5 Essential Tips for Summer Internship Success

June 24th, 2016

by Felicia Rowley


It’s that time of year when internships are in full swing for many students like myself. A lot of hard work and determination has occurred up to this point. You’ve probably gotten a year or two of college under your belt and have become passionate about your career and major choice. This is exactly where your internship comes in! But as many of us know, internships don’t always play out the way you may expect. Good news is, there are ways around the “intern stereotype”.  As a seasoned intern coming into my senior year of college, I have come up with several tips to better your internship experience whether it’s the first, second, or even third!

1.Talk with Your Boss Regularly

Although it can be intimidating, talking to your boss can only lead to a better experience for you and your upper management. They hold years of experience and knowledge that you have yet to attain. Ask them questions because, most likely, they will be more than willing to give you the advice you need to succeed both in your internship and future career. It is often a good idea to set up one-on-one time with your boss to discuss any questions, current projects, past projects, or even goals for your internship.

2. Have Goals

Before starting your internship or even after the first week, write up a list of goals you wish to accomplish over the duration of your internship. This will help you to stay on track, accomplish what you came to do, and to establish a plan. In order to make the most of YOUR experience, having this plan or a set of goals are good ideas, especially if you are just interning for the summer and do not have a lot of time with the company. Internships can only be what YOU make of them!


3. Be Optimistic

Being optimistic is something I cannot stress enough. Before even starting your internship, you may have some perceived notions about what your experience will be like. Let me tell you, your experience will be nothing like what you think it will be. You will be given assignments in which you will know nothing about, you will make several mistakes, and you will be challenged more times than you will expect. So go in with an open mind and know that your internship will be a learning experience.

4. Make Connections and Network

The opportunity to intern with a company is more than just learning and gaining valuable information; it’s the chance to network with other employees in the company. Offering to take someone out for coffee or even lunch can go a long way. It doesn’t matter if it’s another intern or someone who’s been with the company for several years; creating those relationships with others can only further your internship experience. You never know how those relationships will affect your professional life down the road.

5. Ask for Feedback

This is often the most daunting task an intern may tackle throughout their internship. For many of us, including myself, it’s hard to ask your boss, “what can I do better for next time” or “is there anything I can improve on”. Those one-on-one meetings with your boss are simply the perfect time to ask about performance. If you’re not exceeding your boss’s expectations, or potentially even your own, this is a great time to re-evaluate your goals. Although constructive criticism is hard to take, it will eventually help you in the long run when it comes to your professional and personal growth.

If you’re looking to put an internship on your resume, consider joining AMA of West Michigan or another professional organization to grow your network. It’s a great way to learn, be involved, and make your resume stand out and rise above the stacks! You might even get that internship you’ve always wanted…