- All News
- Search News
- Student News
- Navigating "No"
- How to Handle Internship Rejection
- Making Meaningful Connections
- Finding Career Clarity
- Unveiling the Hub's Brand New Home
- Globalize your liberal arts education this summer in Dublin
- CANCELLED: Industry Insiders on Mar. 13
- Intern Spotlight: Adam Seltzer
- What LSA students are saying about the ALA 325 course
- Intern Spotlight: Natalie Suh
- In-person, drop-in coaching is paused until further notice
- Our coaches are online and ready to provide virtual coaching
- April Virtual Alumni Connections
- Gain critical leadership experience as a Hub ambassador
- What can LSA students be doing right now to further their career goals?
- Virtual internships in spring and summer of 2020 are now eligible for funding
- May Virtual Alumni Connections
- Get a first look into the upcoming release of LSA’s new mentoring platform
- Sign up for June's coach-led workshops
- Why early career exploration really matters
- Alum Story: Discover how this 2009 English grad secured his first job during the housing market crash
- Alum Story: Find out how this LSA alum turned his ‘baseball’ career aspirations into a reality
- August's Employer Connections
- What’s ‘Happening’ virtually this Fall at the LSA Opportunity Hub
- Discover what LSA’s online community has been buzzing about
- RSVP for Fall's career-building workshops
- Fostering career connections from home
- A transformation from on-site and in-person to virtual and remote
- Alum Story: Hear how this LSA alum and Detroit native transformed tragedy into human achievement
- Alum Story: From schoolcraft to statecraft
- Connecting all Corners
- LSA Connect turns six months!
- Host an LSA student’s virtual internship this summer
- More than $350,000 awarded to LSA students as virtual internship support
- Are virtual internships as valuable as on-site ones? The experts weigh in with a resounding “Yes”
- 2021 Internship Forum
- Alum Story: A journey to the center of the self
- Student spotlight: Unlocking the mysteries of the human body—and demystifying the career exploration journey
- 2021 Grad School Fair
- Hub Industry Groups
- How to (net)work your way into a new career opportunity
- Graduating Hub intern shares that working at the Hub was more than just an internship experience
- More than just students: setting the Hub up for success
- In the “room” where it happens
- Applied Liberal Arts courses at the Hub
- Leveraging your LSA alum network as a recent graduate
- The road to discovery: An LSA alum looks back on how she found fulfillment in an unlikely place
- Three science alums, three very different career journeys
- Career fairs: an opportunity to explore, connect, and practice
- What is ‘career exploration’—and why does it matter?
- Three alums, three identities, three incredibly diverse career paths
- Internships: A way to trying on different careers for size
- An inside look into career coaching
- Where will your LSA degree take you?
- Waste not, want not
- 2022 LSA Internship Fair
- Making career choices with a little help from your LSA friends
- "Be your own advocate"
- 2022 Grad School Fair
- Take the pressure off
- Unlocking your next internship opportunity
- The Grad School Question
- How to Get Hired
- Navigating the unexpected
- Putting your LSA degree to work
- Networking: The key that unlocks career opportunities and mentoring support
- Dispelling common career myths
- Part Two: Dispelling common career myths
- To all summer interns
- Signing off
- What is Social Capital?
- 5 Ways to Make the Most of Your Undergraduate Career
- 4 Ways to Look After Your Mental Health as a Student
- So, you’re considering a virtual internship?
- Navigating Internship Rejection
- LSA Opportunity Hub Offers Free Professional Headshots For U-M LSA Students
- The 2023 LSA Internship Fair: Employers hiring winter and summer interns
- Reflections From a Recent BIPOC Grad Student Roundtable
- 3 Ways LSA Connect Will Help Launch Your Career
- Peer Coaching
- Upgrade Your LSA Engage Profile
- All Events
As a college student, sometimes a power dynamic can be felt when working alongside professionals during an internship or summer job: they have loads of professional experience and, well, you may not have much. Although it may feel like there’s a divide not just in experience but also in age and background, as an intern, it’s important to recognize that your colleagues–no matter how temporary–want to make connections with you just as much as you want to connect with them.
A lot of the time, we focus on networking and building connections as a prerequisite to securing an internship or job offer. But what tends to be forgotten is the practice of networking during summer internships.
Not only can these relationships enhance your work experience, but they are an opportunity to begin to build your network of working world professionals before you even graduate: this can include your supervisor, fellow interns, direct team members, or colleagues from different departments.
Finding organic ways to connect in the workplace
Where should you start? Who should you start with? How should you ask?
Megan Elliot, one of our Hub Coaches, suggests students begin with their supervisors.
“If a student has a relationship with their supervisor where they feel comfortable to bounce ideas around with or engage in larger scale conversations, like professional development or goals, I think they can be a good advocate to lean on during your internship. And their supervisors can also help them connect with other people in the organization.”
