By now, many of you are probably halfway through your summer internships. You know people’s names and you are probably at a point where you’re also adding value to the organization or company that you’re with. But it is easy to finish your internship and feel like you could’ve done without the experience because you can’t add anything meaningful to your resume or your network. Below are my five tips to get the most out of the second half of your internship.
1. Ask for feedback.
This is a good time in the summer to get some feedback on the first half of your internship. Most people will not give unsolicited feedback so the onus is on you. This is your opportunity to find out two things: what people like that you’re doing and what people don’t like that you’re doing. That will allow you to do more of the former and less of the later. It also ensure that there will be no surprises at the end of the summer.
2. Commit to your one thing.
Be selfish. Spend 10 minutes one morning and fill in one of these blanks or all of these blanks:
a. If I could leave this summer having learned about one thing, it would be _________.
b. The one thing I want to learn more about this summer is_________.
c. I know this summer will have been worthwhile if I learn about _________.
3. Take on a research project.
Ask your manager or boss if there was anything they wish they had more time to research or learn about. Then offer to take it on and see if they’ll review a final presentation that you put together for them on that topic. The project will be something you can work on during your down time. Moreover, you are going to learn so much more about the area you’re working in by conducting your own independent research.
Some internships will already have this project structured for you. At our company this summer, we have our interns working together on a presentation and education series for our team on what it means to be a B Corp. You’ll also be able to put this on your resume for next year’s internship or job.
4. Focus on building one or two relationships.
It is very easy to get caught up with meeting everyone or not meeting anyone over the summer.In hindsight, I wish I was a little more intentional about wanting to build one or two significant relationships from each of my summer internship experiences. Having one or two meaningful relationships will trump superficially knowing 10 or 15 people at the place you’re working. Similarly, managing relationships takes effort. Focus on the relationships that you believe you can learn a lot from.
5. Connect on LinkedIn.
Before the end of the summer, add your co-workers and people you’ve worked with on LinkedIn. I highly encourage you do this sooner rather than later. Some people won’t add you to their network if they don’t know or remember who you are. By connecting with them now, they’ll be in your network going forward. You never know when you’re going to need your network. For me, I was glad that I was connected to so many of the people I met when I was fundraising. LinkedIn doesn’t always tell you this, but every time you connect with someone you will have access to their email address.