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How to Get the Most Out of Your Internship

For many of Yale’s busy students, the process of finding a summer internship can prove time-consuming and daunting, often filling an already taxing schedule with what seems like an entire additional class. But luckily, come springtime, most students are able to find an internship that matches their interests, or at least provides some learning experience. Beyond the surface level of the job description, there are many ways in which a summer internship is valuable and can prove vital to not only your professional working knowledge, but can help to expand your horizons is unexpected ways. Follow HerCampus Yale’s recommendations to make the most of your summer internship this season.

At the Job:

  • Take on additional roles outside your job description: this can allow you to gain experience that you can put on your resume that makes your employment history relevant to other opportunities that you may want to pursue. For example, if you are hired for a communications role, see if you can organize your information into a spreadsheet using Excel software. This way, you can not only improve your communication skills but also enhance your qualitative and organizational abilities as well.
  • Ask questions: meet with the boss of your company, be it big or small. Ask them about how they got to their current position. Inquire about their keys to success and ask how you can improve to help the company’s overall goals. If the opportunity seems appropriate, try to get to know them on a more personal level too.
  • Meet people: expand your network as much as you can. Meet people and establish solid relationships not just with those specific people you work with everyday. You never know when you’ll need to collaborate with an outside source.

 

In the City:

  • Explore your environment: take public transportation (or walk!) to all areas of the city, town or wherever you find yourself. Meet as many people as you can. In big cities such as New York, Chicago, DC, and LA, chances are that there are other Yalies present with whom you can reach out to. Moreover, those cities are packed with university students from all over the country, and chances are that you have a connection with a group in some way or another. Living in the city, you will soon discover just how small of a world it is.
  • Venture Out: It is easy to develop a routine of get up, go to work, make dinner, sleep and repeat. Mix it up a little. Take a new route to work (having researched the path beforehand obviously), and eat out at a new restaurant with friends. Sure it might be easier to just order in, but you may end up finding a new favorite spot- or at least having an experience that makes for a good story.

 

At the end:

  • Maintain relationships: As previously mentioned, your network is crucial to both your business and professional life. Don’t burn bridges. Instead, work on keeping in touch with all of the people you’ve met over the summer. Contacts are great and friends are even better.  Plus, no one likes to hear from you only when you need a favor.
  • Say your thank-yous: if many people at your office helped you get to where you are (which they most likely did), let them know how much you appreciated their help and mentorship. Take them out to lunch on one of your last days, bake them cookies or simply write a thoughtful note- something to show that you are grateful for their guidance.
  • Write down a list of your job responsibilities and accomplishments: This is probably my most important piece of advice. Because I wrote down everything I was required to do at the office, all of my contacts and all of my accomplishments, I was able to adjust my resume according to the job I applied to the following year. Keep this list handy. The act of writing this list may even trigger ideas about your job that you hadn’t even realized were opportunities for growth.

Good luck to everyone with their summer internships and again, truly make the most of it because college is the time to do so. You’re young and in flux, so keep exploring.

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