives of the job or internship, seek out and embrace the opportunities offered. Chances are you won’t be given an assignment that saves the company and makes you a star. But, that’s not why you’re there. You’re there to learn, expand your horizons, and add to your resume. No matter what, always be enthusiastic and upbeat.
- Be proactive. Even if your assignments appear to be a sea of menial and repetitive tasks, don’t complain. Ask to have a meeting with your supervisor to ask about new opportunities or projects. You won’t know, unless you ask. However, if they say no, respect the answer. Even if they say no, you will gain the respect and attention of your older colleagues for demonstrating initiative and motivation. Very importantly, always do the best job you can no matter what the task.
- Learn about yourself. Use this time to find out more about yourself. See what kind of people you relate to. What kind of work you like to do.
- Develop your professional people skills. Compare yourself to people on the job who you admire. Study the qualities you admire in them. Do they have skills you lack or can work on acquiring? Take notes on their dress and what character traits put them ahead. Then try to emulate those traits.
- Build up your resume. Volunteer for extra tasks and look for opportunities. The best first step is to prove that you’re responsible and resourceful. For example, if you’re working in an ice cream shop and your boss needs to leave a few hours early, volunteer to be put in charge. If you’re given the responsibility to lead, this counts on your resume as Management. If you’re working in an advertising firm and think you might want to be a copywriter, ask for the current assignments. Write the ads then ask for feedback. Who knows, they may even love your ad so much, they’ll run it.
- Ask questions. Always remember that a summer job or internship is a learning experience for you. While your employer expects to get some work from you, you are expected to be interested in what’s going on. So ask questions and take notes. This is your chance to get advice and learn. Find a mentor, if possible.
- Learn to take criticism gracefully. No one likes to be criticized, but you’re sure to encounter many negative opinions throughout your life and career. Criticism can help you. Every so often, ask your manager for their thoughts on your performance. If an answer is negative, follow it up by asking what you could have done better. Then put that information to use. The best part about a summer job or internship is that you’re not expected to know everything. Both you and your employer know that you are there to learn.
- Make connections and stay connected. After the summer is over make sure to stay in touch with the people you met and connected with – and stay connected. It’s never too early to start building your professional network. A professionally geared site like LinkedIn.com is a good place to keep in touch.
- Treat the internship like a real job. If you want an employer to take you seriously, you need to take the job seriously.