As you know, networking is a key part of an effective internship search. So, you might be thinking, “I’ve got the internship, now I can relax.” Think again!! What better place to expand your network and build relationships with key contacts than your place of employment for the summer? A summer internship gives you unique access to many professionals in an industry or company that interests you. Here are a few networking tips to make the most of your summer internship:
- Be friendly. Smile a lot and ask questions. It’s easy to meet people and build relationships among your team and across the organization if you’re approachable.
- Seek out people to network with. Get a copy of the organization chart. Find people that are in a role that you would like to learn more about. Talk to your supervisor about the best way to reach out and meet those people. Usually, it is as simple as sending an email to ask if they would be willing to meet for coffee or lunch.
- Go to company sponsored events. Getting yourself out of the office to mingle with co-workers at company sponsored social events can be an effective way to build relationships with people across the organization.
- Show interest in other people’s work. Learn more about the work others at the organization are doing and how it impacts your team, division and the company. People love to talk about themselves. Showing genuine interest in the work that they are doing can go a long way.
- Once you are settled into your role, talk about your future plans and ask for advice. Seek out people at the organization that are doing the type of work you aspire to do. Ask for an informational interview or to meet for coffee or lunch. Share your interests and ask for advice on how to position yourself as a strong candidate in the future.
- Nurture your relationships. Effective networking is an ongoing process that involves building and cultivating relationships. Keep in touch with the contacts you make at the company. Meet for coffee or simply smile and say hello when you’re passing their desk or office. Send a note at the end of the internship to thank them for taking the time to talk with you. Connect with them on LinkedIn and keep in touch throughout the year once you’re back on campus.
Summer internships provide a great opportunity to build your network of key contacts. Don’t let that opportunity pass you by! Get out there, smile and grab a coffee with a co-worker!
Written by Julie Draczynski
Associate Director, Center for Career Development