East Campus entrance gateway. Photo by Craig Chandler / University Communication.
Summer Internship Hacks: Setting Yourself up for Success

April showers bring May flowers, but they also bring in summer internships and career opportunities! Whether you’re a freshman entering their first internship or a senior about to enter their last, summer internships are a good way to grow professionally, build connections, and prepare for the future.  

These opportunities are a great way to get your foot in the door, but don’t leave empty handed! Check out some of our “summer internship hacks” below to learn how to make the most of your experience. 

🔗 Build Relationships 

This may sound obvious, but making connections and networking at your summer internships can prove invaluable for the next steps in your career journey. Get to know your team well, but don’t just stop there! Meet and introduce yourself to as many people as possible, even people from other departments. Share and connect your LinkedIn profile with the new people you meet, and if the person is comfortable with it, ask them for contact information! Down the line, these people can help you with future job searches and career development opportunities. 

🏆 Set Goals 

Before your internship starts, sit down and ask yourself some questions. What do you hope to gain from this experience? Are there any specific skills you are hoping to learn or grow? What facet of the industry do you want to get a deeper understanding of? Now, take these questions, consider your answers, and set down some concrete goals that you can track during your internship. Have weekly check-ins with yourself to determine what you’ve accomplished and what you still need to work on. You can also share these goals with your supervisors so that they can help you achieve them! 

📝 Learn and Seek Feedback 

An important perspective to learn from in an internship is those working around you! Ask the full-time team you work with about their roles, their experience working at the company, and the career path they went on to get there. Specifically, seek out people in roles that want to pursue! Additionally, don’t be afraid to ask for feedback on your performance and projects. Many times, this will be built into your internship experience, but seeking feedback can show initiative and a willingness to learn.  

🔍 Document Your Work and Reflect on Your Experience  

The work you do during an internship, even if it’s just a simple spreadsheet, is super valuable. It’s something you can look back on and learn from, and it is also something you can have to show off your skills for possible future opportunities. If you made a breakthrough or discovered something new, document that as well. With this work in mind, take some time after your internship ends to reflect on your experience. What did you love? What was most challenging? What new skills did you learn? How does this experience confirm or redirect your future career goals? Don’t forget to look back on the original goals you set for yourself, too.  

🔮 Prepare for Your Future 

Now that your internship is complete, set yourself up for success in the future. Update your resume, Handshake, and LinkedIn profiles with the new job experience, skills you learned, and projects you completed. Looking towards the future, what kind of career experience would help you the most? Would it be another similar internship, or do you want to try something new? Consider what steps you need to take to make the rest of your career goals a reality.  

And that’s it! Taking these extra steps will help you not only gain a lot of insight from your internship, but it will also set up your future career journey for success.  

If you’re still looking for summer opportunities, don’t hesitate to meet with YOUR Career Coach! They’ll have specific knowledge of your industry, the summer experiences available, and how to find them.  

Connect here 👉 careers.unl.edu/connect/ 

By Gage Boardman-Allgood
Gage Boardman-Allgood