Networking For Internships

To kick off the start of the summer internship season, The Elon University School of Communications internship office hosted a speed-networking event. Internship seekers from a variety of concentrations met with local professionals and were able to discuss opportunities, goals and their future.

Many students are nervous to take the first step in networking and attending events that are hosted by their schools. They might consider themselves awkward or ill prepared for the professional world. The truth is, the best way to learn how to network is to put yourself in a situation where you are forced to do so.

Recruiters are not expecting students to be experts, but rather, people who are willing to learn. By demonstrating interest in the organization, knowing your own strengths and being congenial, recruiters will be receptive to you as a potential intern or employee.

Let the conversation flow naturally. The professional should not be the only one talking nor should students ramble for extended periods of time. Instead, if you feel a lull in the conversation, ask questions about the organization. Better yet, ask the professional about their role in the organization, or how they got started in their career. People love to talk about themselves.

Show recruiters your resume’. Be prepared to talk about your extracurricular activities, your past work experience and skills. Make sure that you can speak about how they are relevant to both professionally and to the company specifically.
Remember to follow up. If you would like to continue to build a relationship with the recruiter, make sure that you get their contact information and get in touch with them soon after you meet. Remind them of your conversation, reiterate your interest by telling them that you are interested in pursuing an internship with them, and let them know you welcome an interview.

Networking is not as intimidating as it seems, it just takes practice. So, get out there and talk to people. With time, you will get used to starting conversations with professionals and recruiters. Good Luck!

For more information on networking, check out:
http://www.cio.com/article/164300/How_to_Network_12_Tips_for_Shy_People
http://internships.about.com/od/networking/ht/Networking.htm
http://www.boston.com/business/blogs/global-business-hub/2012/01/how_to_network.html

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