Did your summer internship help you accomplish your goals? Have you learned any new skills since the start of your internship? What types of tasks did you enjoy or what did you excel at? These are important questions to consider throughout your internship, but especially as your internship comes to an end.
It’s that point in August when internships are wrapping up, and it’s time to start reflecting on everything you have learned and accomplished. Your new skillset from your internship that you will bring back to school will not only help you become a better student, but will also help you become a better professional. These new skills will help you excel in future academic projects and can be added to your resume and LinkedIn.
Today’s blog will provide you with insight from my first-hand experience from my internship at BCC Research and will give college students helpful tips that they can implement into their own internships or future careers.
My Daily Routine
At BCC Research, I assist with the marketing, sales, editorial and events teams by engaging with executives in higher education and corporations through CRM Software (customer relationship management technology), lead nurturing and email marketing.
My favorite parts are writing weekly blogs and organizing webinar events. I am also completing a special intern project where I am writing a report called “Sustainability Sense or Cents: How do Companies Incorporate Sustainability Decisions in their Businesses?”
8:30-9:15: Arrive at 8:30 in Boston. I check my email right away to follow up on what I missed yesterday.
9:15-9:30: Ask my supervisor shortly after I arrive if there is any work that I can help with for the day.
9:30-10: Take initiative by helping think of ideas for new projects. Since I write a lot of blogs, I would help my supervisor think of blog ideas during my free time. Tip: Take a look at your company’s website for past projects to see what interests you or what you want to learn more about.
10-2:30: Finish other work if nothing new has been assigned.
12-12:30: Lunch break―eat by the Charles River.
2:30-2:50: Update my resume, LinkedIn or cover letter if I finished all my work.
2:50-3: Make a to-do list for the next day―this helps me be more productive and organized.
During my internship, I have grown a lot by developing stronger professional and leadership skills. This includes verbal and written skills, teamwork, problem solving, organization, learning how to take criticism and resourcefulness.
I have been able to practice using CRM software such as HubSpot and Salesforce to contact clients ―which helps enhance my communication skills.
I am writing a market research report of my choosing. To do that, I have had phone calls with analysts, weekly meetings with the editorial team and have done copious amounts of research.
This report is good practice for writing my theses next year because I am better at narrowing down a complex topic, finding credible resources and organizing and structuring a large quantity of information. I am even hosting a webinar on WebEx with analysts from Hewlett Packard to present my report.
Leadership and taking Initiative
Finally, I have learned to become a leader and take initiative with my assignments. As stated above, your supervisor is usually busy and may not always remember to assign you work for the day. It’s important to advocate for yourself by asking your coworkers to see if they need help.
If your supervisors seem busy, send them an email letting them know you are available to assist if needed. This will demonstrate that you are hardworking, motivated and determined.
Improvements for Future
I believe that I made the most out of my internship this summer, but there a few things that I wish I did differently or that I did not get to complete. Below are some tips on what to think about for your next position.
Reach out to your Coworkers
Take the time to ask your coworkers and supervisors about their career path and how they ended up at your company. I wish I took advantage of this to not only improve my network, but they likely have good career advice.
One of my biggest weaknesses has always been public speaking― I wish that I took the opportunity to challenge myself by calling more clients.
Check for Mistakes
Even if a project is time sensitive, it’s crucial to leave room to double-check your work― your supervisor would much rather have your work be submitted a little late rather than with careless mistakes. There were multiple times where I made a few mistakes that could have been avoided.
Ask for Feedback
Constructive criticism is important― you can make your time at your internship more useful by finding ways to improve and make your work better. I wish that I asked my supervisor what I could do differently more often. This demonstrates that you care about your work and you are persistent.
Stay in Contact
It’s important to stay connected with your coworkers and supervisors after your internship―I’m already connected with most of my coworkers in the office on LinkedIn so they can see my career updates and academic success.
Create a Portfolio
Save all your important files or projects to add to your resume or show to a future employer. Ask for copies of work—or if your work is online, make sure that you always have access to it.
Asking for a Reference
If you plan on asking for one, give your supervisor a considerate amount of notice so they can write a thorough reference. I already asked my supervisor to write me a general recommendation that I can attach to my resume when I apply to another position.
If you really enjoyed your time at your summer internship and you want to work there in the future, talk to your supervisor a week or so before your internship ends to discuss where you stand and if there are any opportunities for you next year.
Questions for Reflection About your Internship
I am very grateful that I had the opportunity to intern at BCC Research this summer. As you approach the last few weeks of your internship, here are a few questions that you should take the time answer to truly reflect on how you grew and what you accomplished—integrate what you learned to become a better student and professional.
- What are (at least) three new skills you have learned at your internship?
- How did you challenge yourself? Was there a specific task that put you outside of your comfort zone?
- How have you professionally developed since the beginning of your internship?
- Is there anything that you wish you did differently? Was there a specific time when you wish you dealt with a problem with a different approach?