4 Ways to Leverage Your Summer Work Experience

By University of Windsor Modified on May 11, 2018

Making the most of your summer job, your internship or a co-op work term.

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Transitioning from the classroom to the boardroom, (or more likely an open concept cubicle) can be somewhat daunting, but the opportunities for personal growth and career development make these next four months of your life pivotal.

  1. 1. Observe – This is it, you are on the inside. Look around. Take note of how the operation works, what the culture is like, pick up on the norms. This will not only make your performance stronger but allow you to reflect along the way as to what you like and don’t like about that industry or type of work.
  2. 2. Show initiative – This is your time to shine. Bring a paper and pen or your laptop to every meeting, eager to take note of action items. Meet or exceed your deadlines. Be brave in sharing your ideas.
  3. 3. Make your own luck – career professionals like to refer to this as ‘Planned Happenstance’. If you don’t know about Krumboltz’s theory, google it. The long and the short of it is get yourself out there and things will happen. If you eat at your desk, you aren’t making connections. If you don’t attend the networking event, you will only meet your direct colleagues. Be smart about leveraging your contacts while there.
  4. 4. Seek mentorship – Your job or work term may only last four months, but your relationship with your supervisor may last your whole career. As busy as supervisors are, they typically love to share the set of learned experiences that got them to where they are. The harder you work, the more likely they are to want to help shape your career.