One of the biggest aspects of an internship that you should be using to your advantage is networking. Getting to meet people in your company who have career experience and advice to share with you can prove a phenomenal resource. Through networking, you can learn from people’s experiences, ask questions, and potentially hear about new job opportunities as well!
As a remote intern, networking is still very much possible! Companies around the world have been doing this for much of the year, and even before COVID-19. Zoom meetings, team virtual movie nights, video call trivia, and other fun team-building activities have become all the rage in 2020!
While networking remotely does involve a bit of a different approach, there are many strategies you can implement to ensure you can continue networking, even while remote! Check out some of our tips for how virtual interns can still network remotely!
Introduce yourself (or ask to be introduced)
This one seems pretty obvious, but the first step in networking is always the introduction! Saying ‘hello’ and starting that first conversation can lead to a successful mentor-mentee relationship, and that’s why this first introduction is very important.
If you’re comfortable, try reaching out to someone with whom you want to network. This could be a member of your company who you’ve not yet spoken with, or perhaps someone you met at a recent webinar or company Zoom meeting. Sometimes, it can also be a good idea to have someone else make the introduction to make things a little bit easier. If you want to be connected with other people from your company, but have never been properly introduced, ask your supervisor to connect you!
After that first initial introduction, you’ll need to ensure you continue to grow your relationship with your colleagues and other mentors. Periodically checking in with people is a great way to keep conversations going, and show people that you’re thinking about them and want to see how they’re doing.
Try sending an email every so often to say “hello”, and perhaps ask for the opportunity to have a call to catch up! Most people appreciate receiving a nice email saying “Hi! I hope you’ve been staying well and things are going well in your department. How has your week been?” Of course, check-in calls are even better and allow you the chance to talk with your colleague and continue to build rapport.
Add teammates on LinkedIn
LinkedIn is another great outlet for being able to check in with people! This is especially true after you’re internship concludes, as you’ll want to make sure you keep these relationships going after you’ve left your company! It is very common for people to add their colleagues on LinkedIn, which is a great way to also build your own network through the networks of your colleagues!
LinkedIn is also an excellent platform to meet people in your field of interest. Perhaps you have a common connection with someone, and decide to reach out to them to ask about their line of work. This type of informational interview is an excellent avenue for learning more about your field, from the perspective of someone who has done it!
Join professional development groups
While networking within your organization is important, it is also great to try and meet people through online groups and communities. There are many social media channels such as Facebook groups, LinkedIn groups, and Slack which offer the opportunities to network with other professionals in your field of interest.
If you’re looking to join a career-related group, start by searching key terms like “engineering professionals” or something involving your area such as “business professionals in New York City”. Your searches will likely yield many great results of communities and groups you can join to start networking!
Arrange an informational interview
An informational interview is an excellent way to pick someone’s brain and hear more about their career pathway, experience, achievements, and current role. In an informational interview, you as the interviewer would prepare a series of questions you would like the interviewee to answer. Your interviewee can be a colleague, supervisor, or anyone you’ve met through a mutual contact or a cold outreach!
It is typically the role of the mentee to set up the informational interview, so try reaching out to ask if someone is available and decide on a time. Be sure to send along a series of questions, and take very detailed notes during your informational interview!
However you choose to network, make sure you’re making an effort as this is one of the major benefits of an internship! Being surrounded by experts in your field who you can reach out to for information and advice is a wonderful resource. If you’re interested in joining an online internship for networking, consider checking out Virtual Internships!