Alexa Spieler is a sophomore at New York University, currently majoring in Media, Culture, and Communication and minoring in the Business of Entertainment, Media, and Technology and Hebrew and Judaic Studies. She is also a Wasserman Peer in Career. When she is not in class or at the Washington Square News’ office, she enjoys attending and photographing concerts, binge watching “Parks and Recreation” and “30 Rock” on Netflix, and going to New York Yankees games. After completing her undergraduate career at NYU, she aspires to matriculate to law school, in hopes of becoming an entertainment lawyer in Los Angeles.
Though the summer signifies completing finals and having a break from coursework, do not let the warm weather, BBQs, and beach visitations preclude you from expanding your network. Take advantage of the summer and use it as an opportunity to build upon your network and get ahead of most of your peers. Below are our tips for networking during the summer.
1. Attend Events: The summer may appear to be a period of downtime, similar to Christmas time, but plenty of companies consistently hold networking events throughout the summer. Eventbrite is a great source for locating these networking events, especially by city. Attend these summer networking events, but also be mindful of the fact that the relationship-building aspects of it will come naturally — don’t be too pushy. The easiest way to do this is to simply ask people about themselves — their careers, their goals, their accomplishments. At any and all networking events, it is never to be forgotten that people absolutely, unequivocally love talking about themselves, so be sure to take advantage of this, over the summer and at future networking events.
2. If You’re Interning, Express Your Interests: Though I wouldn’t recommend this at the beginning of an internship, when you are first adapting to the company’s environment, I have come to realize that the majority of internships are what you make of them. If the company that you are interning has departments other than the one that you are interning in, and you have an interest in that department, speak up to your advisor. More often than not, your advisor at the internship will be open to letting you explore that opportunity or aspect of the company. It may be for a day or so, as in you could potentially work in that department for the day, but no matter what, you will obtain exposure to a department that you would not necessarily be granted if you hadn’t spoken up. Internships are meant to be a learning experience and are a time for you to contribute to the company’s team, but also to narrow down the fields and departments in which you can see yourself potentially working in, full-time. Even if you learn that you do not enjoy that department, you will simultaneously be expanding your network and learning more about your career interests. You never know who else or what else those people know.
3.Reach Out To And Follow-Up With Contacts: It might be summer break, but that doesn’t mean that people in your network are also taking a break. Someone once gave me the advice to reach out to people in your network once every season. Even if it’s something as simple as checking-in on how they are doing, telling them about an article you saw about the business, or a quick email about the weather and then asking how they are, you want to maintain the relationships that you have already established. Reaching out in the simplest way and checking-in — whether it be through email, social media, or a phone call (if you email them asking them for a good time to call), is such an easy way to maintain and build upon your already established networks. Perhaps, you are looking for an internship when you return to New York in the fall, and keeping in touch with your current contacts is an impeccable way to do so. If you are staying in the area of your last internship, perhaps arrange a visit to your old office or arrange a lunch with your former boss — keeping these connections going is such an easy, relaxed thing to do over the summer, when executed properly.
4. Order Business Cards: It may seem like such a simple thing, but if you will be attending networking events, you are going to want to have business cards at your disposable. Whenever you are attending an industry event, a networking event, or a career fair, it is crucial to have your business cards ready-to-hand-out. Even if you do not currently hold a job or an internship, be sure to utilize the business cards in a manner that highlights your collegiate experiences, your major, and your previous experiences, along with providing your contact information — email and phone number, making it increasingly easy to get in touch with you.
5. Make A Goal: In conjunction with those who are interning, you should make at least one goal that you would like to accomplish by the end of your interning experience. What is something that you have always sought to do within your field, but previous internship experiences have not offered that opportunity? Early in the summer, set your one goal, and maybe create a list of multiple goals, as you increasingly immerse yourself in the position and as you better learn the company environment.