Your spring semester in Washington, DC is off to a good start – you’ve learned the ropes at your internship and are starting to feel comfortable navigating the Metro and the city streets. But don’t let complacency set in – use this time to take to make the most of your time in Washington and begin planning for the future.
Update your resume: Don’t wait until your internship is over to begin updating your resume. Keep track of responsibilities that you are given and think about how you can best represent them on your resume. Ask your co-workers to review your resume and offer suggestions for improvement.
Get involved with volunteer and networking activities: Now that you are settled in, it is a great time to become more active in the community. Look for opportunities to volunteer at one of the many amazing nonprofit organizations in the District. You should also seek ways to practice your networking skills. Attend receptions and events through your office, and research organizations that interest you to find out what events they have scheduled in the coming month. Networking only gets easier with practice, so bring a friend along to help you work the room.
Schedule informational interviews: Set up meetings with various people in your office to learn more about what they do and how they got to their current positions. Ask your colleagues for other contacts that would be beneficial for you to meet with. You’ll find that professionals will be much more candid than they would be in a traditional interview. You won’t receive an immediate job offer, but the knowledge gained and insight into your career field will be invaluable.
Research summer opportunities: Don’t wait until April to begin thinking about what you are going to do this summer. Decide if you want to remain in DC, return to your hometown or try another major city on for size. And then get to work. Many internships have March deadlines, so do your research now. Ask current and past co-workers for references or suggestions. It will be to your benefit to do the work now – you’ll have more options and won’t miss out on your dream internship because of timing.
Create site-seeing must do list: Yes, you may be tired from putting in long hours at your internship and studying late into the night to keep up with your classes, but you’re in Washington, DC for goodness sake! DC is like no other city in the world in the number of free museums and cultural activities available to visitors. Before the semester gets too far along, make your “must do” list and stick to it. It may seem like May is far away and you have plenty of time, but the end of the semester will be here before you know it.