Starting a Summer Internship? Here’s Advice You Haven’t Heard Before

Starting a Summer Internship? Here’s Advice You Haven’t Heard BeforeShow up on time. Ask smart questions. Have a can-do attitude. All good internship advice that you’ve likely heard before. There’s no question that summer internships can be the gateway to future employment: a new survey from Looksharp confirms that internships increase your chances of early career success. And, since demand for internships is greater than supply, you have to prove you’re among the best and the brightest.

But to really stand out this summer, you need to go more than the extra mile. If you’re looking to parlay that internship into a full-time offer, or even just a solid resume builder, the advice below will separate you from the intern pack. (And if you’re managing an intern this summer, last week I shared advice for you!)

Find What Needs to Be Done and Do It

“Find the work that needs doing and do it. Make yourself indispensable. Do they need help with Snapchat, scheduling tweets, setting up interviews? Do that. Every time someone says, ‘We should do…’  that’s your cue to do more work if it’s within reach. … Try to wiggle your way into a larger project in the first two weeks. This might be something you pitch, or something someone else is working on. If your boss says yes, you’ll probably have to use your own time. Just for now. You can work on work-life balance next year.” —  Read more at Poynter.org.

Show Your Potential

“Here’s what you need to remember: Showing potential doesn’t mean lobbying to get only high-profile assignments and it also doesn’t mean being perfect. Do everything you’re asked to do well (trivial or not), ask questions when you need help, and through it all, show that you’re excited to keep learning and doing more. Over the course of your internship, you want your employer to see that you’re able to keep growing, learning, and taking on new things.” —  Read more at The Muse.com.

Network Horizontally, Not Just Vertically

My advice? It’s a big mistake to only network up, as I shared in this Forbes article. Network horizontally with the people you’re working with, too. That includes fellow interns as well as other junior staffers. —  Read more at Forbes.com.

Add Value for the Company, Which Will Be Valuable for You

“Research the roles and people you work for; this will give you an idea of how you can be of great value and help them. If your boss is a marketing director, come up with marketing strategies that would reach your target demo in college if your company is trying to reach people your age. If you want to be a publicist, attend as many events as you can where you can network with other media publications that could be important to the publicist like red carpets and music conferences. Even if it’s meeting another intern at that company, spend the time to make those connections for future clients.”  —  Read more at Third Floor Network.

Finally, Do This Before You Leave

“Most importantly, make sure you have an opportunity to share feedback. Ask your supervisor what you did well and how you can improve. This summer, my supervisor asked me to think about five things I learned; three things I wish I had done; and two challenges for my exit interview. This is a great framework to use, because it can help you put your entire experience in context, and it might help in your next interview. It’s also valuable for your employer, because your feedback will help them shape future internship experiences.” —  Read more at Huffington Post.

Interns, what are you looking forward to this summer? What are you nervous about? I’d love to hear your take in the comments!

Lindsey Pollak is the leading voice on millennials in the workplace, trusted by global companies, universities, the world’s top media outlets — and, most importantly, by millennials themselves. A New York Times bestselling author, Lindsey began her career as a dorm RA in college and has been mentoring millennials — and explaining them to other generations — ever since. Her keynote speeches have audiences so engaged that, in the words of one attendee, “I didn’t check my phone once!” Contact Lindsey to discuss a speaking engagement for your organization.