It’s that time of the year again when students across the country are gearing up for their summer internships. For many industries, the summer internship is a direct pathway to a full-time job offer so it’s important to make a great first and lasting impression.
Whether your internship is your first foray into the business world or you’re a seasoned professional, following these simple tips can help ensure that you make the most of your summer internship.
This is always the first advice that I’ve provided interns that I’ve managed in the past. All jobs will come with a learning curve but any little bit you do to get a head start can help.
For example, if you have an investment banking internship, brush up on your Excel skills. If you’re joining a marketing team at a CPG company, familiarize yourself with their products. You may even impress your boss with some of your initial insights.
Show attention to detail.
This is a critical behavior to demonstrate when first starting a new job, particularly at a junior level. Bring a pen and notebook everywhere you go so that you can jot down notes to refer to later.
Before you submit any work to your boss, be sure to double check it for any careless errors or oversights. This is critical is building your boss’ trust and expediting the path to getting better and more strategic assignments.
Network as much as you can.
No matter how busy you get, don’t spend your entire summer holed up in your cubicle. It’s important to make the time to develop relationships at your company – not only with your immediate team but also with cross-functional partners and ideally, key decision-makers.
Not only will this help you become a familiar face (after all, you don’t want folks asking “who is that again?” when your name comes up during hiring discussions) but it will also help you get a better sense for the company culture.
Remember this is a two-way street.
While you may feel like you’re on trial for the summer, don’t forget that the company and the job are too. The internship is also your chance to figure out if the opportunity is right for you.
Do you enjoy the work? Do you like your colleagues? Will you thrive in the company culture?
These are all questions to ask yourself. It’s OK to have doubts. It’s much better to figure out during an internship that the job isn’t right for you than coming to the same conclusion six months into a full-time role.
Melody Jones is the co-founder of Vantage Point MBA Admissions Consulting, a boutique, full-service MBA admissions consulting firm that advises applicants to the top MBA programs in the world. With Vantage Point, Melody and her co-founder, Meredith, have developed a unique 360° approach to the application process, delivering the perspectives that matter from not only experienced consultants and former admissions directors from top 10 MBA programs but also current MBA students and post-MBA professionals at some of the top companies in the world. By providing its clients firsthand insights from people who understand the process from the inside out, Vantage Point helps each candidate develop the most competitive and differentiated applications possible, maximizing his or her chances of admission to the most selective MBA programs.