networkingA lot of you are probably headed off to summer internships in the next few weeks, if not earlier. You might think the most difficult part is over (you got the position!), but the most difficult part is just beginning. Securing any type of internship requires a lot of that one dreaded word — networking. But what people often forget is that a ton of networking occurs during and after a summer internship. I’ve written about interview tips before (see here and here), but I thought that this recent article by Rue Magazine put the process perfectly. I think their best tip was to “Think of it as a relationship, not a transaction.” I think too many of my peers look at networking as a “what-can-this-person-do-for-me?” kind of thing. While it is true that networking has the ultimate goal of adding to the momentum in your career or giving you some kind of crucial leg up, the most natural way for this to occur is to start first with a friendship. It will be tempting to walk into your summer internship and target the most influential person as your “mentor,” but it might be more natural to befriend a first-year employee and organically meet higher-up people through them as a friend. The biggest mistake we can make as young people in the business world is to be selfish. It’s time to go back to kindergarten: be nice, make friends, and see what happens!