Tuesday, May 3rd 2016 was the last time that I will ever make copies, run social media accounts or edit press releases…for someone else, anyway. In the spirit of the “selfish millennial”, I am deciding to go my own way by spending the next summer as my very own intern! Visit my Tumblr to hear about my experience of shunning the intern life to create my own business and promote myself and my dreams (or if you prefer WP, you can come here every Tuesday to see a recap of the previous weeks posts).
This summer will be all about shattering what the stereotypical work lifestyle has to be, discovering the various challenges and benefits in becoming your own intern, and a lot of other things that your parents and guidance counselors won’t approve of.
“My best advice for Networking? #DO or GO HOME! An investment is only an investment when you put in the work, when you fully show up, when you do something even if it is uncomfortable.”
Journal #9: The InternofMe Guide to Networking Events
The other day, I went to my first networking event of the summer. I have been to networking events in the past, and I’ll tell you first hand- you only get better at being a networker by attending as many of these as you can. After awhile the awkward smiles and the fumbling handshakes will end. Here are my top tips for networking interns!
BRING: Attire that makes you feel and look great, hand sanitizer (not joking) notebook and pen, your business card, your perfected elevator pitch, your willingness to show up, be yourself and have a good time!
(1) Perfect your elevator pitch
I find it best to practice this pitch before hand. Write out what you do and who you are as a professional, and then trim it down until its a clear, simple pitch under 30 seconds. This is what you will say when you meet someone new!
(2) If you’re a student, use your student status
The event I went to was around $30-50. As a student, I was able to get in FREE! Flaunt it if you got it. Make sure to let people know that you’re a college student- it gets you free stuff and often more connections since everyone assumes your’e not competition. P.S: Mention what college you go to. Whenever I meet fellow Rutgers alumni they are excited to help me/connect in any way they can!
(3) Make diverse connections
Though I mostly work with Communications professionals, I still try to get as many connections as I can in as many fields as I can. For one, it makes for some interesting conversation about a new industry. Two, a diverse network is a great way to help you broaden your audience, and meet the friends of friends that can get you new opportunities.
(4) Take notes, take pictures, do you!
I am a compulsive note taker, and I found myself trying not to take notes during one entrepreneurs speech. I loved everything he was saying and was trying my hardest not to reach for my notebook, and scream nube to all the surrounding entrepreneurs. Then, I figured: what the heck! There is no shame in showing how eager I am to learn, and how excited/passionate I am about my work. That being said, take notes, ask for a picture with someone you admire- be yourself!
(5) If you go with a friend, don’t stick together the whole time.
It’s great if you have a friend to visit one of these events with, but try not to be with each other the whole, entire time! It gets too easy to stick near the free wine and only talk to them. Why not strategize? With a team, more connections can be made! Make it a competition even- how many meaningful connections can you make in an hour?
(6) Exchange business cards or names with whoever you connect with
This is super important! It’s important to have great conversations. It’s ESSENTIAL to keep the conversation going after the event. One way I make sure this happens is by asking: “Can we exchange cards?” rather than “Can I give you my card” and assuming they will hand theirs back to me.
(7) Wait in line for the speakers who are worth it
Who did you see that astounded you? Who gave a presentation that hit all of your values? Though it will be annoying to wait in line to personally talk to them, you should do it! This will most likely be your only chance, and showing appreciation goes a long way.
(8) Don’t let the demographics of the event get you down
I am an activist, which means I acknowledge the systems of privilege that guide the experiences of underprivileged groups and I try to correct this by spreading awareness. As a black woman going to an entrepreneurial event, you can bet that the demographics were very white and very male. Being a female, a person of color, disabled, gay, etc. can make it even more stressful to network. My advice is to acknowledge your emotions, breathe and jump right in to the rest of these tips. Definitely talk to trusted friends and mentors about your feelings concerning these experiences.
(9) Don’t feel awkward- remember that everyone else is there to network, too!
(10) Follow up on LinkedIn and social media the day after
A connection is not truly made until it’s social media official. Make sure to use the big pile of business cards you have and connect with the people you met online! This will lead to future opportunities and help you to stay in the know about what everyone else is doing.
Do you have any tips to add?
Journal Entry #10: Traveling As Your Own Intern
As the #internofme, I am not held down by time or place. I can switch up my schedule as much as I want and I can work from anywhere I want. That’s why this Sunday, I am leaving the USA and spending the month of June in Sweden with my boyfriend. Though I will be getting some vacation time, I also intend to make the most of my time as an intern during my travels. If you are your own intern and you can work from anywhere, here’s some advice on making the most of your travel experience:
Network Wherever You Go
The last time I was in Sweden, I had an informational interview with an award winning writer and photographer. It was great to hear about their experience and it was also great to make a connection in a country I would love to live in one day. If the informational interview isn’t quite your thing why not host a meet up, attend a local conference or just strike up a conversation in a cafe with someone new?
Learn About Your Field in the Country You’re Visiting
My dream career would be public speaking and writing full time, but I also am an RA and would love to seek out student affairs opportunities when I graduate. That being said, during my time in Sweden I am visiting various colleges because I am interested in how their systems work. I want to understand the culture that they have and see if there’s any interesting ways of living/working that I can integrate into my own work. This knowledge will make me more versatile. If you’re in the arts, talk to some performers. If you’re in business, visit a company and check out the culture. In other words, globalize your education!
If You are Traveling With Someone Be Up Front about Your Work
As much as I look forward to trying new cuisines and relaxing and taking as much vacation time as possible, I also had to make it clear to my boyfriend that a portion of my days visiting would be used to work. I have to create a fairly rigorous schedule so that I can make sure I am still getting my many projects finished. Before I leave, I am completing a bulk of what’s left on my to-do list so that the first few days I’m in Sweden, I can focus on vacation time. My advice? Make your position clear, and tell your travel partner about your commitment so they aren’t surprised if you disappear to a cafe for a bit.
Use Your Flight Time Wisely
Many people spend their flights sleeping, watching movies or playing candy crush. I say: why not use that time to get some work done? Plan a schedule of each email you have to write and each tweet you have to post the next time you get WiFi and you’re off! A notebook or the Evernote on your phone could be helpful so you don’t lose any information.
Make Sure a Great Internet Connection Is Available
Speaking of cafes… There are many places you can go to use free WiFi during travel. Cafes are just one of many. Check out local libraries, college campuses, certain restaurants and EVEN your very own hotel or hostel. Take advantage of as much free WiFi as you can. It starts to get pricey overseas when you want to pay for it.
Document Your Travel Experiences
I have a travel blog: Theliterarylocal.com , where I document my bookish travels. This is a great way to keep me writing and getting examples of my work out there. Are you a great photographer? Start an Instagram. Are you a great communicator? Take some videos and put them on YouTube! I am a firm believer in side hustles. What will yours be?
Remember to Have Fun
Schedule out your time and desired outcomes before you go so that you’re not working all the time. It’s important to remember that you’re still on vacation! There’s a time to hustle, and a time to relax. Know the difference 🙂
Where are you planning on traveling this summer? Do you have any ideas on how to make the most of your travel experience both personally and professionally?
“Give yourself permission to work harder, take a break, make mistakes and enjoy success. You’ve done it and you’re doing it. Don’t be afraid to shine!”