How to maximize your networking potential during your internship
It’s not easy to land an amazing summer internship, and it’s sometimes even more difficult to turn that internship into a full-time job. That’s why it’s so vital to learn how to network effectively and form solid relationships that will maximize your chances and get you ahead of the competition.
Here are a few good networking habits to keep in mind:
Introduce yourself to as many people as possible
The next time you are at a networking event, product launch or press preview – whatever it may be – reach out your hand and give a polite introduction to everyone around you. You want to introduce yourself to as many people as possible as you’ll never know who you might end up meeting. Make sure you keep track off the people that you meet; go back to your desk and write down their first and last name along with their email address and write them a hand-written thank you note as a genuine thank you for taking the time to talk to you.
Ask for advice
How did they get started in the industry? What is their least favorite thing about it? What’s their best piece of advice for someone just starting out? If you ask, they will tell. Most people love talking about themselves and sharing stories about their experiences. Most importantly, asking for advice shows that you respect them as a professional, which will make them even more eager to help you out.
Ask them about their interests & passions outside of work
Where did they go to college? Do they like peanut butter and jelly sandwiches? Be real! Of course, don’t get carried away and delve too deep into their personal life, but genuinely get to know them as a person. Most likely you will have something memorable in common, leaving them with a positive impression of you, not only as a professional, but also as a person.
Network beyond your peer group
While it may be more fun to partake in happy hour or a night out on the town with your own peer group, co-workers who are older and more experienced are often the ones who are better positioned to help you further your career, at the company and beyond. They will have the best advice and the most connections in the industry, so although it is important to create lasting friendships with other interns, don’t be afraid to talk with your more practiced co-workers.
Network beyond your department/team
Take the time to meet people in other departments or on different teams. It will show that you are sincerely interested in getting to know them and learning more about the company. You will become more knowledgeable on the different areas of the company, making you a well-rounded candidate for a full-time position (and ahead of the competition, once again!).
Remember every employee matters
Network with employees at every level, because they may have a bigger say than you think. From the janitor, to the security guard, you never know who will be the voice that speaks positively on your behalf. Even something as simple as a smile and cheerful “good morning!” can make you stand out and be remembered as someone that everyone wants to work with.
Thank the people who help you
If they take the time to help you, you should take the time to give them a genuine thank you. No matter how small the favor or piece of advice, even something as simple as a thank you will go a long way. The fact that you took the time to appreciate them will make them more likely to help you again in the future!
Just remember, the key to networking is to know everyone and then get to know everyone they know. Truly, knowing a little about a lot of people can be beneficial in landing your dream job. Take the time to stop and chat in the hallway, set up lunch plans with other department leaders, or even take a few minutes to stop by the water cooler.
We’ve said it before and we’ll say it again, it’s not what you know, it’s who you know.