So you’ve landed your dream summer internship. Congratulations! You’ve been granted an amazing opportunity to gain industry knowledge, boost your résumé, develop new skills—and network.
Think about it: Every morning, you walk into the same office as a group of people who work some awesome full-time jobs and seem to really know what they’re doing. Why not take advantage of that? Before your internship comes to a close at the end of the summer, be sure to schedule some quality time with these five important coworkers:
When you’re a business intern at a large corporation like Lynn, making personal connections can help to make the environment feel a little more intimate. The best place to start? Grabbing lunch or coffee with your supervisor. “It’s important to have a good understanding of who you’re working with and your team’s culture,” Lynn says. “During your meeting, I would be sure to ask questions about their role and responsibilities, but also make an attempt to get to know them on a slightly personal level. It’s easier to work with people when you feel more comfortable with them, and knowing them better can also mean that you’ll have their support in completing your intern projects.”
[Related: The Ultimate Summer Internship Bucket List]
Sometimes the best lunch buddies are your peers: Seasoned editorial intern Claire says she tries to grab lunch with her fellow interns at least once while they’re working together. “The people above you are excellent resources, but so are your peers, especially when it comes to job searching,” she explains. “Often someone you interned with will be hired at a company you’d like to work for, and they can then put in a good word for you. Even if you’re not looking for a job, having an editor’s email address in your pocket is a great way to score future internships.”
Wish you could sip a latte with a senior manager? Dying to pick the brain of the CEO? Sam, a former software engineering intern at a major tech company, says snagging a lunch date with a company leader isn’t as hard as you might think. “There are two main groups of people I try to meet with during an internship: people with lots of experience and people in roles I’m interested in,” he says. “Last summer I was able to have lunch with a very senior person at [my company] simply by shooting him an email. It never hurts to ask.” Duly noted.
There’s likely a person at your company who’s doing the job that you want to be doing in a few years. Take her to lunch to learn more about how you can eventually do what she does. “I once worked as a general communications intern, but I was interested in the social media department. It was a small agency, and I was lucky enough to sit across from the actual social media manager,” former intern Delia says. “We ended up having a love for the same sandwich shop, and over that summer, she and I had the chance to talk a lot about her work—without having to interrupt any of it.”
While working as a digital media intern at an LGBT advocacy organization, Alex found that the best lunch meetings were born out of his own, authentic curiosity in a person. “One of my favorite experiences was when a few of [my coworkers and I] asked someone who identified as queer to sit down with us for coffee and have an informal talk about what the LGBT community means to them,” Alex says. “I think that having a goal toward networking is fantastic, but lunches will always go better if you’re genuinely interested.” Of course, a conversation of this personal a nature isn’t appropriate in all offices, and you should use your best judgment to determine whether or not it would be in yours. Genuine interest in someone’s career path, however? Always welcome.
This article originally appeared on Levo and is reprinted with permission.