You’ve probably heard it before, but it really can’t be stressed enough. At a summer internship, it is not so much about what you’re doing, but more who you are connecting with. Networking is everything.
Throughout my group project, I have reached out to people across all divisions at Tommy. Making use of them as resources may have been the goal on the surface, but subconsciously, meeting, connecting and forming relationships was a second (maybe more important) goal. How can you transcend this barrier from a work conversation to something more? I believe it all comes down to the questions you ask.
The conversation may start with an informational question, like “Would you happen to know how much X costs?” But pivoting to a more thoughtful question, such as “Do you think we are spending to much in X area?” will help engage whoever it is you are speaking to. They have the experience, so inquiring about their experience will send the message that you are interested, you want to learn more and in turn they will be interested in you.
Breaking through these barriers with higher up people in your company can really pay off next summer when you’re looking for another internship, or maybe even a real job. It goes without saying, but where your recommendations come from is more important than what the recommendations say.
Networking up the ladder is key, but networking with peers is equally important. Especially as college kids, we are all entering the business world and you never know who will step into what roles.
Today after work, the Michigan Sport Business Conference, who I am a Marketing Manager for, is hosting a networking event for young professionals in NYC. We hope to see close to 300 college to mid-twenty year olds as well as some recruiters show up to the event. I’m ecstatic as a member of MSBC because it is great for driving our brand awareness and increasing exposure, but also because of the opportunity to network with my peers.
Whoever it may be, treat people how you want to be treated, or better (as cliche as it sounds) because relationships are everything. Networking is everything. You could know all there is to know in a field, but if you can’t work with people, if you can’t rely on people to help you succeed, you can’t get anywhere.