Students need to start building their networks before they graduate. I have written before why students need blogs, they also need to consider internships. Internships are the perfect way to get your feet in the door and find job opportunities. Even if a job does not come from an internship, you will leave with a larger network and experience for your resume.
Erica Roberts was a social media intern at YouTern, a service that specializes in finding college students summer internships. Erica shares her lessons learned and tips about internships in this interview.
D - Hi Erica. Tell us a little about yourself.
E - I am a social media coordinator for several brands, both large and small. I just founded Chatterbox Media LLC to expand upon this venture.
D - You wrote a great blog post recently about the importance of internships for students to grow their professional networks. Tell me your story, how did you line up your internship?
E - My first internship was found on an online job board. I have turned all of my internships into more permanent, paid positions.
How do I get an internship?
D - Where should students turn to find solid internships?
E - The most valuable resource for students to use when searching for internships is their network. Utilizing LinkedIn is key for connecting and following up with professors and potential business contacts. Talk to professors and advisers in your major's department - show them the value you could bring to an organization (research papers and projects are great starting points) and tap into their network!
D - What do you think students need to focus on going into an internship?
E - When starting your internship, remember that no task is beneath you. Sure, filing can be a drag and scheduling appointments for your manager might not have been in the job description, but make up for the menial tasks by taking care of them quickly and taking charge of higher priority projects. Also, don't forget to network!
Always be networking
D - What should students do when an internship is coming to an end?
E - When your internship is ending, set up a meeting with your supervisor to discuss your accomplishments and review your progress. Make sure to stay in touch with the people you worked with after the internship ends - you never know what kinds of opportunities they may have for you in the future.
D - Do you have any additional tips about internships and networking for students?
E - The biggest tip I have for students is to not underestimate themselves. You know more than you think you do, and if you work hard, good things will come. Also, always be networking. Have personal business cards with you at all times and when you go to places like coffee shops, look professional and approachable.
D - Thank you Erica. How can be people contact you?
E - I can be contacted at erica at chatterbox-media.com, or you can tweet me at @YouTernErica!
What about you?
What has your internship experience been like? Has it helped to grow your network? Please leave a comment with your thoughts.