Internships can be an incredible stepping stone on the path towards your dream career. They are a chance for you to try your chosen job and industry on for size and make sure it’s the right direction for you. It’s also a valuable chance for you to meet new people and prove yourself–and maybe even score an ongoing job.
But how do you score a top internship in the first place? By networking. By being thoughtful and strategic about how you network, you can grow your contacts, discover new opportunities, develop your people skills, and generally expand your horizons. Plus, it’s great preparation for later in your career when networking will continue to be so important.
Here are seven tips on networking that can help you earn a top internship in your industry:
1. Always be ready to actively network
Be ready to give an elevator pitch in any setting, whether it’s a meeting, at an actual networking event, or at a party. There are always people around you that may present an opportunity, no matter where you are at that time.
2. Be knowledgeable
I would never expect anyone to understand the ins and outs of every aspect of a business or individual, but go into any professional setting with some knowledge about the company and hiring manager if you know who that person may be. Google search can be one of your best friends, use the tool that’s right at your disposal to have some facts at your disposal if you’re speaking to someone who may be able to offer you that dream internship you’ve wanted to snag for months.
3. Get comfortable with who you are
People can quickly sniff out someone who is unauthentic. If you have an interview coming up do some prep work for the company as mentioned above, but try to go into the meeting as relaxed and calm as possible. Showing your nerves or worrying about it too much can hinder your chances at landing the internship. Be yourself, employers will value that.
4. Know what NOT to do at networking events
It’s easy to tell you what you should do if you want to land that top internship, but you should also keep in mind the things you shouldn’t be doing. Inc.com wrote up a list of what not to do while you’re at a networking event, and these tips are very helpful.
5. Volunteer during your down time
If you’re in between internships and waiting for next summer to land the one you’ve had your eye on, do some volunteering. It’s always good to pad your resume if you have the time to do so, and once that future internship interview comes you’ll have even more contacts through those volunteer opportunities.
6. Master your social network, don’t let it control you
You know the drill. If you haven’t done so by now, clean up your social media presence. There are tools like persona-co.com and others that help you get a clean online reputation. Post less, pay attention to your likes and favorites and scroll through those photos to eliminate any unwanted/less than flattering pictures for a future professional.
7. Stay positive
Positivity can go a long way, and whether it a friend or a prospective employer who sees a smile on your face, you’ll be paying it forward to everyone who may have a lot on their plate. The best networking is a real smile. Stay away from negativity and focus on the positives, and you can land that top internship.
This article was first published by Golden Key partner Dream Careers.
Dream Careers is a tuition based, an all-inclusive internship program, providing motivated college students an easy way to spend a summer in exciting cities such as New York City, Los Angeles, London, Washington DC, Barcelona and more, while also providing custom internship placement at your choice of nearly 5,000 companies. The program tuition ranges from $8,499 – $9,499 and covers your summer housing with hundreds of other college students, a meal plan, academic credit, exciting weekend trips, resume and interview preparation, and career development seminars.
About Golden Key
Golden Key is the world's largest collegiate honor society. Membership into the Society is by invitation only and applies to the top 15% of college and university sophomores, juniors and seniors, as well as top-performing graduate students in all fields of study, based solely on their academic achievements. As an international honor society with more than 400 chapters at colleges and universities around the world, Golden Key is committed to a high standard of scholastic achievement, and an ethos of integrity, innovation, respect, collaboration and diversity.