Growing up with LinkedIn: Advice for Interns by an Intern

July 12, 2013

Editor’s Note: This is part of a series of blog posts by LinkedIn’s rockstar summer interns. Today, we hear from Julia Karnaze who is pursuing a degree in Marketing and Management at Villanova University.

After completing my sophomore year of college, I was fortunate enough to land an internship at LinkedIn as one of the first interns in the New York City office. I joined an incredible Talent Solutions team and quickly immersed myself in the world of technology, sales, and social media. My internship offered me an inside look at how LinkedIn has transformed the recruiting industry for professionals. It also provided me with the opportunity to work closely with several Account Executives on various projects and initiatives, building strong relationships that would last beyond the summer.

julia k linkedin

Fast forward 9 months.

As I was wrapping up my spring semester this year, I was offered the chance for a second summer internship with the Talent Solutions team - an opportunity I couldn’t let pass. I valued being a part of a company that continues to transform not only the recruitment, networking, and online media, but also the people who work there.

As I counted down the days until the start of my internship, I wondered if my second summer at LinkedIn would feel any different. With no first week nerves, I was able to pick up right where I had left off. I was growing professionally, and still am each day.

Luckily, my growth seems to be coinciding with LinkedIn’s. Over the course of a year the company has released a number of new products and features, and our employee base continues to rapidly expand. Linkedin’s growth is a result of innovation, driven employees, and passionate leaders with a strong vision. For college students like myself, growth comes from our academic and professional experiences with teachers, classmates, co-workers, managers, friends, and family who support and teach us every day. Each year we learn more, gain more professional experience, and consistently change in our own way.

One of the more important ways I grew as an intern was that I learned to look for solutions to problems on my own first. Before approaching my manager with a problem, I would try and find a solution for the situation. I learned to apply this way of thinking while interning at LinkedIn and it has served me well ever since.

For instance, during a project I was working on that had me conducting analysis of over 100 accounts for our Account Executives, I quickly learned that it was inefficient to send an email each time I discovered a problem or mistake. Instead, I found waiting until I’d gone through all the accounts to send a prioritized list of the discrepancies was a much more efficient approach for myself and my co-workers.

Also, I learned that I would only grow by asking for feedback on my work. It’s the best way to learn what I was doing right and what I could do to improve. I made it a habit to ask the people I worked with how they preferred information and reports, and adjusted my work to fit their needs in order to have a greater impact. By doing this, I showed those I worked with that I’m an asset and by doing so gained their trust and was asked to help out with bigger projects and sit in on important meetings and calls.

My time at LinkedIn has shown me that the people you work with are your greatest asset. I cannot say enough about having a manager who was willing to take the time to teach me valuable skills, help me grow, and develop my professionalism during my internship. My manager and amazing teammates were not only instrumental in teaching me about sales, but also the value of teamwork and how to succeed together. Last summer, my manager had me interview about twenty different people across departments and offices to learn what they do and their own professional experiences. It’s amazing how much you can learn about someone over a cup of coffee - their experience and advice was priceless.

For anyone who is currently looking for an internship, my advice is this: choose your internships carefully, know the values of the company, make sure you believe in the products and mission, then commit to learning as much as you can. Find a great mentor who will help coach you through your transition from student to professional and never stop growing. You may have some growing pains along the way, but if you are lucky like me, you will have mentors, managers, and teammates to help you through it.