Last week was Mediabistro’s intern party at Turtle Bay, and if you missed it, you missed out. And not only because the music was better than at most bars. It was a great networking opportunity for young media professionals and students.
And for media students, networking might just be as important as the clips and video reels we so desperately need to fill our portfolios. But, it’s kind of an evasive enterprise. How exactly does a lowly intern make connections in the professional world? How do we get our names out there — and not feel awkward adding people to our LinkedIn networks?
Here, after the jump, are just some ways.
1. Talk to your other interns.
No one else knows the struggles you go through at your media organization quite like your fellow interns. All those questions you have or concerns you’re feeling might be relatable to others, so go ahead and say hello. It’ll keep your shared cubicle from getting too quiet, and you’ll have made a contact who could help with job opportunities down the line. Connect with fellow interns on social media — not necessarily Facebook or Twitter — but via LinkedIn. They’re looking to build their connections as much as you are, so don’t feel weird about sending that invite.
2. Connect through alumni.
Last fall, my professor had a former student of hers, now an associate producer at ABC News, speak with us. She told us her team was looking for interns for the same program she had done a few years before, propelling a handful of Fairleigh Dickinson students (myself included) to apply. None of us got it, but I don’t think we would have even made it to the interview stage without her. And your alumni network is another way to set yourself apart from the rest of the applicants and can serve as another talking point. If the person who went to your school has a hand in the interview process, you have an instant connection.
3. Request informational interviews.
If you have never heard about these, don’t worry. I hadn’t either until last year. Basically, you just send an email to someone you admire who works in your field and ask to speak to them about their experiences in the industry. It’s not asking for a job or looking for a handout, but just another way to get your name out there. You can trade business cards and learn from someone with real-world experience. Plus, people like to talk about their successes.
4. Attend intern parties and events.
Maybe you missed last week’s intern party, hosted by Mediabistro. Don’t worry, there are definitely other opportunities like this for interns. Meetups are a chance to swap stories and information, and learn when companies might be hiring another round of interns after their current batch leaves.
Check out my other media intern posts below or follow me on Twitter at @andandrewr.