Career Strategy Fellowships Study Abroad Summer Session CAREER LINK

Reviewing Your Summer Experience

You are here

As you return to campus and update your resume, attend employer events, and apply to jobs or internships, it is important to reflect on your summer experience. Effectively communicating the skills and proficiencies you gained is key in your next job or internship search. The exercises below serve as a guide for you to feel prepared in your ability to talk about your past summer experience in a professional environment whether through networking, interviewing, or within application materials.

Self-reflection

The prompts below are an excellent place to start. Jot down notes, say your answers out loud, or talk with a peer:

  • Share an example of how you set priorities to achieve a desired outcome in your internship experience.
  • How did your internship enhance your knowledge, skills, and understanding of your intended career field?
  • Share an example of a situation that helped enhance your understanding of leadership and teamwork.
  • Share an example of how your experience has improved your skills communicating with others.  How might this make you a better professional?
  • How did you adjust/adapt to new professional environments? If your internship was abroad, to a new culture?
  • Share an experience in which you had to resolve a conflict or solve a problem.  What skills and personal qualities did you tap into? How did this experience help you grow as a person?
  • What is the most significant thing you learned about yourself through your internship experience? Why?

These topics may arise when speaking with a recruiter, peer, or alum in a networking environment; it's helpful to articulate your skills, knowledge, and interests gained from past experiences.  They may also arise as interview questions.

Tip: A quick outline to assist in framing your most recent (or any!) experience is by succinctly reviewing a) why you chose the internship/study abroad program/research, b) a story that illustrates one specific hard or soft skill, and c) how that experience or skill is transferable to the organization/job/internship you are currently applying to.

Interview Preparation

Be prepared to talk about your summer experience in an interview by identifying what your responsibilities/tasks were, your accomplishments, and what you learned. Practice describing each and consider the approach or methods you used to achieve them. It is also helpful to identify specific hard and soft skills and how you learned or enhanced them.  For soft skills, consider incresead confidenct, initiative, and independence, resource management, problem solving, communication and organizational skills. For hard skills, determine any programs you used, new Ecxel functions, coding languages, etc.

Then, practice! Start by reviewing behavioral interview questions, record a mock interview in your Yale Career Link account (under the "Resources" tab on the left, then "Mock Interviews"), and make an appointment to practice with an adviser.

Write About the Experience

Remember to update your resume with your most recent experience. You will also be asked to submit a cover letter for future job or internship applications.  If you are addressing your summer experience in your cover letter, articulate how this experience relates to the field, organization, or job opportunity, and any transferrable skills. Additionally, if you participated in a study abroad program or international internship or fellowship, if may be helpful to consider how the international experience uniquely benefits a professional in that field.

Branding and Networking

A personal brand is how people market themselves and their careers; it establishes your professional image.  Take a few minutes to complete the following prompts as though you are speaking with an employer or alumni in a field or organization of interest:

  • Name relevant companies, volunteerism, and recognitions or awards that distinguish you
  • Name relevant projects and work experiences and their results
  • "I really enjoy working in..." (industries, team characteristics, etc.)
  • "I have focused on..." (skills, capabilities, strengths, etc.)
  • "I am interested in..." (e.g. increasing experitise, expanding my network, etc.)

Pin: The Telling Your Network Story section in the Career Strategy Workbooks are especially helpful in this exercise. Be sure to also read our Networking section for additional tips.