Many people have co-op terms or internships as part of their academic courses. They are fantastic learning experiences but there are some extra things you can do to maximize their impact from a career perspective.
Make sure you add the your title and company to your LinkedIn profile. Add some bullet points about your tasks so that other people can get a feel for what you are doing.
Invite people you are working with to join your network. You can also invite people from outside the company. If you get to shadow someone at a meeting or a conference, pick up business cards and send out the invites.
Your LinkedIn invitations have more impact if you personalize them. If you mention where you met the person and how much you liked their presentation/speech/questions, you will up the chances of them accepting your invite.
Ask if people in your work group will provide a recommendation. Basically, you are asking if they will say a couple of nice things about you that will be visible on your profile.
Start a list in your phone of training and learning opportunities so you can record them as you go. By the end of your term, you won’t remember what happened at the beginning. These are valuable bits to add to your resume when you are done. You want to be able to reference not just what you did, but what you learned. That’s the sort of thing future employers want to see.
When you finish an internship, make sure you note that on your LinkedIn profile. You might also want to take a few minutes to write some thank you notes to your boss and your boss’s boss. Mention how much you learned and how much you enjoyed being part of the team.
None of these items are going to make an internship better but they will help to make sure it is a solid starting point for a satisfying career.