It all went by so quickly: Halloween and Thanksgiving, finals week and the holidays. Before you knew it you were ringing in 2018, a year you were convinced would be your best yet. Now it’s the end of January, you have no motivation to do anything and a list of career goals you to committed to as resolutions for the new year; including finding a summer internship.
The task of finding a summer internship feels daunting. Especially when you aren’t sure how to get your foot in the door of your dream internship. At the end of the day, it truly is who you know (and what experience/skills you bring to the table). Here are 5 networking tips that will help you get that summer internship.
1. Connect with your professors.
They are professors for a reason: they want to help you learn and succeed. So take advantage of their experience and knowledge. Ask them questions about the places they used to work, where they see the field going, and any advice they might have for you. Let them know you are looking for a internship for the summer and ask if there are any organizations they think you should look into.
2. Ask for career advice.
In addition to asking your professors for career advice (which if you aren’t doing, you really should), reach out to professionals in the organizations you are interested working at after graduation. As them to meet for coffee to discuss their organization, experience in the field and advice for you as a young professional in the field.
(photo courtesy of Eat Sleep Play Beaufort)
3. Attend networking events.
Attend as many networking events related to your field as possible. Always go prepared with a couple copies of your resume, a professional outfit and questions for the professionals that will be there. This is your chance to build connections and form relationships that will be helpful for you down the line (and might even help you get the summer internship you want). After the networking event, connect with those you met on LinkedIn.
(photo courtesy of GEVME)
4. Make business cards for yourself
In addition to attending networking events with a few copies of your resume, it’s helpful to bring personal business cards along with you. This lets potential employers and mentors know right away that you are serious about your future and your career. Include your name, school, degree, personal website, and a few of your social media accounts (but make sure your accounts are appropriate). Keep a few of these cards with you wherever you go. You never know who you will run into.
5. Write handwritten thank you notes.
This networking tip works wonders and I cannot emphasize it enough. Write handwritten thank you notes to the professor you connected with, past employer who wrote you a letter of recommendation, the business professional who met with you for coffee, and the person you exchanged business cards with at the networking event. Keep it short and sweet. Thank them for their time and let them know you appreciate it. This will make you stand out in a sea of students and potential interns. The next time an opportunity arises, they might direct it toward you.
(Photo courtesy of Virtual Vocations)
Networking is a crucial part of being a working professional. But remember, it’s all about the give and take. Make sure you continue building your relationships even when you don’t need an internship or job right away. Your network is helpful now, but it will be even more helpful when you enter the real world with strong professional relationships you formed in college.