When it comes to establishing a career that checks all of your boxes, who you know in your industry of choice can be just as important as what you know. If you are a prospective intern looking to make a mark in your career, it’s important to not skimp on the networking side of things while undertaking your learning journey as intern.
“Networking” is one of the most popular terms that professionals use, but what does it look like in practice? And more importantly, how do people even network during an internship?! A network is the community you build to enhance your career. Who you choose to connect with can serve different purposes: maybe there’s a peer you’d like to collaborate with, or you’re looking for a leader with more experience who can mentor you. You could network with people in similar roles in different cities to keep up with interstate opportunities, or you’re just looking to simply increase your awareness in industry-related news – all of that and more.
Let’s go over some ways that you can master the skills of networking during your internship, customised for both in-person and online so that you can get the most out of this necessary part of the working world.
Online Networking for Interns
1. Create a LinkedIn account
Having a LinkedIn profile is a great and easy way to maximise your chances to network in your chosen field. Unlike most social media platforms that have a more personal angle, LinkedIn is purely for your professional life. It’s well-documented that recruiters often peruse through accounts to find potential employees. The direct messaging makes it quick to connect with others. Your connections can also endorse your skills and give testimonials. It’s like an interactive, online CV!
Watch this video for further details:[embed]https://youtu.be/VTBCaODz3TQ[/embed]
2. Attend virtual webinars for networking
In the age of remote work, a lot of the in-person events we were all too familiar with turned toward taking place within the online sphere. There are so many career-specific and professional development webinars that are free to the public, and you can browse through sites like Eventbrite to secure your RSVP. Even YouTube has livestreams of virtual events in a wide range of sectors. All you need to do is search for online events for your particular industry.
In-person Networking for Interns
3. Be curious
Asking questions in a professional setting can be really enlightening and helpful for your career. In an internship placement, this could be as simple as asking open-ended questions to your supervisor about the industry, rather than questions that don’t prompt more than answering with a “yes or no”. Questions that can give you a clear outline of the answerers career trajectory are great as well as talking about interesting projects they’ve completed. Asking open ended questions can really allow people to demonstrate what they find to be the most important thing in their industry. Listening to different perspectives can give you the insight (and motivation) to set realistic yet achievable goals.
4. Do research and reach out to potential mentors
Meeting people in real life can be really intimidating, especially for the purposes of creating a robust professional network. It’s important to have a clear goal in mind of who you are trying to connect with and why. Are they in a similar position to you, like another intern at a different company? Or are they someone you’d like to work for? Are you looking to get a job from them or are you looking to collaborate? Make your communications warm, friendly, and interesting, but to the point. Establish the mutual benefit that can come from the connection.
Watch this if you want to know more about how to choose a good mentor:
Networking for interns is a crucial part of professional success regardless of the industry, and people who successfully build upon their community can have access to insider information that is advantageous for your career. Networking can take place in different contexts and situations, and it’s a skill that requires a high level of soft skills whether it be through an online platform or in a real-life meeting to discuss a project over coffee. With these tips in mind to increase your networking capabilities, it’s important to let the rapport build naturally and approach with confidence when introducing yourself, even online. Sometimes just a small meeting can put you in a good position and name recognition is the game! If the nerves take over, think of yourself as being worthy of being part of the network you’re looking to create.
Mastering the skills of networking during your internship is not just for people who are in the entry level phase of their career – even CEO’s still could learn a thing or two about networking in our rapidly advancing world!Want to know more about how you can kickstart your career now? Head on over to Premium Graduate Placements and see the vacancies for internship opportunities or read more of our blog to keep in-the-know.