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(September 2016) With the first month of the fall semester behind us, I’d like to talk about building connections. By now you’ve hopefully settled into the routine of the semester and are becoming acquainted with your classmates and professors. My hope is that by the time finals roll around you will know more than just a few faces.

A recent article on theMuse.com lists seven easy ways to make a lasting impression on your coworkers and improve your chance of earning a full-time job offer. Some might seem obvious, but it’s amazing how often we overlook them.It’s easy to get midway through the semester and realize you haven’t made any real connections. The same is true of internships. When you find yourself in a new workplace, it might take some time to adjust. But allow me encourage you to capitalize on the limited time of your internship.

My hope is for students to be proactive and intentional as they embark on new challenges.

Smiling might be the easiest of the seven connection-building techniques the author said she employed. While the usual closed-mouth grin might suffice, the author said she found much more success by offering everyone, even strangers, a “legitimate, teeth-and-all smile.” 

“I found that almost everyone would grin back. In two seconds, we’d create a genuine, enjoyable connection, which would make talking to them in the kitchen or at happy hour that much easier and organic,” she writes.

This simple action lays the groundwork for a more in-depth connection at a later time. The same is true of talking, which is the second tactic on the author’s list. 

Chitchat might not be in your nature, but with a little effort and intentional dialogue, you can make a new connection. The author said she would simply ask people how their day was going while they both got coffee or tea. She said that not everyone wants to have a conversation, but most do, in her experience. 

A more business-minded approach to making connections, or networking, is adding coworkers on LinkedIn.

“Sarah from Advertising probably wouldn’t have remembered me from our short encounter alone, but the request reinforced my name, face and title in her mind,” the author writes.

Some of the other techniques are holding doors open for people and going to office events. Click here to see the full list.

The common goal of all the techniques is to meet people and leave an impression once your internship is over. Obviously you want companies to know you’re smart and can do the work, but it might take something a little more to make them remember you.

After all, it’s not what you know, it’s who you know. And perhaps more importantly, it’s who knows you.



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