The Inside Scoop: Tips for Making the Most of Your Summer Internship

The Inside Scoop: Tips for Making the Most of Your Summer Internship

For most college students, nabbing an internship with a top company takes a lot of focus and determination. But the hard work doesn’t stop when you’ve aced the interview and received an internship offer—you also need to make sure you get the most out of your summer experience.

Jody Guastella Jones is all too familiar with what goes into excelling as an intern. As the diversity strategist for Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan’s talent acquisition team and the manager of the strategic summer internship program, she is responsible for intern recruiting, placement and orientation. “Playing a part in a candidate finding their role in our organization is the best part of my job,” she says. “I love meeting students and helping them identify their passion. Giving them that first opportunity and seeing them grow into a young professional is the coolest thing you can imagine.”

Here, Guastella Jones shares tips for getting the most out of your summer internship:

  • Be a sponge! “You need to be comfortable hearing constructive criticism, because there’s so much to learn. It can be hard, but as an intern, it’s essential to listen more than you talk!”
  • Be proactive. Be open to a variety of opportunities and listen for nuggets that interest you. Step up and ask to help with extra projects that can give you more responsibility—be confident in what you have to offer.”
  • Don’t forget the basics. “Get your face out of your phone, take out your ear buds, say hello to people and smile. It may seem like old school advice, but it works.”

If you’re a college student still on the hunt for your summer internship opportunity, Jones Guastella also has some tips on how to score a great spot:

  • Be interested and be interesting. “Students should be keenly aware of what they are good at doing and how to sell themselves during their elevator pitch. Proofread your resume and be able to speak to projects on your resume in a compelling way.”
  • Engage your interviewer. “Know what the company you’re applying to does. After your interview, have thoughtful questions prepared and don’t end the interview with ‘I’m good.’“
  • Be yourself. “It’s vital to represent yourself accurately. Don’t try to be someone you aren’t, because someone is out there looking for what you have to offer. When submitting an application, don’t be dishonest. I’ve had to rescind offers for candidates misrepresenting their GPA. A low GPA can be explained away but lying speaks to a lack of integrity and there is no coming back from that!”
  • Don’t drop the ball. “Send a follow-up note thanking the team for the interview, re-stating your interest and clarifying any questions that came up. Close by reiterating something you heard during the interview that makes you perfect for the job.”

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Photo Credit: TeroVesalainen

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