Friday, July 26, 2013

How to Network with Your Contacts

Image Courtesy of the University of South Australia via Flickr

Hello there, Edsters,

Because I work besides my editors, I feel that it’s too weird to request an informational interview. For anyone who doesn’t know (I had to Wikipedia the term the first time I heard it), an informational interview is something that every intern should have.

Typically you’ll meet with a higher-up that has a job that you’re interested in, and you’ll ask them any questions you might have about what they do and how they got there.

It’s a great way to evaluate how you are doing in comparison, and what you should do once you’re finished with your internship.

Anyway, I knew I wanted to have an informational with someone, but I wasn’t sure with whom. I decided to look outside of the company.

Back when I was 15 cover letters deep in my search for an internship, I had a phone interview with this one editor in New York. Although the interview went well, Alyssa* wasn’t able to hire me.

After accepting my internship with the Mag, I was offered a paying job with a travel stipend. Alyssa had referred her friend to me, and that referral landed me a paying position.

I was so flattered that Alyssa thought of me, I shot her an email to thank her. Now, only a few short months later, I emailed her again to get coffee and discuss her career. We’re meeting in a few weeks.

The industry has always emphasized the importance of networking—it’s all about who you know. However, it’s important to maintain those relations and strengthen them. I’ve never met Alyssa in person, so strengthening our initial connection is so important.

Even if you aren’t interning this summer, email someone whom you admire and see if they want to grab coffee and chat about their career. Edsters, any other tips for maintaining professional relationships? Sound off here.

Stay proactive this summer,

Shelter Intern

*Name has been changed

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