The first step in building your professional network is as easy as sending an email.
You’ve packed a lunch, put on a new blazer and found the building where you’ll be working. All that’s left to do is walk through the door and begin the first day of your internship. Easier said than done, right?
Exciting as it may be, starting an internship can bring its fair share of challenges: you’ll need to find your way around the office, remember all sorts of new information and (on top of it all) do your job.
You may be tempted to put your head down and churn through tasks, as a way to prove your value. Unfortunately, this can leave you isolated from the rest of the office, which isn’t ideal — especially considering how important it is to build a network of professionals who will advocate on your behalf. Luckily, the first step is as easy as sending an email. Check out the top four types of people you should meet, and sample emails for introducing yourself to them:
The Fellow Intern
There’s a likelihood that you won’t be the only intern at the company. It’s even more likely that both of you will be starting around the same time. Nothing makes the jitters go away faster than the old-fashioned buddy system.
Pro Tip: You may think that since you’re emailing someone your own age, you can send an email like you’d send a text. True, a fellow intern may be more forgiving if your email isn’t totally perfect but there’s no reason not to use this as an opportunity to practice personal but professional emailing.
Hope your first few days at [Company] are going well. My name is [Your Name], I also just started as an intern here!
I know we’re not in the same department, but I was hoping we could grab lunch or coffee sometime this week. It’d be great to meet some other people my age and get out of the office for an hour.
Let me know!
Your Boss’ Boss
“We all work for someone” — so the saying goes, and this is true for your boss as well. You may not see this person every day (depending on how big your organization is) but you will certainly know who your boss reports to.
Pro Tip: A departmental director may seem too busy to meet with you, but you could be surprised by the results of asking to “pick her brain.” Never underestimate how much people like to talk about themselves. You may even get a free coffee out of it!
My name is [Your Name], and I just started as an intern in the [Department Name]. I’ll be working with [Supervisor Name] while I’m here.
I was hoping to get a better sense of how the department works and hear more about your career trajectory. I’d love to pick your brain sometime in the next few weeks. Let me know if you’re available to chat or grab coffee!
All the best,
The Person Whose Job You Want
Trying to figure out your career path? One of the best things you can do is to talk to a professional who has a job you might be interested in five years from now. Find your company’s staff directory and reach out to the people who you’d like to learn from based on their job titles.
Pro Tip: This depends on your workplace, but there’s no need to make all your emails read like a perfect five-paragraph essay. Keep it short and be genuine.
My name is [Your Name], and I’m the new intern in the [Department Name]!
I was checking out the staff directory, and I thought your job title sounded right up my alley. I’d love to know more about you and what you do at [Company]!
Let me know if you have time this week for a quick chat!
The Person You Have Something in Common With
No matter the size of your company, chances are you’ll find someone with whom you share an interest. Don’t miss the opportunity to talk to this person about your common ground, whether it’s a hobby, hometown or favorite football team.
Pro Tip: It may seem like you have a lot of detective work ahead of you, but you’d be surprised how quickly you’ll find this person. Be open about who you are and where you’re from and chances are someone will fill in the blanks. “You went to [College]? Sam also went to [College]!”
My name is [Your Name], and I’m the new intern! I was talking to [Other Colleague’s Name] and they tell me you’re also [thing you have in common].
I figured we can’t pass up the opportunity to get to know each other so I was wondering if I could take you to coffee sometime this week to talk [thing you have in common].
The first day (or week) in a new role will always be a little nerve-wracking, but the more you can familiarize yourself with the people around you, the more you’ll feel like part of a team. It all starts with a few simple introductions, so put the templates above to good use!