Two months working full-time I’m sure seems like a long time, I know it did for me. Before I left, I remember thinking, “I have two whole months to reach out and network”. Let me be the first of many to tell you, time flies when you are extremely busy. And summers in D.C. are as busy as it comes. Whether you plan to fall in love with D.C. and live here forever, or decide it is not the life for you, it never hurts to branch out and network with career professionals. Here are some things that I have found worked for me on making sure I don’t leave D.C. empty handed.
- Practice asking questions: I know this may seem strange, but this is my biggest piece of advice for anyone wanting to expand their network. I have met with dozens of people, who cut time out of their days to meet with an intern. The least I thought I could do was to prepare in-depth, thought-provoking questions so I am not completely wasting their time. People are eager to meet with you, but it is your job to come prepared and ready to contribute to the conversation.
- Develop a list: I highly encourage before you begin, create a list of people or associations that you have a keen interest in learning more about. This will help you organize the contacts you get for future use, and you can keep track of all the people that you have had the opportunity to meet. I will also add, even if you don’t have a particular interest in the company that someone is working out, still reach out! You never know where that conversation will go, and it never hurts to learn more about a different industry!
- Utilize being an intern: Like I briefly mentioned, being an intern does have some specific perks. People know what it is like to start out as an intern, and they want to help you out! Talk to your bosses about people they think might be good to know, and always run it by your bosses when you set up a meeting.
Washington is full of people from different walks of life, and each person you have the chance to meet can provide you with a unique perspective on how to succeed professionally, personally, and socially. Take that leap of courage, and you won’t regret it when your time comes to an end!
USA Rice Federation
Washington, D.C. | summer 2023