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5 Ways to Make the Most Out of Your Summer Internship

Many WashU students are heading off to summer internships. While landing a summer opportunity is an accomplishment in itself, it is just the beginning. Make sure your student does his or her homework and is prepared for the internship start-day by following these 5 tips:

1. Act Professionally.

It’s very important to represent yourself professionally during your summer internship. This means wearing appropriate office attire. Make sure you know what the dress code of the office is and follow it. You may be used to running to class in sweatpants but it’s important to dress professionally. This also means being on time to the office every day and making sure you go to meetings on time. There is no ten-minute rule at an office internship.

2. Make Friends.

Now is the time to build your network of references, contacts, and people who may one day help you get to where you want to go. Reach out to co-workers and managers to get lunch. Ask them about their careers and listen to their answers. Internships are one of the best ways to find out if an industry or company is right for you. The connections you make will help you find jobs later. This can include fun things, too. Join the company summer soft-ball league or any other social events they might offer in order to get to know your fellow workers outside of the office. Just remember to still act responsibly; your impressions can go a long way.

3. Update your social media.

Let me start off by saying you should never be doing this during your internship hours. Be sure to update your LinkedIn account and connect with your managers and employers. This will show them that you have started to create a professional network and are proud to be working for their company. It will also help ready yourself for your next opportunity. Don’t forget to clean up your social media accounts as well. View this video for some quick tips on making sure your online presence reflects well upon you.

4. Go above and beyond.

Contribute to your office in any way you can. Your managers and co-workers will take notice of your hard work. Do not be afraid to do more than what is asked of you—this will often create new opportunities.

5. Take notes.

Write something down every day. Keep a record of the projects you did and how they contributed to the company. This will help you update your resume at the end of your summer, and allow you to write a personalized thank-you note at the end of your internship. It will also help you to reflect and decide if the work you did this summer is something you would like to pursue in your career.


Best of luck to all our students this summer! If you haven’t already reported your summer plans, we’d love to hear what you’re doing! Report your plans at careercenter.wustl.edu/plans. We’re also here for you all summer long, so feel free to give us a call with any questions, concerns, or needed advice: (314) 935-5930.