How To: Network At Your Internship
Cleary you already know a thing or two about networking, since you’ve probably managed to land your internship through doing just that. So here are 16 networking strategies that you can use at any internship to make the most of your time there.
1. Greet Everyone!
Shake everyone’s hands and introduce yourself. Right from your immediate team, to the CEO (kudos to you if you manage to do so), to the receptionists, to the cleaning personnel who come by in the late evenings, signaling that it is time for you to leave your desk. Introduce yourself to everyone, not only will it help you adjust because they will all become familiar faces soon enough, but it’ll also give you a well-rounded picture of the company. Making a good lasting impression on everyone can only work to your advantage in the long run.
2. Make a list of the people you meet
Once you’ve met each of the individuals at your internship, make a little note about the person you just met, with their name, position and a small characteristic that will help you to remember them. This may sound like the most ridiculous thing ever, but writing things down often helps people to remember. You’ll thank yourself for doing it when you manage to avoid a * I know we’ve met before, but I’ve completely forgotten who you are* situation.
3. Forget the emails – ask them directly.
If you have a question, it might be easier just to go up to whoever you’re trying to contact and ask them in person rather than just sending a mail. You’ll probably get a better explanation, and speaking to them face to face is likely to make them remember you as an individual and not an email address.
4. Connect through social media.
This is not mean adding all your collegues and bosses on Facebook. Instead connect with them on Linkedin. Build yourself a professional profile on Linkedin and make your connections. That way you can reach out to them if you ever need, even after your internship is over.
5. Take on responsibility and get involved
The more responsibility you have, the more influence you are likely to have (provided you handle the responsibility well). Volunteer to take on that extra job the others at your internship don’t particularly want to do. It’ll give you a chance to showcase your skills, and will make your employers appreciate you so much more.
6. Be a shadow
And not in the creepy way. Observe what the ones doing well at your place of internship are doing, and try going about things the way they do. If they can do it, and can get praise for it, why can’t you?
7. The “Elevator pitch” is your way to go
You’re all set if you can churn your whole resume into a 30-second elevator pitch. That way when you’re networking at your internship, you can quickly give them a run-down of who you are, without forgetting something important and without loosing their interest. Mastering this will definitely take you far in your career.
8. Small talk
Small talk can be awkward and annoying, but it can’t be avoided, so might as well embrace it. It doesn’t have to be work-related. Ask one of your collegues to grab coffee or lunch with you and ask them about their lives. It’ll help you get to know the people around you on a personal level, which will make settling into the internship an easy process.
9. It’s all about who you know…
And not so much about what you know. Research your internship before your first day there. Maybe someone you were in the same class as in the fourth grade now works at the firm your interning in. Having a “familiar” face could help you get settled in so reach out to them.
10. Meet the interns
The other interns at the firm are in the exact same position you are in. Some of them may have been there for a bit longer, and others may have joined with you. Interact with them and ask them about how they manage their time (if you’re interning while studying) or what they like/dislike about the experience. It’s always nice to know that someone is in the same boat as you.