April 9th: Enlightened 8
Volunteering to work with an organization can help you build skills that will make you more marketable to future employers. Volunteer experience is also a great way to network with professionals in the career field you are considering. If you show initiative, leadership, and integrity as a volunteer, you could be offered an internship with the same organization, or at least a recommendation for an internship at another organization.
Attend a conference
The benefits from networking in a conference environment are immense; meeting new people who can give you new research, product, or information leads that will open up new possibilities for you. It pays to keep your mind focused on these opportunities. Look up the people who will be presenting at the conference. They are the influencers who can help you get better networked into your targeted industry, or who may even be able to share ideas with you or give you a little time to talk through things that you're doing.
Get a mentor
Ask good contacts for advice about a specific problem. Maybe you need coaching for a big interview, whether in person or through online video, and you can ask a great contact to coach you. Whatever the issue, try asking a contact for specific advice instead of proposing a career-long mentorship. Take the advice from a mentor and act on it. Then call or email the result of your actions. Ask your next question and repeat until you have a steady dialogue going. At some point, write them a nice handwritten note and thank them for mentoring you.
Some may believe an internship is simply an experience to put on your resume and gain knowledge of your field. However, it is also a huge networking opportunity. You are surrounded by employees in the field you eventually hope to work in. Talk to them, show them what a hard worker you are, and stay in contact after the internship has ended. Oftentimes, when an intern truly stands out and goes above and beyond, job offers are on the horizon.