Posted by Brian McCullough
I was contacted this morning by an old client of mine. About 5 years back, I helped this guy write 4 resumes in about 18 months for 4 different internships.
The internships were in all sorts of different industries. The guy didn’t quite know what career he wanted to end up in and thus figured he should sample as much as he could.
This guy is in PR in Washington DC now, and doing quite well. I’m not surprised to hear from him… he always was a master networker, and he always keeps in touch with you. I’m actually gonna meet him for drinks when I’m in DC a week from now.
Anyhoo… I told him about this blog and that got us into a discussion of internships and networking in general. I asked him what was the most valuable thing about his internshiping experience, and his answer surprised me. So, I asked him if I could share what he emailed me. Here ’tis (some details change to protect privacy):
The networking part of internships that has been the most interesting to me has been the connections I made with other interns. See, most people think the connections you want to make in an internship are amongst established people already in the industry. Certainly, that’s true to a certain extent. There’s a lot of people looking to learn and looking for mentors.
But my internship experiences were very much like college. We were all young. We were all fearless. We worked hard and partied hard. We became roommates with one another. Yes, some of us slept with others of us. But we’ve all stayed in touch. I guess it’s like that college dorm experience. You always stay friends with your buds across the hall from you. We were all young and “in the wars” together, so there was this sort of internship brotherhood that developed.
And those have been my longest lasting connections. Because, think about it, we’re all coming up in the professional world together. Today’s intern, thirty years later, is the CEO. As my friends rise, we all rise together and we help each other out. And we don’t have any stigma of being low man on the totem pole. We were all low together. Whereas, my “mentors” will always see me in something of a lower role, a young whippersnapper. And hey, those guys above me, those “mentors” are literally dying off. Meanwhile, the Brotherhood of Interns is sticking together to inherit the world.
Even if we’re not exactly in the same line of work, you never know when a connection will pay off. One girl I know is now a mid-level reporter with (NEWSPAPER NAME). Another guy is a deputy chief of staff for (CONGRESS PERSON NAME). Maybe one day it will be Editor and Congressman in their own right. And they’ll remember me as an equal and a friend. Of course by that time, I hope to be (EXECUTIVE TITLE)!
Anyway, if my experience is any indication, I’d tell your reads to kiss up to the established people and learn as much as they can from their mentors. Absolutely. But don’t forget to make strong connections with your fellow interns! And don’t lose track of those connections!
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