Getting Personal: Networking in the Age of Social Media

Photo: Social Media, Flickr Creative Commons 2013
Photo: Social Media, Flickr Creative Commons 2013

Words of Wisdom from Greenough’s Summer InternsThe ubiquity of social media has made it difficult to imagine networking any other way. But leading up to, and throughout our internship with Greenough, we’ve learned that there’s a lot more to effective networking than a ‘Tweet’ or a ‘Like.’ Let us put this into perspective. I (Jillian) once went to a career fair with the determination to find myself a great internship. I was dressed to impress, I had researched the companies in advance and I had printed out several resumes. I talked to a recruiter, we hit it off and we exchanged contact information. I was off to a great start! That night I emailed the recruiter to thank her for talking with me, added her on LinkedIn, liked the company’s Facebook page, and Tweeted at them.  I used every form of virtual follow up that I could......and got zero response. I thought I had done everything right.

In the age of technology, connecting to potential employers should be simpler than ever before - after all, nearly every company solicits contact through its social media.  But as we've found out, connecting online is not always enough. So what’s a job-seeking college intern to do? The bottom line is traditional methods of networking such as phone calls and written letters are still essential for creating strong connections in today’s professional environment. The trick is combining both the traditional school of thought with today’s digital media-rich environment.

Photo: Thank You, Flickr Creative Commons 2013
Photo: Thank You, Flickr Creative Commons 2013

Based on our past experiences, successes and failures, we’ve compiled a list of do’s and don’ts for students looking to land an internship or just network in general.

Do’s

  • Call to follow up with a contact
  • Meet people in person
  • Follow up with thank yous: letters, notes, emails, social media
  • Connect on Linkedin, Twitter, and Facebook before and after networking events
  • Find common ground (personal and professional)
  • Make moves: Don’t sit back and wait for people to come to you
  • Network everywhere!!
  • Make sure your social networks are professional and “clean” (don’t post unprofessional statuses, untag Facebook photos etc.)
  • Invest time to enhance your LinkedIn profile

Don’ts

  • Text/leave your phone on when at a networking event or meeting with a contact
  • Limit your circle to contacts within your career (you never know who could help you)
  • Skip an event because you are not as knowledgeable in the subject as others at the event. Attending is a great way to make new connections
  • Be impersonal, try to make a connection with most, and say hello to all!
  • Turn down chances for lunch or coffee with colleagues in higher positions or other interns. Let others get to know you on a personal level
  • Pass up any opportunity to learn new skills, no matter how complicated they may seem
  • Be afraid to ask questions, even the ones that seem simple
Photo: Hand Written Letter, Flickr Creative Commons 2013
Photo: Hand Written Letter, Flickr Creative Commons 2013

From a current intern to a future intern, stitching together traditional and online methods of engagement not only makes connections stronger, but also bridges the gap between more experienced professionals and the new tech-savvy workers of today.

Contributed by Greenough interns Jillian Rosa, Caitlin Cimino, Becca Giller, and Charles Hoang