May 30, 2013

5 Steps to Making the Most of Your Summer Internship Networking

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Summer is here! And that means the start of this season's interns flocking to cities across the United States and abroad to make the most of their summers for college or graduate school. Although work is number one on the priority list, number two is building your summer networks, inside and outside the office. Here are five steps to get you well on your way:

1. Business cards

If your office does not produce business cards for you, make your own. Sure, we live in a digital age where we can connect on LinkedIn and send email introductions but a business card is always a nice thing to provide a potential contact. Give them out and it will act as a reminder when they empty their wallet or pocket later on. Cards can be made cheaply online or at a local store in increments of 100 - the hope is you'll run out at the end of the summer.

2. After work events

After a long day at the office, I know many want to run home and maybe go to the gym to work off some stress, but how about going to an after work event? In cities with a large influx of summer interns, many organizations and companies have events, workshops, lectures, and other presentations throughout the summer. These are great networking opportunities and places to build your summer social capital.

3. Alumni coffee

One of the strongest connections between two individuals is where they attended school. For college students, tap into your college alumni network in your city and seek them out to grab a coffee and chat. Graduate students have it even easier, with a college network and a graduate school network; contact people who have attended either school and grab a quick drink to chat about their work and career projection(s).

4. Wish list

Although there are many people you would like to meet with whom you have no connections, don't fret, and make a wish list. Put together a list of people in your city you would like to meet and send them an email. Say hi; introduce yourself. Who know? You could cross something off your wish list.

5. Other interns

Although we all love to connect with the head-honcho, the big boss man/woman, don't forget about the other interns in your office. Other interns are a great resource and can be great contacts. First of all, they have their own networks and experiences which you can discuss, and secondly, they will be climbing the ranks with you throughout your respective careers; these will be your colleagues someday.

Bonus 6: Get Contactually :)

Bennett Resnik is a consultant on social capital and networks; teaching companies how to build, grow, and sustain social capital. He is an expert in networking strategy and has helped start-ups, small businesses, non-profits and individuals develop a comprehensive strategy to build and cultivate their social capital. Bennett advises his clients on how to locate and access social capital within their present networks and create a framework for future network strategy. Find him on Twitter