I recently connected a college junior with a new business associate who is also a local employer. This particular young lady, Julie Hannan, is the daughter of my good friend Barbara. The most important thing I try to do as a connector is find a great match. You may be the connector ( like me) or the student (like Julie) or even the parent of a student seeking an internship (like Barbara).
Students need to leverage all of their networking opportunities in order to find the right internships. If you are working your network well, you can expect to get introductions to new contacts and interesting employers. Here are the best ways for a student to react to these types of introductions.
- Do not delay with research and follow through. Julie immediately jumped on the opportunity and did her research. She found that the employer was a good fit by studying the company website. She made contact right away. Show your enthusiasm to the employer. Find out the special things that you can mention. Julie studied the website. I got an email from her stating “Their philosophy and approach are very unique – and exactly what I am looking for.” She quickly uncovered what was special about this employer. I expect Julie to be able to connect well during any communications or interview as a result.
- Thank your connector. Julie’s email went on to say “Thank you for the guidance – I am drafting a response to Josh’s email as we speak .” As the connector, I am very interested in Julie’s success. The fact that she kept me in the loop makes me even more vested. I expect to hear more as she continues her internship search.
- Repeat this process. Again. This particular opportunity may or may not result in an internship. College students need to have many of these type of opportunities working at one time. Students who only pursue one opportunity are often disappointed. Most likely you didn’t apply to only one college right?
Note that if you find that the company is not a good match for you, determine that early on but remember to still thank the employer and the connector.
Finding internship opportunities through networking will result in a much higher “win rate” than applying through an online portal. You still want to play it smart with great follow-up, enthusiasm, and appreciation. Personalize your approach and you are on to a winning networking plan. Julie did all of these things very well. How do you show enthusiasm and appreciation while you network in your internship search?