Since you decided to do a summer internship over the last 2 months instead of vacationing at the beach, I’ll assume you’re hoping it will help you get a job one day. The good news is that relevant internships and summer work experience will help you get a job.
It’ll help you create a great resume, shine in interviews, and in some way or another, it will help you get your foot in the door. When I was screening hundreds of candidates for entry level jobs, summer experience and the skills gained as an intern were big differentiators.
Here are a few things you can do to take the last 2 months of hard work, and leverage it to achieve your career goals. Feel free to use the free printable I made in google docs as a supplement to this post.
KNOW HOW TO EXPLAIN WHAT YOU’VE DONE + MAKE IT IMPRESSIVE
As your summer is coming to an end, I’d encourage you to make a master list of all of the different tasks you’ve done. Over time, it will be harder to remember the little things and you never know when they may come in handy.
Then take that list of tasks, pick a few that are resume-worthy, and figure out how to make them sound impressive. I like using this very simple example of something I asked one of my former interns to do over the summer. One of her responsibilities was to fill candy jars and lay out materials before 15 training sessions. While “Filling candy jars” is not a task that sounds super important, once you put it into the broader context, it sounds much better:
Supported training sessions on company culture for over 100 employees by ensuring room and all materials were set up and properly organized
If you’re ever trying to make a summer task sound more elevated, use these simple rules:
Put it in the broader context (why did it matter), add details (metrics, tangible results), and never dumb it down (if you were asked to do it, it was important in some way to the business).
UPDATE YOUR RESUME + LINKEDIN
Once you’ve gathered your thoughts on the main things you accomplished this summer and figured out how to make it sound impressive, update your resume and LinkedIn with this information.
As this summer will have been one of your more recent experiences on your resume, you can give it some valuable real estate at the top and add 4-6 bullets describing what you’ve done.
On your LinkedIn, add your company and title (generally “[Department] Intern”) but also add a quick summary of the experience you had. It doesn’t have to be your resume bullets verbatim but instead something more brief that hits the main points.
For an example, a Special Events Intern might use a summary such as:
Supported marketing and events team by working on over 10 branded events with over 500 attendees. Organized guest lists, set up venues, worked with vendors, and ensured everything ran smoothly during events.
MAKE A PLAN TO LEVERAGE YOUR CONNECTIONS
The people you worked with this summer are now part of your professional network (add them on LinkedIn today!) When you start your job search, they may be able to help you in a number of ways.
One is serving as a reference. You will likely need 2-3 references when going through your first full time job search. A summer manager is a perfect person to use.
Another very impactful way they can help is with referrals. I can’t say enough about the importance of a good referral. Even if the company you worked for over the summer doesn’t have openings, I bet the people you worked with would be willing to help you out by passing your name and an endorsement along to one of their connections.
The main point I want to make is that you just spent a summer working really hard, and it shouldn’t just be something you’ve done that lives in the past. Do everything you can to keep putting that summer internship to work for you until it helps you accomplish your career goals.