How to Make the Most Out of Your Internship

Employee Advice | PreviewMe | 10 October 2018


With university exams just around the corner, that means one thing, the end of the university year is winding down. For some students, that brings several months of summer weather and a carefree attitude. For others, this is when summer internships or clerkships kickoff.

Summer internships are a great place to get the real-world experience many employers desire, make meaningful connections that will hopefully help you in the future and provide you with a better understanding of your future career direction.

Regardless of if you are there for a week or several months, internships are a great opportunity so don’t let them go to waste.

 

Don’t be afraid to ask questions

This is your opportunity to be a sponge and soak up as much information as you possibly can. So do not be afraid to ask as many questions as you like. Remember, there is no such thing as a stupid question and don’t feel like you are annoying. Asking questions shows that you are eager to learn and improve. Just make sure you don’t ask the same questions over and over, as that can backfire and you may appear to not be listening.

 

Ask about others pathways

While you are interning, take the time to get to know more about your supervisor and other colleagues pathways into their roles. As an intern, chances are you want to work at that company or in a similar place in the future.

So pick the brains of the people in the places you desire to be. This guidance and knowledge will help turn your internship into a positive step forward along your career journey.

 

Update your resume

Remember your summer internship is probably your first piece of meaningful work experience, so don’t forget to update everything. The best thing to do is to keep a list of everything you have achieved while interning. Try to update this as you go, instead of leaving it to the last minute.

Once the internship is finished, a great idea is to record a video CV to showcase the achievements and experiences you had while interning. Video CVs allow you to discuss or show your achievements in a much better and more entertaining manner than a traditional CV. Plus, they allow you to present your personality and additional skills which you can offer future employers.

 

What did you like vs what you didn’t

One thing we highly recommend for anyone at any stage of their career is to create a list of everything they liked in a role and what they didn’t. This is especially important for summer interns, as the experiences you have here will shape what you want from your future jobs.

For example, maybe you really enjoyed getting out and meeting clients or helping out on the social media marketing teams. If this is the case, chances are you leaning towards the client facing sides of the business, whether that be in sales or marketing.

Having a complete list will allow you to reflect on the experiences you had and then make future career decisions based on that.

 

Seek feedback

The feedback you gather from your supervisors, colleagues and even fellow interns will be hugely beneficial for making the transition into the professional world. As a result, seek feedback out at every turn.

Keep in mind, while formal feedback in the form of reviews are great. Look for the little nuggets of wisdom you receive from the informal, watercooler chats with people. These piece of feedback are invaluable and can provide you quality insight into how you are doing and where you may need to improve.

 

Keep in touch

Potentially, the biggest positive to doing an internship is the connections and relationships you’ll make with fellow colleagues. This is your opportunity to make a positive impression on people, so that at some point in the future you may be able to lean on them for a reference or a job.

So, make a point to swap details with as many people as you can. This can be as formal as a business card or an email, or as informal as a LinkedIn connection or a mobile number.

From there it is simply about keeping that line of communication open. Check in regularly, send an email once every few months to say hello, endorse a quality on LinkedIn, anything that may help you secure your dream job later.

 

Summer internships are an awesome learning experience. Potentially the biggest learnings don’t revolve around the actual work, but instead the interpersonal lessons or understanding around what it is like to work in a professional environment.

If you are looking to apply for an intern or clerkship, check out our openings as we regularly have summer clerkships for some of New Zealand’s largest companies. Conversely, if you would like to post a summer internship opening, don’t hesitate to get in touch.