Somehow I blinked and it was August, which means we’re in the home stretch of summer. If you’re one of the many who chose to spend your summer interning, your time grabbing coffee, running errands, and (let’s hope) doing meaningful work and gaining great experience is also coming to an end.
I’ve spent a good chunk of time in my career hiring entry-level candidates into very competitive jobs, and so I know for a fact that summer internships can be a huge competitive advantage. Candidates who’ve interned have a good idea of what it takes to work in a professional setting, have built valuable skills, and have the ability to more easily “hit the ground running” in a full time job.
While not all internships are created equal (maybe grabbing that 100th cup of coffee didn’t teach you a thing!) it’s up to you to make the most out of the experience you had. Here are three things you can do now to ensure you make the most of your summer experience.
1. Update your resume and LinkedIn.
Start by making a “master list” of your tasks and accomplishments from this summer. Keep them saved in a document because even though some things may not make it to your standard resume, it’s very possible they will be relevant to a job you apply for down the road.
When you add the main areas of responsibility from the summer to your resume, make each bullet impressive, specific, and results-oriented. Something as simple as “Took notes during weekly meetings” could be rephrased as “Responsible for note taking and managing action items for weekly team meetings to keep over 15 members organized and well-informed.” Never lie, but don’t underestimate the importance of the things you’ve done.
When you add your summer internship experience to your LinkedIn profile, consider adding a brief description of your summer duties as a supplement to listing your title and the company name. Recruiters look to LinkedIn to hire proactively (even for entry level roles) and a little detail can go a long way.
2. Say thanks.
The people you’ve worked with over the summer put a lot of time and energy into making your experience a good one. From those who recruited you, to those who ran events and programs, to your direct manager… don’t forget to say thank you. Gratitude goes a long way.
Whether it’s a handwritten note, an email, a small treat, or an in person conversation, make sure you do say your goodbyes and thank those who supported you.
3. Stay in touch.
The relationships you formed this summer shouldn’t end there. Whether it’s your fellow interns, your manager, or other people you worked on projects with, you never know who will be able to help you down the road (and who you may be able to help!).
Figure out a strategy to stay in touch and reach out every few months to keep the relationships strong (I recommend setting calendar invites now). If you know your team has work throughout the year that you might be able to help out with remotely or when you’re on a school break, don’t hesitate to offer. You don’t want the first time you get back in touch to be when you’re asking a favor (and trust me, you will eventually want to ask for a recommendation, an introduction, or even for a job).
I’d recommend using LinkedIn to organize your newfound professional contacts, so you can easily stay up to date on what people are doing and be in the loop if they move positions or companies.
Remember that whether you had a great or not so great experience this summer, you can use it to your advantage by being able to share what you’ve done, maintaining strong relationships, and growing your professional network. Good luck!
This post was written by Jaime Petkanics, Founder & Job Search Consultant at The Prepary. Jaime spent 7 years in the Recruiting & Human Resources world prior to starting The Prepary and works with clients to support them in their job searches & careers. To find out more about working with Jaime, click here.