A 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!
About The Author
My name is Catherine Elizabeth Ziac (Cat, for short) and I am a senior at Union College in Schenectady, NY. When I'm not studying for my major in economics or my minor in Russian, you can find me skimming through catalogs, playing the flute, fishing, online window shopping, chatting with my sisters (my twin, Julia, studying physics at the California Institute of Technology in Pasadena, CA, or my little sister Maddy, currently a senior in high school), or out and about in good old Schenectady with my wonderful Union friends! I love pink nails, long showers, office supplies, and going to the public library. I spend too much time looking at blogs and skimming the WSJ online, but I still believe in the merits of a hand-written letter. I am always in the mood for yogurt and granola and am never without a piece of gum. I usually answer "blue" when asked my favorite color, but I know in my heart that it's always been and always will be garnet!