Making Connections and Networking as Research for Internships

The practice of networking and how valuable it can be as a research tool as you plan your internship search

When we think of networking, many associate the word with hustling to get a job or shaking hands with someone at a fancy event. I’m here to dispel this myth and inspire you to consider networking as an ongoing practice to make and sustain connections. Networking comes in many forms and can be exceptionally helpful as you try to glean what may be possible for an internship, a career path, or even a major. I encourage you to try some of the tips below and attend an upcoming networking-related event and/or workshop this year. See you there!

Below are some tips you can follow to begin thinking about identifying individuals to reach out to for the first time. While you never want to directly ask a contact for an internship, you can be open with them about the fact that you are in the process of thinking about potential summer internship opportunities. Check out our Networking How To Guide on the Loeb website for more guidance.

  • Brainstorm people in your existing network (community!) who can introduce you to professionals working in your areas of interest. This might include friends, family, previous supervisors, professors, former teachers, mentors, neighbors, alumni from your high school, etc. Reach out to them to catch up and let them know how the semester is going, sharing what you’ve been thinking about lately, and ask if they know anyone in your areas of interest. Attend our annual Internship Mixer in November to connect with fellow Amherst students and utilize the AAS Career Exploration Database! 
  • Follow people and organizations you admire on social media. Participate in virtual content with thought leaders in your interest area and/or engage with leaders via X and/or LinkedIn. Listen and read closely before joining the conversation and make sure your own online presence is on-point!
  • Faculty and staff are often in the unique position of being able to help you articulate how your academic accomplishments and campus activities translate to the working world. They also bring with them their own professional connections and awareness of specific opportunities. Sign up for a professor’s office hours or invite a staff member to chat with you about your goals.
  • Alumni are an invaluable resource for connecting your Amherst experiences to the working world. Many alumni enjoy talking to students and sharing their knowledge and perspective on their industry, employer, job, career, graduate school experiences, etc. Learn how to use the Amherst Alumni Directory and understand informational interviewing. 
By Emily Tareila
Emily Tareila Program Director, Charles Hamilton Houston Internship Program