After involving your supervisor and letting them know your objectives, they can make suggestions or initiate those conversations.
"Your colleagues–no matter how temporary–want to make connections with you just as much as you want to connect with them."
Alyssa Hurd, a rising fourth year majoring in Psychology and minoring in Business, interns this summer at Opendoor, a real estate tech company.
“If you're at an internship this summer, start by looking through your company directory and just find people that have interesting jobs or work in a department you’re interested in. For me specifically, I looked at employees on the people team because I know that that's where I wanted to work.”
Additionally, be cognizant of day-to-day tasks where you interact with other employees. These can be great opportunities to form an initial connection. Alyssa has connected with professionals on her team.
“I found people to talk to by being on projects with them or sitting in a meeting with them. I'd just slack them afterwards and be like, ‘Hey, I'm interested in what you do. I'd really love to sit down for fifteen minutes and chat with you about your job.’”
If you are nervous about cold emailing or cold slacking other professionals, you can find natural ways of connections like through your supervisor or working on a project. Both options are a perfect segue to asking to chat and get to know each other better.
Approaching professionals is easier than you think
“It's scary at first [connecting with others] for no reason. It's so funny because I've done networking and I'm a huge believer in networking, so I do it all the time, but I still get some butterflies when I'm typing out the LinkedIn message or the Slack message. But I remind myself that if they say ‘no’, that's the worst case scenario. When you think about it, all they can do is say ‘no’, and then you just go on to the next person.”
Typically, employees want to talk to and get to know their interns: if the interns are willing to put in the effort to reach out.
Megan advises students: “Most people like to talk about their own experience and to help people, which helps to mitigate some of those anxious feelings. One thing that would be helpful is putting yourself in the shoes of that person. If you fast forward 10 years and an LSA student reached out to you and asked for support, how would you react? Most people would be willing to help, especially somebody who's interested in entering a career that you currently have experience in.”
"Be cognizant of day-to-day tasks where you interact with other employees - these can be great opportunities to form an initial connection."
LSA Connect can help remove a lot of the guesswork out of reaching out to an alum. Not only are the personalized recommended profiles helpful with finding alum aligned with your career goals, but it makes reaching out to them a breeze. With pre-built introductory messages to choose from when reaching out to alum, the automated process allows students to focus on who they want to connect with and why: not as much their anxieties about what to say.
After reaching out, you’ll want to draft some questions to ask: be sure to look through the Hub’s guide to informational interviews with example questions and ideas of what research to do prior to connecting. If you’re an informational interview novice, feel free to schedule an appointment with a Hub coach to review a list read through questions or create some together.
Respect and authenticity: two key parts of showing up to an informational interviews
As the definition of professionalism ebbs and flows with workplace and societal norms, it can feel inauthentic and robotic at times to put on some façade of professionalism. Megan emphasizes the power of students showing up as themselves.
“I think it’s important with informational interviews to make sure that you're showing up as yourself, because it will really help you build an authentic connection with a working professional who was once in your shoes once.”
During informational interviews, it is important to be respectful — no slouching, no texting during the conversation, etc. — but informational interviews should be seen as a more casual coffee chat with someone you want to glean information from about their professional life.
A benefit of this authentic approach to networking can be that you receive more candid explanations and experiences from an industry insider as well as gaining confidence and experience for that next interaction.
Utilizing LSA Connect to build your network
Regardless if you have an established summer internship with professionals to connect with, the summer is a great time to begin to expand your network without a full load of classes and student organizations commitments vying for your time.
There are many networking platforms to utilize, including LinkedIn, but LSA Connect can set up LSA undergrads with the tools and resources to start this process effortlessly.
"The summer is a great time to begin to expand your network without a full load of classes and student organizations commitments vying for your time."
“There are so many opportunities on LSA Connect to find alums who align with areas you're interested in exploring or areas you know you want to pursue. It’s important to identify what your goals are for connecting because then on LSA Connect you can use search filters that align with your goals,” Megan shares.
The Hub’s network tracking guide facilitates this goal setting process and is a great place to begin building your network this summer.
Let’s say you want to explore different career options within your major: start by reaching out to different alum who share your major with you but are in different industries or locations. LSA Connect makes this process easy with community filters that range from shared identities to majors to location.
Mentors and mentees on LSA Connect all have one thing in common — they are U-M LSA grads — so you already have shared experience and a common denominator that bonds you.
Alyssa advises, “My LSA Connect conversations are a little bit more focused on the Michigan experience. I tend to reach out to people on LSA connect because of the company that they're at or the role that they have. Then my questions are a little bit more focused on their university experience, because I know we have that in common.”