So often we focus on networking to land your next internship or job. But that process doesn’t end as soon as you secure the position. Networking during your internship is probably the most important time because this is the time to build that actual network of yours. And I’m not just talking about getting to know your supervisor. Networking extends to all people you come into contact with, whether that is other departments, clients, business contacts, and even fellow interns and their friends.
So how have our stars of The Intern Diaries been making the most of their summer to build out their network? Take a read at their experience with the often daunting but very important skill!
Maddy Haller, Social Media Intern at College Fashionista HQ
“Networking is a key skill to have in the fashion industry, especially because a majority of jobs are within teams. As far as tips, I’d say don’t be afraid to simply introduce yourself. That’s step one of making a good impression. It’s important to then inquire about the company and their role within. As much as networking is about expressing who you are, it should be more about learning and in turn creating and building a meaningful relationship. Networking should feel natural and sincere so don’t feel the need to force it. Just be yourself!
Another tip is to ask any and all questions you may have. This will show your interest and eagerness to learn. It’s more than okay to smile and let them know you’re excited and appreciative of the opportunity; because at the end of the day that’s the kind of person a company wants to hire!”
(photo via @maddyhaller)
Kalynn Smith, Digital Marketing Intern at L Brands for Victoria’s Secret
“Networking is a huge opportunity in a summer internship. I am surrounded by tons of people with incredible backgrounds and I am trying to take in their tips as much as I can. An important thing to remember is you need to be the one going to extra mile to build these relationships outside of your everyday tasks. Whenever I have down time, I am researching who I want to meet with and what insights they can give me for my career. Don’t be afraid, everyone wants to help you grow and succeed!”
(photo via @kalynnelizabeth_)
Sahana Holla, Technical and Research Summer Analyst in Finance
“Networking is one of the most beneficial things you can do for your career, and it is important to start early! Make sure you take initiative and reach out to people within the company for even just a quick chat or a cup of coffee. Many people are always willing to share their insights and share with people what they do, because at one point, they were in your shoes in terms of career. Always do your research before meeting with someone and make sure you prepare for it right in terms of developing questions for them as well as showing your eagerness to learn about what they do. People just want the best for you, so be yourself and be ready to expand your horizons!”
(photo via @holla4sahana)
Val Veak, Digital Marketing Team Intern at Nike
“So in my opinion when it comes to networking you should be confident in approaching people. I always make sure I’m giving good eye contact and refer to the person by their name. Always remember that a good first impression is very important. You really want to build authentic relationships so be focused on the person you’re conversing with. Be yourself. You should of course be professional but don’t try too hard and be someone you’re not; others will pick up on that right away. Share your passion with the people in your company! When you talk about why you’re interning and what you hope to do in the future it leaves a lasting impression. Don’t be afraid to collaborate and share ideas with others. It may be intimidating but putting yourself out there could lead to great opportunities. One of the most important things about networking in my opinion is making sure you follow up. If you had good conversation, ask the person you’re talking to what the best way to contact them is and get in touch with them within 48 hours to show you are interested and available for any opportunities.”
(photo via @valveak)
Brisa Gomez, PR Intern at DoSomething.Org
“As someone who gets extremely nervous in social situations and finds it difficult to be more extroverted, my best advice would be to observe those you are currently working with and learn from their actions. The staff I currently work with are some of the most intelligent, amazing and inspiring people I’ve ever met! They know how to give presentations, they know how communicate effectively and they for sure know how to network. If you get the chance to be a part of meetings or watch presentations, take the time to notice everything they do and say, and take note of it for yourself. Everyday I go into the office I try my best to learn as much as I can from them because I know they are experts in what they do. You’ll slowly start to notice how comfortable you are with yourself and how willing you are to speak up and share an idea, or just talk to someone. Also, don’t be afraid to spark up conversations with those you report to, they actually want to help and see you succeed!”
(photo via @brisaamarr)
Hannah Bullion, Social Strategy and Innovation Intern at Refinery29
“While the work you do at your internship is important, the relationships you form with your coworkers within the company are just as important. The way people remember your attitude and work ethic will be more memorable than the excel sheets you complete. Don’t be afraid to reach out to other people within the company to learn more about their roles. Personally, I go to a lot of meetings and I always try to make a note to remember names and introduce myself.