By Frits Bigham
There is no doubt about it – It is Hot! 97 in New York, 106 in Atlanta, 101 in Chicago, the last few weeks of summer have been full of Heat. Miami has been no different but our Heat hasn’t been coming from the skies. It was on the court. Miami is now the proud home of the 2012 NBA Champions - The Miami Heat. Some are saying finally, many are still hating on LeBron, and others could care less about the NBA. Whatever the case may be the Heat was on LeBron James to win a championship.
Besides the Heat on the courts and coming from the skies, there is another area the temperature is rising: in offices throughout the country and the world. The Heat I’m referring to is your summer internships (come on – you had to see that coming at some point – this is a Career Services blog!). Most interns are halfway through their summer internships and this is a critical and crucial time to assess and evaluate your internship experience.
What have you been working on? What projects have you had the opportunity to be a part of? How have you been able to improve on your skills or what skills have you developed? What aspect (s) of your internship are you proud of? What is something you wish you would have the opportunity to work on that you haven’t? Who have you not yet been able to work with or what department (s)? How has this internship affected your personal career development? Do you want to work for this company after graduation? Think about and start answering these questions. It is important that you begin managing your career now because whether you realize it or not The Heat is On.
Now that you have reflected on the first half of your internship, let’s focus on the second half. Here are some tips as you approach this time.
- Step up your networking: You know that person you have been telling yourself to reach out to about their job/career path/story? Well the time has come to reach out and set up a time to get to know them better. Ask them to get coffee or request a meeting. Don’t wait until your last week to build this connection.
- Deliver on your promises: Reflect on what you said you wanted to accomplish at your internship when you first started. Have you been able to meet your own expectations or will you do so by the end of your internship? If not, this is the time to make changes so that you will be able to achieve your goals.
- Exceed expectations: At this point of your internship you are expected to have mastered your everyday tasks and be a productive member of the team. This is the time to turn up the heat and exceed your supervisor’s expectations. Remember, the average intern is not one who is offered the full time position.
- Ask for a new project: If you are finding yourself not being challenged at your internship, ask for more! Many supervisors aren’t aware that their interns need a new project. Also, before you ask for a new project it is always good to brainstorm a few projects that would benefit the company and you would enjoy working on.
- Let the summer heat wave get to you: Rehydrate, Refresh, and Replenish. Don’t begin to settle or just start going through the motions at your internship. Just because your boss might be on vacation for a week or so doesn’t mean this is time for you to have your own vacation. Make sure you have ample work to do and if you feel like you don’t, take the initiative and ask for more! Organizations love initiative and this will help you set yourself apart.
- Forget your career plans: Start thinking about your next career aspiration. For some it will be another internship and for others it will be looking for your first job after graduation. Begin lining up your connections and start having conversations about potential opportunities. Create your LinkedIn profile now!
- Celebrate before it is over: Hopefully there will be some sort of celebration at the end of your internship and you should be grateful for this. However, this should be at the end not the whole last week of your internship. If you do start celebrating early, more than likely your boss will keep you in check (Just ask Mario Chalmers in Game 5 – must see video). Don’t be the Mario Chalmers in your office.
- Fail to thank your supervisor (s), co-workers and office: Write thank you notes or emails to respective parties.
Hopefully you realize that the Heat is On in terms of your summer internship and are able to rise to the occasion and create a positive reputation for yourself! Too many interns don’t realize the plethora of opportunities they had at their disposal until their internships are over. Please don’t be that intern. Time to turn up the Heat because if not I’m sure the intern next to you will. And who doesn’t want to be the MVP?