College and Career

6 Tips to Help You Slay Your Summer Internship

It’s summertime and while most of us have been dreaming about lounging lazily by the pool since February the reality is that summer is a great time to gain professional experience. One of the best ways to do this is by getting an internship! At this point, you’ve probably landed the job and are wondering how to make the most of your 9-5 days (especially since workdays can be less appealing than beach days).  I’ve compiled 6 tips to help any modern girl-boss rock their summer internship, from their first day to their last.  These tips are totally applicable to any internship, however since summer internships are often shorter it’s important to really maximize your time.  While it might feel like just another summer job, an internship is an amazing opportunity to build your resume. Stick with these 6 tips and the office will be begging you not to leave once fall rolls around.

1. Dress Professionally

This first tip should go without saying. Summer is generally the place for cutoff shorts and cute crop tops, however these items belong in your weekend wardrobe. You don’t have to show up in a full business suit every day, but dressing professionally is a great way to show your employer that you value the opportunity they have given you. Invest in some cute, business casual clothing and adjust your outfits to match the overall office vibe. Some workplaces don’t have overly strict dress codes and others have tons of regulations. Determine what will be most appropriate for your job and climate and dress accordingly.

2. Be Friendly and Reliable

Everyone loves a coworker they can depend on! Impress your peers and your boss by showing up on time, doing favors for others and taking initiative to complete tasks that need to be done. On top of that, do it with a smile. If your internship is a good fit you should be glad to be working there, so let people know! A positive attitude goes a long way when it comes to building a connection with those around you. This is a great way to secure some letters of recommendation or references, but more on that later…

3. Keep a Journal

When you get home from work the last thing you might want to do is sit down and write about your day. While it may seem burdensome, keeping a journal is a great way to chronicle and reflect on your experiences! It doesn’t have to be anything complex, just write down things that you have enjoyed doing or lessons that you’ve learned on the job. You can even journal at the end of the week or create an online e-journal. You will thank yourself later when professional applications or potential employers ask you how your summer internship enhanced your professional life and you can rattle off sophisticated answers. This is especially important if you are on a  pre-professional track and need to discuss why you are prepared for law school, medical school or whatever other adventure you decide to pursue. Overall once your summer internship is done, you’ll be incredibly happy that you recorded everything that made it a memorable experience.

4. Get to Know Your Co-workers and Boss

Chances are your summer internship is anywhere from 6-12 weeks. Why not make this time more enjoyable by making some friends?  Make an effort to connect with the other people in your office. If you’re feeling like the “new girl” a friendly conversation with the people around you can change that quickly! Ask the people sitting around you what they like about the job or ask someone to show you around the office. Use your lunch breaks to chat with other interns or employees and find common interests.  By being open to building connections with people, you are likely to walk away with several people who can be used as references in further job searches. Use the same mentality when interacting with your supervisor. They probably have lots of experience in the field you hope to enter so don’t be afraid to talk with them to gain some insight. Make sure you let them know how much you enjoy the job (without being a kiss up) and be sure to be specific. For example, ” Thank you for showing me how to (abc) it has been something I have been interested in learning for a while now because(xyz)!” Follow this tip and you should be able to score a stellar letter of recommendation.

5. Stay on Task

It may be tempting to pull out your phone and hop on Instagram when things at the office get a little slow. However doing so can make you look lazy and uninterested. Keep in mind that as an intern you may be asked to do some boring tasks such as making copies or sealing envelopes. These jobs may not be exciting but they are important nonetheless. When you are given more difficult tasks complete them fully, even if it takes an extra bit of brain power. By staying focused and mindful while doing your work you are likely to learn more quickly and appear dedicated to the job.

6. Don’t Be Afraid to Speak Up

This final tip is everything! The best part about your internship is that it’s YOURS. It should fit your needs and help you explore your passion. If you feel like you are not being given enough responsibility don’t be afraid to speak up and ask for more. If you are constantly assigned to do something you can’t stand, respectfully ask if there’s anything else for you to do. If you have new ideas to better the company or project speak up and share them. It’s better to be remembered as the confident intern who contributed to the team versus the quiet girl who did the 10 am coffee run. Use your voice to tell people what you like and what you don’t like so you can walk away feeling accomplished and happy each day!

28 Comments

  1. I absolutely loved this! It’s so true that you should dress professionally! I live by the motto “Dress for the job you want, not the job you have!” and have actually seen some people be treated differently once they upped their wardrobe for work (as crazy as that sounds, it’s true!). Also, definitely befriend your coworkers and your boss, if they like you, they may even go to bat for you to get a full-time offer at the end of the summer!

    1. lailaanne.co

      YES! Dressing for success makes all of the difference!

  2. Such great tips! Totally makes sense and I love how you put your own story in it!

    1. lailaanne.co

      Thank you so much!

  3. Bailey

    I love the idea of journaling to keep a record of all you experience and learn! Such a good idea.

    1. lailaanne.co

      Thanks, this has honestly helped me so much on future essays and applications! 🙂

  4. All of my internships were good learning experiences!! I think everyone should do a few in their field. You give great tips for succeeding!

    xoxo A
    http://www.southernbelleintraining.com

    1. lailaanne.co

      I agree! It’s a great way to get exposure and figure out if a certain line of work is a good fit for you 🙂

  5. I just finished up my internship and these are all such great points! I especially love the one about getting to know your boss and coworkers, it’s always a good idea to do that!

    Tori

    1. lailaanne.co

      Thank you! I also think it’s critical to get to know the people you work with, you never know where connections may lead you!

  6. Love the idea of keeping a journal of your experiences. That way you can always go back to it!

    1. lailaanne.co

      Thanks, I love doing this! It’s a great way to reflect on your time at an internship!

  7. Keeping a journal is very important! Or at least was for me. It’s good to keep track of everything you did and learned in the experience. That way you can be more specific while writing your resume.

    1. lailaanne.co

      It’s so helpful! The worst is when someone asks you about a past experience and you have nothing to say!

  8. Great tips! I had some great internships and others that were a waste. The successful internship were ones where I had clear direction and supervisors to check-in with me on the progress of my work. It’s so important to have good lines of communication open when you’re trying to learn!

    1. lailaanne.co

      Exactly! This helps everyone get the most out of the experience!

  9. Being reliable is key! I’ve fired interns over that alone!

    1. lailaanne.co

      Yes, it’s a huge problem when people aren’t around to do the jobs they’ve been hired to do!

  10. Dressing for success is so important! Love the other tips.

    Alix | apintsizedlifeblog.com

    1. lailaanne.co

      Thanks lovely!

  11. I’m helping to manage our summer intern and I can’t emphasize enough the importance of speaking up! It shows engagement and that you’re thinking about topics at hand! No one expects you to be brilliant 100% of the time, but showing that you try goes a long way

    1. lailaanne.co

      So true, you have to engage and contribute in order to get the most out of an internship!

  12. All of these are great tips! They help you enjoy the internship more, too! I loved my summer internships back in the day.

    1. lailaanne.co

      Thank you!

  13. dressing properly is super important (and underrated!!) x

    1. lailaanne.co

      I agree, It makes all the difference!

  14. The best advice I was ever given as an intern was, ‘act like you already have the job,’ meaning; give everything you have to this job as if you’re already being paid to do so. Take pride in your work if for no other reason than personal satisfaction and pride.

    1. lailaanne.co

      That is great advice, it’s the opportunity that counts and you should always put your best foot forward 🙂

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