Are you looking for that high quality summer internship, or an internship during the school year to get your foot in the door of your dream career?
Well, then you came to the right place.
If you’ve already snagged an internship – great job! Feel free to skip forward to the part of this article about acing your internship!
And, if you are still looking for an internship, take a deep breath. This article will help streamline that process.
In this article, we will discuss:
- The benefits of internships
- How to prepare for an internship (+ a template to help you do so)
- How to be a good intern (+ a template to help you)
- What to do at the end of internship (+ a template to help you)
What Are the Benefits of Internships?
Summer internships are incredible opportunities to develop a skill set to help you succeed post-college in your chosen career in addition to giving you an edge over your peers during your time off. At the same time, internships during the school year give you a chance to show that you can balance a bunch of competing priorities.
Internships allow you to:
- Gain experience in the field you love (or maybe decide that this is not the industry you want to be in)
- Develop your resume
- Receive valuable constructive criticism from experts
In addition, if you make a great impression during your internship (using the tips and templates we present to you in this article, you might find your future employer.
How to Find an Internship – Template
You shouldn’t expect that an internship will fall onto your lap – you must put time and effort into finding the best summer internship.
Finding an internship can be stressful. There are so many companies, so many positions, and a lot of competition which means that you will have to set yourself apart from everybody else.
To help you prepare for an internship, especially if it is your first one, we have created the following template, finding an internship, to help you do so.
By utilizing this template, you will ensure that you are maintaining a competitive advantage in your summer internship search by prioritizing what you should be focused on and keeping all of the information that is thrown at you organized.
Finding an Internship
You can access this template in Priority Matrix by clicking here
In this template, the first quadrant contains an area to create a simple to-do list of all of the tasks you must focus on when searching for your internship.
We recommend that every task in this quadrant:
- Is assigned a start date (to ensure that the task is actually going to be worked on)
- Is assigned a due date (so you can hold yourself accountable for getting it finished)
- Is assigned a priority level, for example, by numbering tasks in the order they should be completed in according to their importance and how quickly they must be done.
In regards to numbering tasks in the order they must be done, consider the 9-3-1 method based on engineering principles.
- Tasks assigned a 9 are high priority task
- Tasks assigned a 3 are a medium priority task
- Tasks assigned a 1 are a low priority task.
You can use this method to improve your internship even if you are not planning to go into engineering!
Tasks that are put into this quadrant might include:
- Searching yourself on Google (in incognito mode) – this is the time to ensure that the privacy settings on your social media accounts are set and that the things that come up about you are positive
- Updating your LinkedIn profile to reflect the most current events in your professional and academic life – for example: Capstone or other academic projects, volunteering, or student jobs (you can even include challenges that you win on platforms Mindsumo)
- Look up internships on websites such as Linkedin.com, Internships.com, Glassdoor.com, Wayup.com, and Indeed.com
- Talk to your professors, family, family friends, etc. to see if they know of any internships in your prospective industry
In Quadrant two, Networking, you have a place to include all of the individuals you plan on reaching out to as well as their contact information. In this space, include mentors, professors, alumni of your school, the office of career success at your school, and of course family and friends who might have some connections.
In addition, we suggest utilizing LinkedIn and reaching out to somebody who works at the company. You can do this by looking up the company on LinkedIn and clicking on “People Who Work Here.”
Send over a message and tell them that you’re interested in an internship at the company they work for and ask if they have any advice, or even ask if you can get coffee at their convenience (so you can pick their brain a little).
They will love the initiative and, who knows, maybe they will help you secure an interview (and if they do, you can mention what you learned from them in the interview).
Quadrant three, Prospective Companies, contains a space for you to “brain dump” companies you would like to research for internships as well as companies you have researched. In other words, do your homework!
In the notes section for each company, include:
- Research about the company (company’s mission statement, industry, how long they have been in business)
- Internships that the company has available, or contact information of an employee to see if they are offering internships (you can plug in the company’s website to Hunter to find the right person to reach out to)
Quadrant four, Notes and Resources, is a one stop shop to store your letters of recommendation, cover letters, resume, applications, and miscellaneous notes. This way, you have everything is one place.
How to Be a Good Intern – Template
Securing an internship is only half the battle. The next step is impressing the company you are interning for and making some type of impact. Your goal should be for your supervisors to remember who you are years down the road when you graduate college.
So how can you be the most successful intern? Use our how to ace that summer internship template to stay on track.
Click here to access this template
In quadrant one, we have included an intern task list, similar to the to-do list in the finding an internship template. This is a spot for you to include tasks that you must complete for your internship.
For a marketing internship, some intern tasks might include:
- Creating the weekly Tweet schedule
- Looking at today’s industry current events
- Writing an article
Remember, prioritize these tasks in some way, whether you star the tasks that need to be completed first, or number them (think the 9,3,1 method described earlier).
