So you land at an internship; nervous and excited at the same time for the first day. You enter the office, report to the person you are supposed to report to and he gives you the work that you ought to do, you gear up and start working! You do this day in and day out and you complete your internship, get a glowing recommendation from your mentor, and you go home. Did the mission accomplish? No.
Why, do you ask? Most students have this notion about an internship. Well, internships are never just about learning the job. They are a lot more than that and the takeaway from every intern position may not be the same. However, all internships give you the opportunity to get to know more people than you knew before, not only to socialize but to build your network. This network building may come in handy in the future!
You just simply cannot miss out on the wonderful people working there — the bosses, the workers, your co-interns, even the support staff! These are the people you want to work for or work under or with. These are the people who cleared out space for you to work, the people who decided what work you get, the people who worked beside you on problems that were perhaps beyond their capability to do alone and you need to know these people. Why, do you ask?
Here are 4 major reasons networking at your workplace is very important:
1. Learn From Everyone’s Mistakes
The best way to avoid making mistakes yourself is to learn from the ones others’ have made. Learning from someone else’s experience never hurts, so go out there and pick up on what other’s missed out on. When you are on an internship or even a new job, approach your seniors, the people around you and talk to them about their jobs, their responsibilities and the pitfalls of what they do. Ask them about the best way to approach a particular problem or a general query about solving often encountered problems in the industry. Strike up a friendly conversation about their lives and ask them for advice on a topic of their choosing. Give them a stage, and they’ll come to talk! (Not literally, of course!)
2. You’d Need Friends, Officially
Although it is expected that you know your stuff, and these are often checked beforehand, you will forget something once in a while. You will screw up and will need a bail without the whole office knowing about it. This is where the few people you talked to on your first day will come in. They also come in handy when you are still in your initial stages of basic learning. You will need someone you can turn to without being intimidated. Who do you go to when faced with a situation like this? Yes, that person you can chill out with over beers after work.
3. The Holy Scroll Of Recommendation
Being good at what you do, in a company, is a good thing. However, you’d need more than just your claim of abilities on your resume to get ahead in your career. When you move on to better things in life, which includes switching your current job to a well-suited one, you will need all the praise for your skills and work ethic–to back you up. So, make nice with the people you work with. You never know who might just land you to your next dream job.
4. The Social Network
Please keep in mind that the little network of people you make at your workplace also has a little network of their own, which you can immensely benefit from. With the trends nowadays, at least every person in the country knows someone who has a start-up. If you are not that person, they know someone who is. You never know, which of your peers might end up knowing the senior person of that huge firm you have always wanted to score a position in.
So, remember next time, that internships are not just opportunities to learn new things to help you build your career or pass those drowsy summer months. These are also opportunities to help find people attuned to yourself, to learn from their experience, to find people with whom you may grow into fine individuals, both personally and professionally.