An internship is something students can leverage when they are searching for a full-time job. In this video tutorial, Valerie Sutton, director of Career Services at the Harvard Graduate School of Education, shows students how to network. She also explains what types of questions to be asking people in the organization that can lead to future full-time opportunities.
- During your internship, it's important to not only establish relationships with your supervisor and team, but also with others in the organization. Your goal is to learn as much as you can about the organization and the industry to expand your opportunities. You're going to want to meet people who are experts in the organization, and can help you to determine these opportunities. To find these people, you'll want to use the organizational chart that can be found on many human resource pages. This will give you a guide to finding people in the organization and how they might be of assistance.
You can also ask for referrals from your supervisor or teammates. A good way to approach someone outside of your team is through an informational interview or asking for help on a project as it relates to the bigger picture of the company. Following proper etiquette is essential in these types of requests. Even simple things like when and how to use email are very important. Your plan should be to make a good impression and set the stage for a longer term relationship. The great news is, new interns are given much more consideration and leeway when starting.
And people enjoy helping students. To get a response, try to use a referral from one of your coworkers or supervisor. If that is not an option, you could reach out to them directly. Follow the cultural norms of the company, but an email request is often fine. In your request, be sure to limit the time asked for to 20 minutes. This is enough time to establish a connection, but isn't burdensome to them. Give them several specific dates and time options. And also let them know that you can be flexible if those times don't work.
You should be prepared for the meeting by developing three questions. These will be different based on your goals. The three types that I like are a personal career question, like, how did you get started in this field? An organizational question like, what other entry level positions might I consider at the organization? And an industry question, like, what other organizations would you work for if you were not here? All of these questions give you good leads on how you might go about your full-time job search. After the meeting, make sure to send them a thank you note and add them to your contact management system.
Whether it is LinkedIn or your own list. Establishing and maintaining an internal network is not only key to your internship, but a lifelong skill that will help you to succeed. By learning this early, you will be expanding the opportunities you receive over the lifetime of your career. Just remember to follow good etiquette and to stay connected.
- Evaluating opportunities
- Taking paid vs. unpaid internships
- Working with an internship program
- Tracking your project performance
- Managing your contacts long term
- Negotiating a full-time position