13 June 2024

What to Expect During Your Summer Internship

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Sun’s out (well, kinda…) meaning you’re either waiting to start or are already a few weeks deep into your summer internship.

Good on you for snapping up some cheeky work experience before the next academic year. It’ll go a long way in getting you prepped for a placement or graduate role and look great on your CV.

You’ve probably thought a bit about what your internship might be like, especially if it’s your first outing in the working world. No problem, that’s where we come in.

Here’s what to expect from a summer internship.

Expect to be given responsibilities from day one

Usually, when people think of interns, they think of a very rushed and sweaty teen running around a city looking for two manuscripts of an unreleased book.

Whether your summer internship lasts one month or 12 weeks, you will get involved with various projects. This can either be one big project or a series of smaller ones. It’s very likely your name would’ve been put forward for projects before your start date.

“Most weeks I was mentoring one or several work experience students aged 16-18, giving them support in the tasks, Revit tutorials and watching their presentations. I calculated some beams and columns and was implementing them into the Revit model which I was working on most days to make it up to date and align with the architect’s model.”

Summer Student, Atkins

You’ll work on tasks that can range from small tasks to larger ones that’ll have a real impact on the business. Whether that’s scheduling appointments for the team you work on, shadowing a senior in a large meeting or sifting through and pinpointing data, you’ll have lots to do during your internship.

Expect to be proactive

Just because you find yourself twiddling your thumbs, doesn’t mean you should.

While there’s nothing wrong with a little bit of downtime, if you ever have a spare minute why not ask to help out? Employers adore interns who put themselves out there and actively look for tasks to get on with.

Speak to your manager and ask if there’s anything that needs doing or if there’s another department you could shadow for the day. It’s your internship, so you should do all you can to get the best out of it.

“I was really busy during my first rotation, did a lot of interesting work that also helped me a lot for my knowledge on the products and more administrative work at the second desk. This was less helpful for my skill set, but left some time to learn more about the products.”

Summer Analyst, Nomura

Expect lots of summer fun

It’s summer! Meaning there is much frolicking to be done. From BBQs to socials, the sunny season is a really good time to join a company.

Workplace summer parties are great because they give you a first-hand insight into the company culture. Plus, it’s a way to get to know your colleagues without the slightly awkward office chat.

Whether it’s a boat party, an afternoon at an escape room, or a very well-stocked picnic. Whatever the mode of celebration. GO! ATTEND! TAKE PART!

We love a summer social at RateMyPlacement, have a look at last year’s festivities at one of London’s many rooftop bars. The views were top-tier.

Expect regular check-ins with your manager

What’s any job without a good old one-to-one? These check-in meetings are SO important. They can last anywhere between 30 minutes to an hour.

Think of your one-to-one as your opportunity to bring up everything and anything with your manager. They can be as formal or informal as you both prefer, but ultimately they will be used to track progress during your summer internship.

During your catch-up meetings, you’ll do some or all of the following;

  • Get feedback. This is a great way to get direct feedback on your work. Your manager will talk you through feedback and help you find ways to improve.
  • Goal setting. Time is fleeting on a summer internship. So your manager will be on hand to help you meet any targets or personal goals while you’re there.
  • Weekly actions. You’ll go through all the tasks you have for the week while going through last week’s tasks. This is to make sure you’re on task and if not, to help you prioritise.
  • Your general well-being. These catch-ups aren’t all work. It’s also time to talk about yourself and how you’re doing, at work and outside.
  • Team updates. While these likely happen during team or whole company meetings, you might get the heads up from your manager first.

Expect not to be offered a full-time job at the end

Summer internships are temporary. Meaning there’s no real promise of a full-time offer once your internship ends.

Sad as that may be, don’t look at it as a negative. During your internships, you will gain a wealth of knowledge and work experience that’s going to do you a lot of good when it comes to finding your dream job.

That’s not to say that your employer won’t forget you. Oftentimes, businesses will look at previous interns and placement students when it comes to hiring for graduate roles. So if you’ve made an impression, keep an eye on the phone.

There are some instances where you can be offered a full-time position. This is especially the case if you’re already out of university. Many employers use internships as a way to scope out and develop talent essentially making them role-ready.

No matter what, work hard and make the most of your summer internship. Want to know how?

Read How to make the most of your Summer Internship

A summer internship is a fantastic way of adding work experience notches to your CV. No matter what the role. Always put your best foot forward and be open to whatever happens during your internship. You never know where you’ll go.

Yet to find an internship? We have roles live right now for you to get stuck into. Apply now.

Good luck, and enjoy it.