1. Get to know as many people as possible (especially your manager).

Gaining work experience is the obvious benefit of having an internship. However, the networking potential is invaluable, especially for a student who’s looking to find a full-time job after school. Don’t just sneak over to your desk, put your head down, do your work, and then leave at the end of your shift. Instead, make an effort to get to know the people around you, especially your manager, both on a professional and personal level.

Take some time to understand their jobs, why they love what they do, and what they enjoy doing outside of work. Relationship building is essential when it comes to finding a job. If you’re great at your job and have strong personal connections with people in the organization, you’ll increase your chances of getting recommendations, introductions, and even a full-time gig at the company.

2. Attend company events.

Whether it’s a conference or the office holiday party, if you’re invited to attend a company event, do it! These are great events to bond with your co-workers so you can build those strong relationships with your team. Plus, they’re fun!

3. Don't just do your job.

Exceed expectations! Once you get a handle on your core internship opportunities, figure out where you can add additional value. Can a process be improved? Is there a project you can volunteer to take the lead on? Do you have an idea for an initiative that would help the company? Be proactive and chat with your manager to figure out how you can make the most out of your internship.

4. Swap recommendations on LinkedIn.

When you’re considering whether or not you should buy an expensive item, you probably look up reviews of the product online. Employers and recruiters do the same thing! That’s why you want to beef up your Recommendations section on LinkedIn.

After you’ve gotten to know the people you work with at your internship, write up LinkedIn recommendations for the people you work most closely with every day. They will appreciate the gesture, and will likely return the favor. This will give you third-party credibility to show off on your LinkedIn profile. 

5. Ask for permission to list your manager as a reference.

Before you leave your internship, ask your manager (and maybe even some close co-workers) if you can list him or her as a reference when you apply for other jobs. If you’ve built a good relationship with this person, chances are good he or she will be happy to help you out (unless there are company policies in place that don’t allow it). It’s always worth asking!

Focusing on these areas will allow you to truly get the most out of an internship. For more help navigating internships, book an appointment with Longwood University Career Services.

About the Author

Ariella Coombs

Over the last 4 years, Ariella has been creating fun, yet educational blog posts and videos to help professionals build the career lifestyle they want. Her work has been featured in 12+ online publications, including TeenVogue, Business Insider, H&R Block, USA TODAY College, and more. One day, she hopes to host my own TV or web show for career-minded millennials.

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