How to rock your summer job

You breathed a sigh of relief when you got an offer for a summer job.

You’ve survived the first week.

In fact, you’ve already added it to your resume. So you can relax, now, right?

Not so fast.

While you enjoy this summer, don’t forget your long-term goal: Getting asked back.

Whether it’s a paid job or an internship, it’s really nice to have the option to return, either during the school year, next summer, or after graduation. Have fun, but remember the end goal every day.  

Here are some things to keep in mind:

Be Visible: Get to know everyone from the partners to the other interns. Attend office functions and parties. Introduce yourself and ask questions when you need clarification about your assignments. Even if you are shy, it will help you if try to meet everyone in the office.

Be Careful: Don’t check your cell phone constantly for texts. Be careful with social media at work. Don’t be the person sending texts to friends during staff meetings. Be focused and professional. Remember, a summer job is in essence a really long-term interview where you are being observed.

Be Proactive: Ask for work if you don’t have anything to do. Sometimes it’s actually hard for employers to figure out what assignments to give their interns. Offer to help. If you have an idea, be brave and let them know about it. It doesn’t hurt to be the intern/summer associate who comes in early and stays late to pitch in – they will surely remember that.

Be Observant: See if this is going to be a good fit for you. Do you feel comfortable with the office culture? Could you see yourself working there long-term? Does the work interest you? Does the firm/company seem to be doing well? Do the long-term staffers seem happy?

While you definitely want to get good references and hopefully an offer to return from your summer employer, make sure that it’s a place that you also want to return to — and you have the whole summer to try it out.


Hillary Mantis consults with lawyers, law students and pre-law students. She is a Director of the Pre-Law Program at Fordham University, and author of Alternative Careers for Lawyers. You can reach Hillary at