How to make your summer work experience work for you

You swiped right. Submitted your application. There were emails exchanged, an interview and maybe even a walk around the office. They liked you. They swiped right. A match!

How do you make it more than just a summer fling?

Your summer work experience will be one of the most important relationships of your life. The experience is a relationship because both parties, you and your employer, are equally involved.

I have been fortunate enough to have experienced three summer work experiences, most recently at Dart Enterprises Ltd., which led to full time employment.

Here is what I have learned, and how I think it will help you:

1. Widen your search.

Everyone has a type, but don’t enter the job market with blinders on. Think outside the box of "I want to do this...," and open your search to "I want to work for a Company that does this..."

If you are committed to specialising in a field (Finance, Law) it is important to work somewhere that offers a direct career path – however, you also need to make sure the company is a place you want to have a career!

2. Impress them!

Your work experience is a trial period. You have not passed “GO”, you have not collected $200. You are working to impress your boss, your team and any person who enters your department looking for an answer (even when you don’t know it). Be willing to put in the work. Raise your hand and ask "How can I help?"

Come in every day wanting to learn and wanting to improve. Show your interest.

3. Scrap the small talk.

Whether you are seeking full time employment, an invitation to return to the company next summer or even just a reference for your college application - get to know your team! Tell them about your dreams and ask them about theirs.

Bridge the gap and make it happen.

4. Decide if it is a long-term match.

While you are trying to impress your team, never forget that you also need to decide if you enjoy the work environment! How do you feel waking up in the morning coming to work? You will know when it feels right.

I knew.

One of my favourite memories of my work experience at Dart was presenting research to the Executive team.

I was introducing myself and suddenly everyone was chuckling. I had said, entirely without thinking, “Hi, my name is Alanna. I just graduated law school and I’d really like to work here full time. Please hire me.”

5. Do you both want to make the commitment?

Success! It’s a long term match. You’ve gotten an offer of full time employment, an invitation to return to the company next summer or a glowing recommendation. Be proud - you deserve it.

You didn’t get any of those things? Still be proud of yourself! You just worked your butt off all summer.

The great thing about work experience is that you will always have the experience under your belt, and no one can take that away from you.

When a door closes, a window opens... take it from the girl who finished law school with no thought of ever working in Human Resources.

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