Network your way to the perfect internship

Posted by S Donaldson on 29 May 2015

linkedinThe summer break is a great chance to get your foot on the career ladder by interning. If you haven’t lined something up yet, don’t worry, there’s still time. LinkedIn’s Darain Faraz shares his top tips for using LinkedIn to bag an internship.

Don’t be invisible

The first place most recruiters and businesses look for employees and interns is online and if you’re not visible, you risk missing out.

Students are the fastest growing member group on LinkedIn so set up a profile profile and, if you’re looking for an internship, shout about it. By stating that you’re actively looking for a placement in your headline and summary, you’ll give the 17 million UK professionals on the network a green light to approach you with relevant opportunities - without having to do the legwork yourself.

It’s important to complete all the sections of your profile to give potential employers a sense of who you are and what you can offer.

Big up your experience

Remember, your work experience isn’t just work you’ve been paid for or done full time. You’ll have gained valuable skills from voluntary positions, part time work, extra-curricular activities or academic projects, so use these as examples to demonstrate your talents.

You could even ask your university tutors to give you a recommendation if you think you’ve impressed them during your studies. LinkedIn recommendations are a great endorsement for any prospective employers.

Nurture your network

Once you’ve built a killer profile, it’s time to start building your network. Connect and keep in touch with family, friends and colleagues from university, previous internships or volunteering roles. Even your neighbour could be the link between you and a great work placement.

It only takes 50 trusted connections to make an impact on your network so get connecting. You can use LinkedIn’s University Pages to find out where people from your university ended up and connect with them for advice and introductions.

Become an expert easily

You’re well on the way to becoming an expert in your degree subject, but you probably don’t know a huge amount about different professional sectors. LinkedIn’s Pulse, Industry Groups and Company Pages are an easy way to learn about an industry you’re interested in and keep of track of companies within it. This could be a big advantage when applying for a placement.

If you’re still not sure which area you want to work in, experiment! There’s nothing wrong with doing shorter placements to test the water and you’ll gain heaps of experience in the process.

It doesn’t happen overnight

Do the best you can with the time you have, but be realistic. You probably won’t build a huge network overnight or nab the first internship you come across; don’t put undue pressure on yourself at an already stressful time of year and take a “little and often” approach.

Just 9 minutes a day spent making new connections or honing your profile on LinkedIn is all it takes to make an impact. Working this into your daily revision schedule is a great way to get the benefits without committing hours of your time.

Darain Faraz is a spokesperson for LinkedIn, the world’s largest professional network. For more tips on bagging an internship, click here.

Topics: networking

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