How To Network In Order To Land Your Next Internship
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What’s going to help you get that internship? Networking, networking, and more networking!
We live in a time where knowing the right people can get you some opportunities you never would have been able to score on your own, so here are some tips on how to network to expand the people you know in the job or internship that you wish to strive for.
As a student, your professors are key to getting you into the real world. Of course, you won’t be getting an awesome letter of recommendation or help with connections if you simply took their class. Your professors want to know you, want to know that you are passionate about the field of study that you are pursuing, and that you are worth their time.
Make sure to participate in class so they can start to recognize your face and see that you are paying attention (definitely don’t be nodding off in the corner), and also make sure to visit them in office hours.
I know it can sometimes be hard to come up with questions, but maybe discuss a topic that you found intriguing from lecture, or simply drop by to introduce yourself. I’ve had professors tell me that they actually really appreciate when students take the time to stop by and not just be another nameless face in the crowd.
Your professors are actively working in the field that you are pursuing, or at least know of people who are in your direct field of interest, so it will be worth your while to prove yourself and play nice.
Even after you don’t have a class with them, shoot them an email once in a while and tell them how you witnessed something from their class in a real life situation or you just wanted to see how their new quarter/semester is going. Aim for teacher’s pet without being annoying.
The career center at your school is the perfect place for you to put your networking abilities to the test. Your career center advisers will be able to help you beef up your resume and look professional for when companies come to your school, and may even be able to provide you with connections themselves, so make sure to attend the career center!
The advisers are bound to know of many companies and might even be able to give you the down-low of what the company really likes to see in potential interns. The advisers want to see you succeed and if you are willing to put in the extra effort, they will too.
This is where the real anxiety sets it, when it comes to talking to some real life pros in your field. How exactly should you go about this?
Well, LinkedIn is a great way to connect with professionals and a way for you to show off your work to them, but of course that isn’t in person.
Meeting professionals is half of the battle, so ask your parents, friends, anyone, if they know of a professional in your field that you could possibly grab a coffee with and talk to them. You’d be surprised about how many connections you’ll be able to find.
Campuses also invite professionals to give guest lectures and things like that, so you’ll want to make sure you can attend, and if there is a question and answer portion at the end, make sure to get yourself heard.
At UC Santa Cruz, we have an event every Thursday called Living Writers, where authors come and read their books to us, as well as tell us how they got published and so on.
As an aspiring writer, I am so grateful my school does this and definitely take advantage of it. There are always events going on so make sure you don’t miss out.
Never burn bridges with your classmates because you never know when a friendship might come in handy. If you are not having much luck finding your own connections into companies, ask some of your fellow classmates what they are doing and if they have found anything particularly interesting in your field. You never know, maybe that same company is looking for more people, and your classmate might be able to help you get in.
Some schools even have a “jobs and internships” Facebook page where students post about internship positions that are happening where they are currently interning or just something that they heard about.
This is exactly how I got my first internship with Uloop. I applied right after I saw a post from the editor at the time in the Facebook group. This is where it’s great to keep up with social media, and if you happen to hear of some internships, make sure to post them in the group to help other students out!
Whether you are a people person or not, getting places in life will require you to use your social skills and networking abilities to get opportunities.
Be friendly, be yourself, and use college connections to your advantage to land that next internship!
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