Making Connections to Get and Keep a Great Internship
Securing an internship can be one of the most stressful parts of college life. Each step along the way – the career fairs, the networking events, and the interviews – can overwhelm students. The work doesn’t end there though. Performance in the internship is just as important. As a junior at North Carolina State University, this is my experience through the internship process.
Learn to open doors
As a freshman, I found myself scrambling to create a perfect resume to get my dream internship. My older sister, who was a junior when I was a freshman, was out getting internships left and right. Without studying her strategy, I tried to expose myself to my dream companies thinking that I had what it took to get in the door. Wow, I was wrong! After getting shut down, I asked my sister what I needed to change in order to get recognition in front of these companies. She advised me to learn how to make connections in the areas I was interested in. I also had to learn how to use those connections appropriately to network for available internships. Once I got a handle on that, the internship offers began to materialize.
Tips to Success from Day 1
After building up my resume, attending networking events, and getting interviews, I landed a summer internship my freshman year. From this internship, I learned six key experiences and tips along the way that any incoming intern should know:
- Come prepared on the first day. Know about the company and what your role will be.
- Meet as many people in the organization as possible. Linking names and faces will allow you to share experiences with more people, while creating a positive association with your coworkers and superiors.
- Try new things. Just because you don’t know how something is done doesn’t mean you can’t try! Putting yourself in new situations will allow you to learn new things and become more useful to the organization.
- Build relationships and connections. Just meeting people won’t be enough to be a good intern. It is important to continue conversations and build relationships with the people around you. This makes the workplace more fun, plus you can receive great recommendations from coworkers.
- Ask for advice and tips. The people around you would love to give you feedback on your experiences – good and bad. Never hesitate to ask for tips for your future or how to improve. Nobody’s perfect, but learning will make your next internship even better!
- Stay connected after you leave. Just because the internship is over doesn’t mean the communication has to stop. Some companies would love to have you back for another internship, or stay connected for job opportunities after college. Any connection you make during an internship is an important one, so make sure to keep the connection going forward.
By utilizing these tips, I was able to get a great recommendation from my freshman year internship. That helped me land a Marketing Specialist Intern with Cisco for this summer. By getting the help I needed with my resume building and sales pitch, I got in the door to show off my skills to employers. Remember to be confident and honest throughout the interview and internship process, and you won’t go wrong!
Which one of the tips do you like the most? Any tips you think are worthy? Start the conversation in the comments below!