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How to Prepare for Summer Internships

Congratulations! After polishing your resume, constructing the perfect cover letter, and acing several rounds of interviews, you finally received that offer letter you’ve been waiting for. But now what? Don’t kick back just yet and wait for summer. There’s work to be done, so you can arrive on the first day of your internship stress-free and confident.

Review your Offer Letter

First of all, take a hard look at your offer letter. Pay close attention to the start and end dates as well as the timings. Also, figure out if you get paid vacation time and how much your employer will provide so that you can plan out your summer vacation. Then, take a look at the salary and benefits. Employers will often provide housing stipends or affordable company funded housing for the summer. That can help if you have to relocate for the duration of your internship and is an important part of deciding whether to accept an offer or not. Some companies will also ask you to sign non-disclosure agreements or pass background/security checks. So, pay attention if those travel your way. If you have any questions about your offer letter, don’t hesitate to ask your hiring manager or the Virginia Tech Career and Professional Development Office. They have skilled professionals to help you navigate the process, and ease the transition.

Connect with Other Interns

After you decide that your terms of employment are adequately met, try to connect with other interns at your location. Depending on the nature of your work, you may be a single intern or part of a large intern cohort. It can be nice to connect with them on LinkedIn or other social media platforms to talk before you start. You can even possibly find housing with them and rent an apartment or AirBnb together. It also expands your network and allows you to make connections for your future career search. Sharing your worries and exciting memories with others will strengthen the intern community.

Brush Up on Technical Skills

Lastly, try to brush up on any technical skills you’ll need for the internship. Take a look at the job description and make sure you’re well-equipped to handle it. For example, if your job requires advanced Excel skills, take a LinkedIn skill assessment to brush up and test your knowledge. Pamplin and CWIB also host many workshops related to professional development and other skills that you’ll need to succeed. Also, research more about the industry and company you will be interning with. Your manager is likely to be impressed with how much you already know about the subject matter, and give you more productive work.

The most important thing to do though is relax and get excited for summer. You’ve worked hard for this opportunity, and are sure to succeed with a little bit of preparation. Your mentors and managers are here to help, so make sure to take advantage of all the resources provided to you. Lastly, do not forget your “always willing to learn” attitude!

By Mirula Prasad

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