Internship season has begun, and businesses are filled with eager interns ready to make their mark in business. If you are one of these interns, a successful internship experience is certainly on the front burner in your mind, but fulltime employment is not that far in the back of your mind. I am starting to receive questions from my student clients on how they can network over the summer both within their internship companies as well as outside of the organizations. Here are five things you can do if you are looking for ways to network and kickstart your fulltime job search during your internship without being unethical to your current employer.
1. Network with key professionals within the organization where you are interning. Managers and leaders working at the company where you are interning are ideal resources for information and guidance. Ask these esteemed colleagues for meetings in 15 minute intervals when you can gain advice and mentorship on positioning yourself for career success. Connect with people who are positioned at various stages in the future career you plan to begin after graduation.
2. Start establishing yourself in your chosen profession. Just like every other working professional in business today, start networking with your colleagues. Many professional organizations are in conference season, and this is a perfect time network. Even if you cannot attend events, you will find that many organizations have social networking venues open online. Join in discussions and see if a live Twitter feed will be active during the conference. Research what the attendees are learning and work to integrate into your internship experience.
3. Reach out to professionals you met during your internship search. True professionals continue the relationships built during the job search into their future professional networking practice. Send business people who provided you advice and direction during your internship search an update on how you are doing over the summer. Begin discussions concerning your future plans and gain advice on the things you should be doing both in the short and long term.
4. Search alumni in the company and city where you are interning. Especially if you are interning with a large organization, you may very well have alumni in varying departments and position levels. Seek advice and mentorship from this very important population. Look to see if the company or city has events you may attend to meet other professionals in the area. Never underestimate the power of a college alumni network. Texas A&M University holds one of the most powerful alumni networks in the world.
5. Stay connected with your program’s career center. This may be the last listed, but it is certainly not the least important. While the formal “recruiting season” may not begin until September, many companies start making their collegiate travel plans very early. Get career fair dates and locations on your calendar early, start researching what companies are visiting your campus and looking at possible fulltime positions posted.
Whether you are searching for a job with another employer, working to secure a fulltime job offer within your intern company, or establishing yourself within your profession, networking will be the key to your career management success. The job search isn’t just applying for jobs. Career advancement isn’t just about doing a great job. Build relationships and learn from your peers to best position yourself success throughout your career. This summer is an ideal time to build your professional foundation for future success. Change your mindset from being a job seeker to a career manager.