By: Lyndsey Isenhower
If you’ve ever applied for a job, you’ve probably heard the saying, “it’s not what you know, but who you know.” The more people you connect with in the company or industry that you aim to be in, the higher chance for employment. Networking is one of the most valuable tools available to get where you want to go. And internships are a great way to begin the networking process – after all, you meet and work with people that are already in your chosen industry!
As a former intern myself, here are a few tips for doubling your internship as a networking opportunity:
Do Your Research.
On the first day of your internship, walk in knowing everything you can about the company and industry. It will be difficult to connect with professionals if you have nothing relevant to say to them, so spend time researching the company history, top executives, past achievements and even client industries if that information is available.
The more you know on the first day at your internship, the more reliable, interested and committed you seem to the job. When presented the opportunity to speak with executives, you will already have a basic understanding of what they do and why their work matters. From there, you can dive in and ask questions that go beyond the surface level.
Put Yourself in Uncomfortable Situations.
Speaking with employees at your internship may be intimidating at first; however, establishing a relationship with people in the workplace will make your time there more enjoyable and worthwhile in the long run.
Don’t be afraid to speak up and share ideas during team meetings because this could lead to further connection and brainstorming between you and your superiors. During downtime or breaks, engage with a variety of peers and supervisors to show your enthusiasm with being a part of the team. Bonding with fellow interns is important, but they aren’t the ones offering you a job after graduation.
Diving into the office banter and team lunches can be a way to experience coworkers apart from the business setting, which also helps them familiarize themselves with you. You want these people to be able to speak on your behalf, so keep it office appropriate, but be yourself.
Connect on Social Media.
Social media is becoming more and more prevalent in everyday life, but it is also becoming more useful for businesses as well. Millennials and members of Gen Z are in the perfect position to use these platforms professionally, because we’re already so familiar from personal use.
Connecting on these platforms – and keeping them up-to-date – also gives you a chance to keep up with your teammates after your internship ends. Something as simple as liking their pictures can keep you on their mind, but congratulating them on a promotion, direct messaging them to grab coffee with you or just checking in with them will be sure to make a lasting good impression.
Another quirk to note about social media involves the timing in which you should add your coworkers as “friends.” Adding people on social media too quick can seem forced and not genuine, so it’s better to have established a relationship first before adding them on social media. While you may connect on LinkedIn early on, you may want to wait until closer to the end of the internship to become Facebook “friends.”
Hopefully, taking initiative has become second nature to you by this time in your college career. Being proactive in helping your coworkers accomplish day-to-day tasks can alleviate their stress, as well as make showcase your skillset and capabilities. Employers love to see interns going above and beyond what is expected of them because it (a) shows you care and (b) helps you stand out.
Small tasks that have nothing to do with the job itself, like unloading the dishwasher or volunteering to grab coffee for a coworker, are great places to start when you are unfamiliar with the day-to-day tasks of the job. As silly as they may seem, these simple tasks show you’re invested in your time at the company and eager to be a part of the team.
Getting the most out of your PR internship requires many other steps like working hard, sharing valuable ideas, following instructions and meeting deadlines, but networking could possibly be the most long-lasting and critical takeaway from an internship.
Interested in applying for an internship at Dittoe PR? You won’t regret it! Learn more about the program and to apply by checking out the spring internship callout. Applications close Sept. 15!