Published: June 12, 2019 By

Your summer internship will be full of new experiences. You’ll be meeting new people, working on new projects and getting a feel for the industry. It's common to feel overwhelmed, but it’s important to learn as much as you can.

Internships can be crucial in developing your skills, understanding the world of work and securing a full-time position in the future. They allow you to “test drive” career opportunities to help find the perfect fit. Here’s how to make the most of your experience and impress your employer.

colleagues in a meetingGet to know your co-workers

Take time to connect with other interns and staff. Ask them questions about their career path, what they enjoy about their role and if they have any advice for you. Look to establish rapport with someone you admire in the organization. Having a professional mentor can make big impact on your career.

Be a go-getter

Taking initiative is a skill that many employers desire in future job candidates. Demonstrate that you’re willing to go above and beyond. This includes:

  • Completing tasks before deadlines
  • Volunteering to take on extra work
  • Seeking answers before asking your manager
  • Proposing a project idea to your supervisor

Focus on how you can excel at tasks that are within your abilities.

Ask for feedback

Check in with your manager throughout your internship to assess your progress. Ask questions such as, “What can I be doing better?” or “Is there anything else I should be doing?” Listen to their feedback and look for ways to improve.

You might make mistakes and that’s OK. In fact, it’s almost always expected when you start a new job. Owning your mistakes and talking through possible solutions can help you develop as a professional.

Keep in touch

Stay connected with those you meet during your internship by connecting with them on LinkedIn. They likely will be willing to refer you to future job opportunities.

Before your last day, write a handwritten thank you note to those who made an impact on your internship experience. Gestures like this can make a lasting impression on the employer. It shows you valued your time at their company and everything you learned.

Reflect on your experience

Take some time at the end of your internship for reflection. Did you like your job? The work environment? Did it provide direction for your future or eliminate a career path you thought you were interested in? Keep track of the projects you worked on and reflect on them, as well. Make note of what you learned and how it might influence your future.

More than 59% of interns end up receiving a job offer afterward. Taking these extra steps, as well as demonstrating your professionalism and willingness to learn, can impact your future at any organization.