With summer right around the corner, many of you are preparing for an exciting internship. While you’re doing everything to make the most of it, here are some tips that will also help you leverage your summer experience to prepare for your full-time career:
Learn from industry experts
During your internship you’ll be working side-by-side with industry professionals who have various areas of expertise. Just as you look to your college professors for guidance, you’ll want to take advantage of the career knowledge these experts can offer. Find the full-time employees working on the technologies that excite you most. Ask them to lunch: Find out more about their career path, what they might have done differently, and the true pros and cons of the work they do now. In your day-to-day responsibilities, with your full-time colleagues, always be inquisitive: Ask for advice, and listen.
Recognize what you don’t like, but keep things in perspective
During college we get used to our areas of focus re-shifting every few months as semesters change and those less-enjoyable classes get swapped out for new ones. When you enter the work force it can be intimidating to think about focusing on one area for several years. Because of this, new grads may become ultra-sensitive to the less desirable areas of a particular job.
During your internship it makes sense to identify the areas of your current work that you don’t particularly enjoy, but at the same time it’s important to be thoughtful about the big picture. Even for those of us who truly love coming to work every day, there will always be a few aspects of the job that excite us less than others. At the end of the day, if you’re passionate about the larger goal of the work you’re doing, make sure you don’t let slight undesirables scare you away.
Even if you are less than thrilled about your initial assignment, let your work ethic, determination and intellectual horsepower shine for those around you. You’ll build a strong reputation that will follow you as you pursue other opportunities.
Explore different products and business groups
Most likely, you’ll spend your internship working within one specific division. Get to know everything about that department, and explore your interest within the area you’re assigned. Beyond your assignment, learn more about other groups across the company. Get a broad view, and then dive deeper in an area or two that might really interest you. Understand how different technologies function and evolve. Think about what you’d be passionate about working on with your current company or another employer.
Do really well at the work you’re doing now
One of the most valuable pieces of career advice I’ve ever received is: The easiest way to get to the job you want next is to do exceptionally well at the job you have now. You might think this is a no-brainer, but it’s important to highlight how valuable it is to build the strongest-possible track record for yourself in the work you’re currently doing.
Enjoy the sunshine, and think about the resume you’ll be writing at the end of the summer.
Get ready to tell your internship story by using strong words.
Explain the specific technologies you worked on, and areas where you showed the ability to turn your own great ideas into a tangible result.
Then start looking at New Grad Jobs.