Summer Internships: Don’t Worry, Be Happy

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Did you land a cool summer internship? Neat. I’ve got good news and bad news. The good news: internships are super important when it comes to getting your first real job out of college. The bad news: getting the internship isn’t the important part; it’s how you perform in that internship that matters.

In college I had an internship at well-known comedy theater. My supervisor’s evaluation said I was a strong worker and contributor, but that I came across as a little too laid back at first. They saw my value in the end, so it’s a fine enough outcome, right? Wrong. That theater saw tons of interns every year. So, while I may have done well enough that I could “pass” the internship for college credit, I did nothing to stand out.

You want a bit more from an internship than a little bit of experience and some filler for your resume. That’s where Sunitha’s article is a nice pep talk for all soon-to-be interns over at the Undercover Recruiter. Notice the title on that article: Make the Most of your Summer Internship: 3 Practices that Help. It’s not “things to do” or “steps to take.” It’s “practices.” I point this out because Sunitha doesn’t necessarily give concrete pieces of advice; instead, she insists on adopting or adapting a certain eager and inquisitive mindset, and provides some thoughtful prompts that might coax this mindset out of you from wherever it’s hiding.

My own reflection and advice: pump yourself up to think this way now rather than the week before the internship starts. The more adept you are in generating an excited, ready-for-anything attitude, the better off you’ll be. Internships are short, and you need to make a good impression right away. I know this because, when I had an internship, I didn’t.

If you consider and adopt a little of what she says, you’ll get one step closer to paid employment; even if the place you’re interning for can’t hire you instantly for a paid position, they can still provide a vital reference or keep you in mind for open positions that cross their threshold or land in their ‘Inbox’ if you leave them with your full potential.

But anyway, I’ve rambled on long enough. So go ahead: read the article, get psyched, and SHOW IT!

Photo by Flickr user Kay Adams, used under a Creative Commons License.

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