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Asked by Noah A. on September 5, 2017

How important is networking during an internship? Is it more beneficial to spend my time completing projects valuable to the mission of the office or would I benefit more from taking time away to have lunch/coffee with others to get name recognition?

Answered by Jacob, Hiring Expert at Textron Inc., on September 6, 2017

Networking is one of the most crucial aspects for any Intern, College Student and Professional.  During an Internship, it would be extremely wise to carve out time to meet with leaders, business unit managers, and even coworkers across different functions.  At the end of the summer, your goal is to not only have completed some type of work/ project but to have different experiences and fundamental understandings of things you enjoy doing and don't enjoy.  That is why it is key to meet with individuals across the company you are interning at to learn what goes on in these roles, and see if it something that intrigues you for your future job post graduation. I would not focus on "name recognition" rather learning about how those around you got to where they are today, and what they enjoy most about their roles.  If you ask anyone about their "passion", that will open conversation doors.  A good idea may be to ask for feedback on current projects which can engage further discussions as you continue to work on different items throughout the internship period.  The key is having "genuine conversations" and obtaining new experiences through these networking sessions.  

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Answered by Tony, Hiring Expert at Hill-Rom, on September 7, 2017

Great question! I think both objectives are equally important in terms of setting yourself for future success. It is very important to take time out of your day for meetings with various leaders across the company. This is crucial for not only building relationships around the organization but also so you can find what road you see yourself going down for the future. Pick their brains and find out what drives them, why they chose this company or profession, and what steps they took to get there. If you feel that this is interfering with getting your projects done in a timely manner, set up a breakfast, lunch, or even something after hours to ensure you are getting both things done. Also, feel free to use this time for any constructive feedback in order to help solidify your commitment to success and this also won’t go unnoticed. Completing your tasks at hand and networking go hand in hand and both can be achieved through time management and getting yourself out of your comfort zone. I hope this helps and best of luck!

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Answered by James, Hiring Expert at Broadridge, on September 8, 2017

Great question! Networking and project completion are both important aspects of your internship experience. Completing projects are a necessary part of your internship and they will really showcase your abilities to the team. Networking can also be connecting on LinkedIn, to stay in touch after your internship. Take the opportunity to shadow and learn from others in the organization.Grabbing lunch or a coffee is a great idea!

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