6 Tips for a Successful Summer Internship

A dark-haired woman in business attire stands in front of an office building, her arms crossed.

There’s no question that landing an internship has become a necessary and ideal way to gain professional experience before graduation. And, luckily for you, you have one this summer. Congrats!

The only problem is, you may have no idea what to expect.

Not to worry. Whether you’re there for a school requirement, a chance to gain real-world experience or just because it's what everyone’s doing, here are six tips for standing out as a successful summer intern!

1. Fight off that first-day anxiety.

Homework’s not over yet! Your first day can be overwhelming, so be sure you do background research on the company and staff. Prepare professional outfits for the first few days until you get a feel for the everyday office dress code. Come up with a list of personal goals and objectives to refer to throughout the summer. Demonstrating professionalism and organization on the first day will show the employer your eagerness. You get to make only one first impression, so make sure it’s a good one!

2. It’s not just a summer job.

Many times, internships are an effective way for companies to recruit potential employees. Don’t waste this opportunity getting sidetracked dreaming about lounging by the pool or reconnecting with all the friends you can’t wait to see back at school. Give it your all! A job is not guaranteed, but you will benefit regardless if you use this experience to learn, grow and improve.

3. Don’t be afraid to ask questions!

Don’t be discouraged from asking something because you think your question is stupid. Supervisors may assign work without a complete explanation, and although there’s nothing wrong with problem solving on your own, be sure to ask the questions necessary for getting the job done correctly. In fact, asking good questions will show you’re interested in the subject and genuinely want to learn more. Chances are you will feel much more embarrassed after making a mistake because you didn’t seek direction. Which leads us to our next suggestion...

4. Get feedback and use it!

Like we said, supervisors can be busy, and most people are happy to provide advice, but they may not offer it unless you ask. When talking with supervisors and coworkers, keep eye contact, make gestures of understanding, and take notes to show your eagerness to succeed and improve.

5. Make as many strong connections as you can.

Try to have conversations or plan short meetings with your coworkers. Doing this will help you feel more comfortable and give off an approachable image. Building these relationships will create opportunities to discover more about your company and the industry. Toward the end of your internship. ask people to meet and use the time to discuss your performance, ask for advice and thoughtfully thank them.

6. Stay connected.

The value of your internship should extend far beyond the summer. Keep in touch with the people you met through email, phone or social media — mainly LinkedIn — to keep your connections strong. Maintaining ongoing professional relationships will further show your interest in the field while keeping you at the top of your contacts’ minds if their company has an open position on the horizon. Networking is a crucial skill that will accelerate the number of career opportunities you find, and in that way your summer internship could pay dividends for years to come!

Have some other tips you'd like to share? Send them our way at SocialMedia@InsureMyPath.org, at Facebook.com/InsureMyPath.