The First Week: 5 Tips for a Successful Summer Internship

Summer internship season is here! I just finished the first week of my internship with Cisco, and I’ve collected great advice from managers and fellow interns to make sure you get off to a great start. Whether you’re a few weeks into your internship or just getting started, keep these tips in mind, and you’ll have an amazing summer.

1. Set Goals
The very first thing you should do is set about three goals using the SMART method. It’s easy to get lost in your work during internships, but setting measurable goals will help you stay on track. Some examples of goals can be getting certifications, mastering a programming language, or completing a certain number of tasks.

2. Find a mentor
Some internships assign mentors, but if your internship doesn’t, you should still try to find one. Mentors can be anyone on your team that you work with or people on other teams in roles you’re interested in. Just shoot them a message introducing yourself and let them know that you’d like to meet with them sometime.

3. Meet with your manager regularly
Schedule 1 on 1s with your manager weekly or biweekly. In these meetings, ask him or her for feedback on how you’re doing and also share how your thoughts as well. This will let you know if you’re on the right track and help you make sure you’re continuously improving.

4. Stay busy
There might be times where your assigned tasks just don’t keep you busy, especially during the first few days of your internship. If you ever find yourself bored or looking for things to do, ask your coworkers if they need any help or if you can shadow them in meetings. They’ll love to see you engaged, and you’ll learn a ton.

5. Ask questions
You don’t have to know everything! The point of the internship is to learn and grow. If you hear something you don’t know, like 100s of acronyms, try looking it up, then ask your coworkers if you can’t find it or want a clearer explanation.

What advice would you offer to interns?


  1. Tarence

    This is a good list. I am a mentor myself at The Home Depot for our internship. One thing I stress to my mentees is to network, network, network. Talk to anyone and everyone. Creating a large quality network of people at your company really comes in handy when you need help with anything.

  2. Michelle

    Thanks for sharing Tarence! It’s definitely important to network with people throughout your company as well, not just your own team!

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