Any time that I speak about furthering your career or landing an internship, I always mention how crucial it is to understand networking and the benefits that come with it. Any entrepreneur or career expert will agree that networking is essential to landing a position, Richard Branson has even written an article for entrepreneur.com on how to network. Branson is one of my favorite influencers in the business world, and his advice speaks very well for students on the lookout to land a top internship.
Here are seven tips on networking that can help you earn a top internship in your industry:
1. Always be ready to actively network. Be ready to give an elevator pitch in any setting, whether it’s a meeting, at an actual networking event, or at a party. There are always people around you that may present an opportunity, no matter where you are at that time.
2. Be knowledgeable. I would never expect anyone to understand the ins and outs of every aspect of a business or individual, but go into any professional setting with some knowledge about the company and hiring manager if you know who that person may be. Google search can be one of your best friends, use the tool that’s right at your disposal to have some facts at your disposal if you’re speaking to someone who may be able to offer you that dream internship you’ve wanted to snag for months.
3. Get comfortable with who you are. People can quickly sniff out someone who is unauthentic. If you have an interview coming up do some prep work for the company as mentioned above, but try to go into the meeting as relaxed and calm as possible. Showing your nerves or worrying about it too much can hinder your chances at landing the internship. Be yourself, employers will value that.
4. Know what NOT to do at networking events. It’s easy to tell you what you should do if you want to land that top internship, but you should also keep in mind the things you shouldn’t be doing. Inc.com wrote up a list of what not to do while you’re at a networking event, and I find every one of these tips very helpful.
5. Volunteer during your down time. If you’re in between internships and waiting for next summer to land the one you’ve had your eye on, do some volunteering. It’s always good to pad your resume if you have the time to do so, and once that future internship interview comes you’ll have even more contacts through those volunteer opportunities.
6. Master your social network, don’t let it control you. You know the drill. If you haven’t done so by now, clean up your social media presence. There are tools like persona-co.com and others that help you get a clean online reputation. Post less, pay attention to your likes and favorites and scroll through those photos to eliminate any unwanted/less than flattering pictures for a future professional.
7. Stay positive. Positivity can go a long way, and whether it a friend or a prospective employer who sees a smile on your face, you’ll be paying it forward to everyone who may have a lot on their plate. The best networking is a real smile. Stay away from negativity and focus on the positives, and you can land that top internship.
||Clayton Wert is a Career Coach and Internship Advisor at Dream Careers, the leading internship program for college students. Clayton advises college students on how to land internships at the best companies in Los Angeles.