If you’ve ever taken a walk around Fisher or the career management office, you’ve probably heard plenty about the importance of networking. Chances are you have heard the adage that getting a job is “20 percent what you know and 80 percent who you know.” With all of this emphasis on the importance of networking, I was well aware of how it can be an important factor in getting your first job or internship. What I wasn’t as aware of is how valuable it is to develop a strong network within the workplace.
So what does it mean to develop a network within the organization that you work for? For me, it meant building professional relationships with people within your function in the organization (i.e. accounting) and those outside of your particular area of work. By developing a network within the organization that you are working for, you are building strategic relationships that will benefit your career. Intentionally interacting with people across your organization also allows you to learn more about the organization’s culture, understand the career paths of those around you, and to take away some guidance from others with more experience than yourself.
The Dow Finance Intern Program has assisted me in developing my network of Dow employees and leaders. Through our “speaker series” and “lunch with leaders” programs, I have had the opportunity to meet various leaders of the company that an intern would not typically have the opportunity to interact with. Also, various intern social events such as picnics and baseball games have allowed me to network with other new hires and intern supervisors. The easiest way to network within an organization is to take advantage of any networking opportunity that the organization or intern program organizes.
The other medium through which I have mainly networked within Dow is by setting up short one-on-one conversations or lunches with various individuals that may work in a function of the organization that I am interested in. While it is initially tough to reach out to someone that you have not met before to set up an introduction meeting, I always walk away feeling more knowledgeable and prepared for the future. Leveraging the network of your supervisor is a great way to be introduced or directed to people who may be beneficial to meet with. By taking the initiative to network during your internship or full-time job, you will learn more about the culture and opportunities of the organization as well as receive guidance and insight from the people of the organization.