Summer jobs don’t have to stay summer jobs
It’s easy to go into an internship with the mentality that it’s just short-term, a summer filler if you will. But it can be so much more than that. It all just depends on how much you’re willing to put into it.
Tips to keep you tickin’
Don’t let the tasks you’re assigned limit the scope of your abilities. Last year I wrote, Internships, interim jobs, and seemingly irrelevant positions: how to spin your current job into your long-term career. In this Inspiring Experts’ blog post I outlined ways to stay on track during any internship or part-time position. Here, I’d like to highlight how, specifically, to stay motivated during the summer months in such roles. It’s no easy feat, but it can be the difference between being a warm body filling a chair and being a company’s next choice for a full-time employee.
1. Provide feedback—and not via Twitter:
Interns can be a company’s best line of defense when trying to identify areas of improvement. Not only can you provide the outside perspective that a project, a process, or a person may need, but your fresh set of eyes very well could be the difference between ingenuity and inefficiency.
But youtern.com warns in its blog, The Savvy Intern, not take to social media to call attention to how bad the company is that you’re interning for, or complain about how bored you are. Instead, outline what you see and provide ideas on how to fix it. By doing so, you’ll demonstrate your level of interest and care in the company while also working on your documentation and presentation skills.
Because the summer is naturally a slower time of year for most companies, your feedback might just be exactly what they’re looking to hear, and at the right time. Make yourself a value-add.
2. It’s cliché, but learn as much as possible
A downside to interning is that you’re subject to how much preparation your boss or mentor has put into your role. The other thing is that sometimes companies will write extravagant, intriguing job descriptions when in reality you’re stuffing letters, filing paperwork, handling invoices that nobody cares for or wants to take care of, and the like.
A positive spin on a slow summertime internship is that it provides ample opportunity to network and learn the ins and outs of the company. Sit with someone from a different department and learn what each person’s responsibility is. The other thing that you can take advantage of is the programs that are preinstalled on your work computer. If there’s a design program that you’ve been interested in playing with but the licenses are expensive, now is your chance to play and teach yourself.
It’s not ideal, but no matter what the circumstances are, there’s always something to be learned—your job is to go out and find it.
3. Practice makes perfect
Another great thing about a summer internship is that it allows you to perfect your skill set and polish your professional mannerisms. Internships represent a short period of time in your overall career. Allow yourself to learn the politics of corporate life, take advantage of large meetings by taking note of what’s acceptable behavior and what’s not, learn from the best and try to imitate the conduct that you’d like to be known for.
It takes years to develop your own professional style. Summertime is a great time to build your personal brand, make connections, and learn new skills. Get out there, and good luck interning this summer!