By Adlaine Peterson
Senior > Journalism > Temple University
You networked to seal your internship, and now it's time to network at your internship.
"Networking is a skill that anyone can learn," Dr. Tom Denham, a career counselor and owner of Careers In Transition LLC in Albany, New York, said. He believes networking should be students' number one priority. "It's about building relationships," he added. Wise words, doc.
Here are 16 networking strategies you can practice at any internship.
1. It's not what you know, it's who you know
Research your new company and see if anyone looks familiar. Maybe a writer you enjoy writes for the publishing house where you're interning or an alumnus from your school works at the firm where you're applying. Besides showing that you are knowledgeable about the company, this could get you an introduction with said people.
2. Meet all the people
Meet everyone from the CEO (if possible) to the janitors. This gives you the whole picture of the company. Penn State senior Peter Waldron is currently enrolled in a six-month cooperative education program with Advance Testing in New York. He said he knows that in a competitive program, he needs to make a lasting impression on his colleagues. "I try to talk to heads of my department. Whether it's talking about my classes or grades, I just try to make myself known," he said.
3. Stay clear of the naysayers
This applies to internship veterans and first timers. An internship should be a learning opportunity, not a pity party with the Negative Nancy of the office. If a person you work with continuously starts negative conversations about the company, stay clear of them. Plug your ears with your fingers and sing, "Lalalala, I can't hear you," if you have to. Surrounding yourself with negativity is a waste of your time and could hold you back during the short amount of time you have there.
4. Find a mentor
"A mentor can offer great advice and connections," Denham said. "[They] have an inside view on the company." While a mentor from within your company can introduce you to a broader range of employees, you can also receive mentoring through your university's career center. Denham suggests talking to advisors throughout an internship, but few students take advantage of their expertise. Don't be inimidated. "All they want to do is help you," Denham said.
5. Embrace the small talk
Engaging in small talk might be awkward at times, but it lets others know that you are attentive and want to have human contact in the workplace. "Grabbing a morning coffee is a perfect way to go about this," Denham said. Asking questions about someone's night or weekend plans is also an easy way to start a conversation. Like The Smiths said, "I am human and I need to be loved/Just like everybody else does."
6. Keep a descriptive list of contacts
Upon meeting new employees, write down their name, position at the company and a little description about them such as, "Jane Smith, executive director, tall with curly, blonde hair." This will prevent mini panic attacks from forgetting a person's name at a meeting and help you remember them in the future. Just don't give an ominous laugh while jotting their info down. That tends to freak people out.
7. Turn your resume into an elevator pitch
Most people at your internship have not seen your resume and know nothing about you. Break down your resume into a 30 second pitch you could give to someone you're meeting for the first time. Your name, school, major, previous experience and two to three assets work perfectly. Remember to keep it short. You don't want to be THAT guy who everyone avoid because you talk their ears off.
Not every person or conversation at your internship will interest you. With that said, take care with how you go about talking with coworkers. If they start talking to you about who they think is going to get kicked off America's Got Talent--which you despise--go with it. Try not to lean your head back and start moaning. The conversation could lead to something you have in common.
Go to CollegeMagazine.com to get the full list.