Four Ways to Get the Most of Your Summer Internship

The weeks left until the start of another semester dwindled down to just three, and if you’re like me, you still have part of that time left at your summer internship. In that amount of time, you can tackle a big project or meet an Executive who offers to look over your work. I know I plan to take on as many assignments as possible until my last day.

With all the professional development opportunities awaiting you, it may seem hard to narrow it down to just a few. Look at these four ways to get the most out of your summer internship and see just how much you can achieve in three weeks!

  1. Ask Questions

The longer you intern for a company, the better you can understand which of your co-workers work in positions you hope to one day. Ask them to lunch, walk with them on the way into work in the morning, or grab a coffee date and ask them any question you have. Once you’re with them, ask as many questions as you can. Most of the time professionals are happy to help an intern learn more about their industry or must have skills. I found a recent graduate at my internship who worked in the department I liked the most. We grabbed lunch one day and I learned more about her day to day work activities than I would have as an intern in another department.

  1. Learn a new skill.

Every internship experience is different, so take the time to learn a new skill during your last few weeks there. If you focus on transferable skills, you can transfer what you learned to your next internship or even job. I developed my leadership skills by taking on the lead of a project. I received the chance to delegate tasks to my peers, problem solve, and effectively manage a team. All of those skills can be transferred to a future position, each with an example I can communicate in an interview. Expanding your skill set will help you continue to set yourself apart from other qualified candidates.

  1. Network with your peers.

If you work with other interns, it’s important to network with them; you could run into them again in the future. Take the time to talk to them during your lunch break or on the way out of the office at night. Employers notice you taking the time to build a relationship with your coworkers, showing you’re a team player. I’m lucky enough to work with 8 other interns, and I spend a lot of time getting to know them and their varied skills at work. These connections will be useful slow day with no projects, but will also allow me to meet some of the people I could be working with again when I graduate. It’s important to know the people working in your industry and to look to them for support or advice. You also get a better understanding for your competition when applying for jobs.

  1. Get as many samples for your portfolio as possible.

Your work portfolio showcases your skills to future employers and can be filled with samples from work or independent projects. Samples from projects you worked on at your internship, however, really stand out. Use these next few weeks to draft as many samples for your portfolio as possible. My portfolio is filled with press releases, articles, and event materials, some of which were used by my Supervisor for actual projects. In these upcoming days I’ll be looking for any chance to write a press release, article, or to be included on a project where I can produce tangible work. Taking on a chance to work, no matter how small, shows your initiative to learn as well.

By: Betsey Coulbourn

Betsey is a senior Political Science major with a triple minor in journalism, political communication, and Islamic studies. She currently serves as Historian for PRSSA-UD for the 2014-2015 academic year. In addition to being on the PRSSA-UD executive board, she is a Field Organizer with the Delaware Democratic Party and a member of Active Minds. Connect with her on Twitter @betC__.

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