Many students and young workers are beginning their summer internships. Of course, on-the-job work experience is a vital part of learning and growing as a professional. It’s how you can stand out to your current and future employers, understand the ins and outs of an industry, and gain great contacts. However, there’s another way to stand out in your summer internships you may not have thought of: Social networking.
The power of social networking is obviously undeniable. Facebook recently unveiled it has 1.1 billion users. There are more bloggers out there than new restaurants. Tumblr is being bought by mega-giant Yahoo! And, 67 percent of adults use social networking sites in some capacity.
Get the picture yet?
When you combine social networking with your summer internship, you can create a more fulfilling experience. Here are some ways to get started:
Blog about it
Think of blogging as a modern day “diary” of your work experience. You can relay your day-to-day activities, present your accomplishments, and track your results. Plus, having a blog is great portfolio piece to have on hand, in your current internship and in the future.
Tip: Mix up your content! You don’t have to just write about your experiences. Take videos, post pictures, ask your co-interns and even your boss to guest blog. It’s all about creating a variety of content so your blog is more exciting to your readers.
In addition, check out what other interns have done to get started. For example, interns at Accenture have blogged about their experiences, from maintaining work-life balances to providing advice to other interns.
Social media is a great place to start a conversation. For instance, if permitted, you can tweet to customers or potential users about the organization. Conversely, you can also reach out to those who you’re already working with on LinkedIn. As an intern, this is an easy way to not only show off your expertise, but also stand out through your social networking platforms in different ways.
Tip: You represent your brand now. Posting inappropriate content or information that does not align with your company’s values or missions won’t help you to create the right kinds of conversations. Instead, match every tweet, Facebook post, or blog entry to what your organization is trying to portray.
For example, if you are working for an environmental law firm, it doesn’t make sense to reach out to the wrong customer base. Conversely, bashing competitors on your social media channels doesn’t create the right conversation. Evaluate what you want to say, align it to what your organization wants to say, and create conversations that will provide value.
Don’t be negative
It can be so easy to turn your social networking platforms into a negative space. However, try to avoid this. First, being the stereotypical “ungrateful” intern isn’t good for anyone. Next, remember that the Internet is written in ink. Bashing your boss, tweeting about how bored you are, or blogging about a bad experience is bad for your reputation.
For instance, check out what a former Marc Jacob’s intern had to say about his last few experiences with the designer. Although the intern was tweeting from the company account, it likely won’t help them to maintain a relationship with the designer, or anyone else in the space.
Tip: If you have to put something negative out into the Internet, put a positive spin on it. For example, if you had a bad day, blog about how you could improve your experiences next time. That way, your current boss or a potential employer can see how you made light of a less than stellar event.
Stay active and be humble
You may get lucky and have an awesome internship experience. However, many interns aren’t as lucky. When you don’t have a good day or even a good few months, remember to stay humble, as well as active, on your social networks. That is, don’t go dark. Thank your employer for their time on the company page or post your gratitude on your platforms. This will assure you leave on a good note, even if you didn’t have the greatest internship experience.
Tip: Thank each member of your group individually, whether on Facebook, Google+, LinkedIn, Twitter, your blog, or any other platform. You can even post a funny anecdote or a stand-out experience that made your time with the company more memorable. They’ll not only “feel the love,” you’ll be able to continue the conversation past your time with the organization.
As you can see, using social networking is a great way to stand out in your summer internships. Be sure to use each platform correctly in order to take full advantage of them.
What do you think? What are some other ways to stand out in your summer internships?