Congratulations! You got an internship.
You will spend your summer gaining necessary skills for your future profession and accumulating amazing stories to tell your friends and professors when you return to Illinois Tech this fall. While I am sure you have already been told the basics of any internship experience (always do your best, say thank you, be on time, etc.), we have a few other tips that you can use to MAXIMIZE the rest of your summer.
People usually spend hours editing their resume during the internship process, but then they don’t update their resume again until their next job or internship search. This should not be the case. Your resume should be treated like a social media profile: you have to update it in the moment so that you can keep track of your memories and the things you are experiencing in real time.
As you gain skills and take part in new opportunities during your internship, keep your resume around so that you can actively update it with the things you are learning. This will save you time when you circle back around to it during your next search.
2. Prioritize Building Your Network
In your internship, you should be creating positive relationships with the people you work with on a daily basis i.e. your supervisors, coworkers, and peer mentors. However, you should also be making connections with people in different departments or even at different companies during your internship experience.
According to Hub Spot, 85% of jobs are filled through networking yet 1 in 4 people don’t network at all. Your internship is a prime place to network for that future job or internship opportunity so don’t waste the opportunity to connect with new people. If you are nervous to step out on your own, ask your supervisor to introduce you to people that could be helpful to know as you expand your network and engage with the field. Also, feel free to make connections online by following influencers in your field on Twitter, reaching out for informational interviews via LinkedIn, or using Bridge to find potential alumni to connect with.
3. Determine How You Will Track Your Progress Early On
**Shout out to Career Development Coach Desmend Jetton (firstname.lastname@example.org) for this tip!**
Towards the beginning of your internship, you will likely have a discussion with your supervisor about their expectations of you. Around this time, you should be making expectations of yourself as well! What do you want to accomplish during your internship? How will you track your success? How will you know when you have achieved or surpassed your goal?
By setting goals for yourself and tracking your progress, you are preparing for the workforce where consistent evaluations don’t happen as frequently as they do in your courses. You are also showing your internship supervisor that you are motivated and goals driven.
4. Find Ways to Actively Reflect Throughout Your Experience
Reflection is a large part of career development. As we navigate our careers, we have to reflect on who we are, what we value, and where we hope to go in the future. Having a formal or informal outlet for reflection throughout your internship will help you with that process.
Some formal ways include: discussing your challenges and achievements in a weekly 1:1 with a supervisor, receiving evaluation and taking note of feedback from coworkers and supervisors or checking in with an assigned mentor once per month about your progress. You could also sign up with the Illinois Tech created internship feedback platform: TruAccolades. This website allows you to request and receive feedback on your progress so far in an internship from supervisors and coworkers. Some informal ways include: writing in a journal that you keep for work or processing through your internship experience with a friend or peer intern.
This active reflection will guide you to make intentional career decisions in the future.
At the end of the day, a good internship experience is always possible with motivation, organization, and a willingness to connect with others. This is a great opportunity to hone your skills and get one step closer to that job after graduation so make sure to make the best of your experience. As always, you can depend on us in Career Services to be here to help you connect with opportunities and process through your experiences.
If you have questions or thoughts about how to maximize your internship experience, drop in to see us at Career Services in Hermann Hall or set up an appointment with us on Handshake. We are open Monday- Friday from 9 to 5 pm and we hold walk in hours every day from 12:30-2:30.