How to excel and maintain your search during your internship

many doors opening - use your internship to open as many doors as possible!

Use your internship to open as many doors as possible!

Landing an internship is a big relief! Now with hard work, if you impress your team, your internship might even convert into a job offer that you’ll want to say yes to. This article is about how to excel during your internship so that it can open a door for your first job after graduating. It is also about how to continue your search. You may want to keep your search going, just in case you don’t get a return offer, or so that if you do, you might have more than one choice and even increased power to negotiate.

One note on timing: Companies have vastly different hiring timelines, and unless you are going into consulting or investment banking, summer may be too early to actually apply for most full-time jobs. You do not necessarily need to actively apply for roles during your internship, but you definitely want to think about how your internship can help you as you apply for future roles.

To maximize success during your internship, an article called Balance Careers article called How to Get the Most Out of Your Internship recommends several following steps in detail — all of which will also help as you maintain your long term search.

While you continue your search
take these steps to maximize your internship experience:

Expand your KnowledgeBuild Confidence in Workplace Practices
Broaden Your SkillsGive It Your All
Log What You DoAsk for Feedback
Form Connections & Find a MentorStart Your Career Journey
Source: How to Get the Most Out of Your Internship, Balance Careers, by Madeleine Burry

Completing these tasks will help as you continue your search in the following ways:

  • Your expanded knowledge and skills should be added to your resume and LinkedIn profile.
  • Logging what you do during your internship will help you track your successes, which you will add to your resume, LinkedIn, and share in job interviews.
  • The confidence you gain in workplace practices will help you identify what you want in your workplace, and becomes invaluable during job interviews.
  • The connections you form during an internship can become future job referrals, mentors, and lifelong friends.
  • Feedback can help you grow, and a bonus tip — interviewers often ask for an example of a time when you were given feedback. If you get positive feedback, you can share that. If it’s constructive, treat yourself kindly, and explore if there as an opportunity to improve.
  • By giving it your all, you will learn as much as you can, earn a strong reference from your employer, and hopefully, land an offer!
  • Combined, these steps will all help as you start your career journey.

4 practical ways to
maintain your search during an internship:

  1. Manage Your Time: 12 Tips for Finding a New Job While Still Employed, an Indeed article, shares ideas that can help. As mentioned earlier, you do not need to apply for roles while working full time. But if you are doing so, it will require strategy, and it is a skill you’ll want to build throughout your career. One tip is to make sure that you set aside time outside of your workday for searching. Another is to be ultra-focused in your search, prioritizing opportunities that are aligned with your interests and skills.
  2. Focus Your Energy with the 2-Hour Job Search method. This tool is one you can use throughout your career. It will help you continue networking no matter where you are in the job search. It will ensure you prioritize where you want to apply for future jobs and to identify your advocates. If you already have a LAMP list, use this article to Refresh Your Target List.
  3. Optimize your LinkedIn profile to show that you have landed an internship, and make sure your headline reflects your career focus
  4. Update your Resume and Cover Letter using resources on Duke Career Hub

Meet with a Career Coach if you want help successfully navigating your search! We are here to support you as confident, capable, and resilient students!

By Chloë Benjamin (she/her)
Chloë Benjamin (she/her) Assistant Director, Engineering Master's Career Services and Professional Development