Networking Your Way Into An Internship: Interview with Britany Sullivan

by Lori Smith

Networking is the number one way people get jobs and internships. The importance of networking cannot be overstated. I recently had the pleasure of interviewing Britany Sullivan, a senior at Nichols College, who is working towards earning her Bachelor of Science in Business Administration degree with a major in Human Resources. She shared how she found her internship and offered advice to others looking to land an internship.

Finding an Internship
There are many different ways to find internships ranging from job boards, newspaper ads, company websites, social media and of course networking. Britany’s proactive approach of sharing her career goals and desire to find an internship in human resources resulted in her amazing internship experience with Berkshire Medical Center in Pittsfield, MA. She mentioned to her employer of eight years that she was seeking this experience. It just so happened that his wife is the COO for Berkshire Health Systems and he offered to connect them. Britany applied for this position online and then met with her bosses wife. As a result of this interaction, Britany was not only offered an internship but was given her choice of assignments. She was able to choose between working in the Human Resource Department or working directly with Sean Jennings, Vice President of Support Services, on special projects. Britany chose to work with Sean as it is not every day that you have the chance to work directly with high level administration!

On the Job
Projects that Britany worked on were human resource based. She was able to work with senior management in many departments. One project involved working with the chief operating officer to survey the organization to determine if they were utilizing their nurse practitioners to their fullest as they were looking to expand their onsite clinics. Britany created and implemented an online survey to access this situation.
Another project involved assisting the organization with researching personality software applications. The organization has been looking to make changes in the hiring process to include a personality test. Britany needed to research and reach out to various software companies, test products, inquire about costs and legal issues and then present her findings to senior management and Human Resources Department. This project is still in progress.

Best Part
When asked what was the best part of the internship Britany responded, “To me the best part was being able to work with senior management, and developing and demonstrating effective leadership and communication skills.” She stated that she was fortunate to have been able to spend an entire week in the Human Resource Department as well as working with all departments. Britany was even invited to watch a c-section surgery. She said that not only was she excited to have been able to sit in on this but that the staff was as well because management does not usually observe their procedures.

Advice for Others
Britany stated that networking is huge! “Don’t be afraid to ask others for help, they want to help you succeed. You need to be willing to open up about what you want.” She said that you need to be willing to put yourself out there.

Next Step
Sometimes it is hard to say goodbye! Berkshire Medical Center was so impressed with Britany that they asked her to stay on part-time once her internship was complete. She will be working 10 hours a week and continue her work on special projects. There is a strong possibility that this position may turn into a full-time opportunity in the spring. In addition, she was recently promoted to manager of the gourmet food department at her other part-time position at a local liquor/catering store where she will be working 20 hours per week. As you can imagine this will require excellent time management skills, motivation and a strong work ethic. In addition, Britany will be taking six classes online in order to complete her degree by May 2015! With Britany’s “I can do it” attitude and her determination to succeed, the sky is the limit to where she can take her career!