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It’s not what you’re going to learn this summer. As a matter of fact, 98% of you are going to take jobs where they’re not going to teach you shit. It’s stuff you already know. You’re mailing in your summer.

It’s really not about what you are going to LEARN, it’s WHO you are going to meet!!!

Please understand, as you go into this internship, or this job, maximize networking, shake hands, kiss babies, do whatever it takes!

If you’re a wallflower, don’t even do internships.

But if you are an intern, please understand, it is the human connections that you’re going to make. Way too many people roll in to their first job and think they’re going to learn something about advertising or marketing or media or startups.

You’re not. You’ll learn something but it’s 3% of the equation. Please attack the other 97. Go to every after hours event. Say hello to everybody. If you work at an office where everybody’s head down, and it’s not that kind of culture, figure it out. HACK IT, be the obnoxious intern that was too bubbly. Make every connection you can. And make sure your presence is known.
Because what most people don’t understand is, even if 98% of the people in there hate your positivity and offense, it’s the 2% that connect with you that actually matter at the end of the day.

This advice is universal. If you see even one person that looks at you and gives you a glimmer of hope concerning people skills, attach yourself to that person, let them introduce you to others.

So if your strategy and goal is to “network” and “connect” here is what you actually need to do!

Map every single person that works in your office and pay attention to where they are on social media. I mean it. Take the 15 to 40 hours to try to figure out every single person’s social media account, especially on Twitter if they’re on it, and then follow what they care about and what they share, and if they’re talking about Aziz Ansari’s new show on Twitter, when you are in the elevator with them, say “Hey, noticed you said something about Aziz’s show. I love it too.”

Put in the tangible hard work to build the relationships. Those 40 hours of researching the hobbies and social profiles of your colleagues are so much more valuable than figuring out how to use excel. Figuring out how to post on Facebook. That will come, that’s something any YouTube video or article can teach. The people are the real opportunity.

PLEASE, use this time wisely. Way too many of you go in and you think connections are just going to be handed to you and they’re not. In reality, the opportunity is sitting right in front of you and the whole punchline my friends is, it’s the people.

I’m stunned that so many interns are texting each other right now complaining as if the job owes them anything. Nobody owes you anything. Go out and grab your internship. Go out and make your connections worth it!

The internship IS your opportunity. It’s what you do with the opportunity that matters. Again, I can’t believe how many dwell on “My internship isn’t teaching me this, my internship isn’t helping me learn that.” Instead of worrying about your company and what they’re not doing with their internship, look yourself in the mirror and figure out what YOU can do about it in order to win.

Because listen, people build great companies. People make great friends. People know other people. People can help you. It’s the employees that you meet in your office that go work somewhere else, or are the manager in your department, or who have friends who work for the companies you admire that are going to make all the difference.

The people you meet are going to be the ones that assist you down the line. The ones that are reminded by your hustle and tenacity and good-natured-attitude that are going to give you more opportunity. Whether now or in the future.

The fact that you went for it, that you said hello, that you shook someone’s hand is going to make all the difference.

I promise you that the person you got coffee with, the one you rode the elevator up with, the lunch buddy you were paired with on the first day can help. It’s crazy how that 3 minutes of your time can make the difference. I promise you that one of the 36 interns that work with you now, one of them is going to go on and be an executive. One of them is going to be cousins with the next CEO. One of them might attend your wedding.

This is a world built by people, not the black and white skills you learned this summer in eight weeks. Half of you are going to get coffee and do dumb shit because they disrespect your youth inappropriately

But remember, you’re trying to extract the relationships, so deploy empathy and think about what other people need, so when you’re walking through the office at 6:47 p.m. and you see people sitting there at their desk or in their office, this is exactly the piece of advice that matters. Look them dead in the face and say “Hey, I’m empathetic that I’m an intern. And you may think it’s more time to train me than the value I can give in return, but if there’s anything I can do for you, I’d love to help you right now.” That question alone, whether you can help or not is gonna be the ROI.

At the end of the day, you never want to win with the person that pays attention to your grammar or if your excel sheets are on point. I’d rather lose with that person every time that thinks you’re annoying. That thinks you can’t do it. That doesn’t say hello.

You’re trying to build relationships! It’s the four people that like that you’re networking or you’re hustling or you’re showing A-Type characteristics that are going to matter. I’d much rather win with the 6 winners in your office than lose with 40 other losers.

So please, even if you are in that 85% that’s getting coffee and being assigned dumb shit and thinks that’s just the way it works, PLEASE say hello.

Please do your HUMAN research. When you drop off a coffee to somebody and they have a Cardinal’s pennant and you know something about the Cardinal’s, say something!!! Say something and make a connection. Build relationships. It is the only way. It is the only ROI of an internship.

Good luck!!!