Quadrant two, Networking, contains space for you to import a list of people you have met at the internship and people you would like to meet at the internship, as well as their contact information.
We highly recommend trying to set up a meeting with upper management. For example, if you have a marketing internship and are working under the marketing strategist, ask them if they could connect you with the Chief Marketing Officer for a quick meeting, or even to shadow them for a few hours. You can also take the initiative to reach out to the CMO on your own, via email.
Quadrant three, Goals, is a spot for you to list all of the goals you would like to accomplish before the end of your internship. It is recommended that you create this list the week before your internship and add goals as you go.
We suggest updating the progress of these goals 2-4 times a month so you are holding yourself accountable for achieving these targets. Don’t be afraid to add tasks to your to-do list to help you hit these goals as well.
Quadrant four, Notes and Resources, should include any notes or resources from the internship.
We suggest including:
- Questions that come up (so you remember to ask them!)
- Notes that you take based on what you learn
What to Do at the End of Your Internship – Template
You may have enjoyed your internship, validated that this is the type of career you want, accomplished a lot, proven yourself, and feel excited for what is to come.
Or, maybe you hated it, decided you need to move to a different industry/type of position in your current industry, or simply didn’t receive the type of learning you hoped for.
Whatever the case, you’ve got experience (even if it wasn’t the experience you were looking for), you learned, you completed assignments, and you made connections. So be positive and make the best out of this experience.
So what to you do at the end of an internship? Following this template will help ensure you do not leave any steps out.
View the Post Internship Template in Priority Matrix
Once again, quadrant one is a to-do list because let’s face it, you always have tasks to do.
Some tasks to put on your to-do list post internship would be:
- Send a handwritten thank you note
- Follow-ups with supervisors and other students you met at the internship for every few months (set reminders)
- Asking for reviews and endorsements on LinkedIn
Quadrant two is dedicated to networking yet again because networking is so important (as they say, your network is your NET WORTH).
In quadrant three, Accomplishments, you will include a list of everything you accomplished at your internship.
For example, at a marketing internship, you might include all of the campaigns you worked on, as well as specific milestones, for example writing an article that brought in 1000 visits per month or securing placement of an article in _______ publication.
These are accomplishments that you would put on your resume in the future. If you can’t remember everything you accomplished at your internship, no worries. Just check out the completed tasks in the ace the internship template to help refresh your mind about all of the assignments you completed!
In quadrant four, Notes and Resources, you will include all of the projects, articles, presentations, designs, etc. that you created to reference in the future or use in a portfolio.
Bonus: Conceptualize the Internship Process From Start to Finish
It is likely that you will need to look at the internship experience at a high level many times in the future. Here are some concrete examples of where this will be required:
- Final report to receive college college credit from the internship
- Application for your next internship
- The interview where you fight for the job you really want after college
The internship experience template will help you in all of these areas!
This template asks you to pause and consider the big picture from several different angles throughout the process. If you use this framework to consider the work you will be/have done, you will impress teachers, supervisors and future employers with your ability to see yourself clearly.
Internship Experience Template
You can check out the Internship Experience Template here
In quadrant one, Expected Activities/ Job Responsibilities you will list your function as an intern.
This should not be difficult to do as this should be made very clear by the company looking to hire. If you find throughout your time with the company that the activities and responsibilities change or are expanded, you can also add these as they happen. This will help you prepare for unexpected responsibilities throughout the rest of your career.
In quadrant two, Measurable Objectives, you will list each objective and the specifics of how your success will be measured.
This will help you make sure that you are presenting yourself as the accomplished and productive person that you are and that you are valuable to the company.
In quadrant three, Learning from Successes/ Mistakes, you will do yourself a favor by noting down situations where had a learning experience.
This is a sort of ‘professional journal.’ Making note of the details will ensure that you are learning as much as you can from your experiences.
While detailing mistakes will be way less fun than writing down successes, this will help you reframe them as positive learnings experiences. This will in turn help you learn to bounce back from difficulties at work.
In quadrant four, Post-Internship Evaluation and Advice, you will document all the feedback and advice you will receive at the end of the experience.
This feedback will help you internalize what your strengths are as well as areas for improvement.
In addition, the advice that you receive in these first professional experiences are a gold mine as heeding them now can help you avoid needing to break ingrained habits and thought patterns down the road.
Internships are an essential part of one’s college career and can even be a stepping stone between college and finding a job.
Using these templates will help you secure a great internship, become the best intern, and ensure that you are using the experience to its full potential to help you get ahead.
We are offering free summer access to the prioritization platform, Priority Matrix, so that you can take full advantage of these templates.
To extend your access past our two-week trial period, simply email firstname.lastname@example.org with your student email and LinkedIn.
Best of luck on your summer internship!