How to network on campus for internships

You know how to network at the freshman picnic to make new friends. But what about networking at school for future internship opportunities? Your target audience includes professors, the campus career center, alumni, and campus visitors as well as other students.

Most professors respond positively to students who express interest in their fields. Select a few professors who teach courses that you’d like to explore for career options and ask for some suggestions on possible internships in that area. Since many professors act as consultants with outside companies, they are a great source of contacts for you.

Next, visit your campus career center on a regular basis, getting to know the staff and letting the staff get to know your interests. If possible, let the career counselors know well in advance when you’d like to do an internship, so you can have early pick of the prime internships. Sign up for the center’s online newsletter or to receive mailings about special events.

More and more alumni are getting involved in their alma mater’s search for the best internships for undergraduates.  The alumni office is a good place to check in to find out your options. Some schools pair undergraduates with alumni, ensuring that the students get first-hand help in obtaining an internship.  Volunteer to help out with an alumni event, which will guarantee that you’ll be able to network with people who can help you find a future internship.

When visiting speakers come to campus, make sure that you attend their talks and introduce yourself afterwards. It’s perfectly acceptable to ask for their business cards and write a follow-up letter, requesting an informational interview about internship possibilities. Lastly, take advantage of all the opportunities you have on campus to interact with other students, learning about potential internships based on their experiences and contacts.  Join as many organizations as possible to enlarge your networking opportunities and obtain referrals for internships.