5 Fast Summer Networking Tips. Go Get ‘Em, Tigress.

Danny and Sandy were right…summer days surely do drift away. Don’t get lost in a haze of rooftop happy hours and steamy poolside nights with your #him. Remember that your summer – whether you’re at school, working or interning – has the potential to set the tone for the rest of your year. Come up with some concrete plans that’ll help your career in the long run while having fun.

Make a goal

If you’re interning, make an easy-to-accomplish goal for yourself to learn something new every week and meet someone new every month. After you get acclimated in the office, ask people outside of your department out for a quick coffee break. You never know what they know or who they know.

Utilize your happy hour

I’m always one for a good happy hour, especially in the summer. But it’s about more than booze. A close friend of mine got her job at a very prestigious cable network when we went out for drinks last year – she ran into her old internship supervisor, they chatted and ended up connecting later on that week. Yes, the bar’s a great place to meet new friends and cute guys. But keep your eyes open for young professionals and potential business partners as well. It all starts with a simple introduction. Don’t be shy! AND DO NOT OVERDO IT ON THE ALCH. Oh, and this brings me to my next point…

Order business cards ASAP

People are always surprised when I pull out my business card after initial conversation. I’m not sure why, though. I’ve carried cards on me since freshman year. You don’t have to work for a company to carry a card. Something simple – like your name, contact information, school and major – will suffice. Try Vistaprint and MOO for cute (and relatively cheap!) designs.

Venture out

Summer’s the best time to travel – I mean, hello, Made in America Festival! But try adding a few business trips to your plans as well. MegaBus it to a nearby city and set up a meeting at a company that you’re crushing on, or find an event specifically for young professionals. Meetup.com has a directory of events in 429 cities to date.

Don’t forget to follow up!

Keep in touch with the various people you meet so that you’ll maintain your connections once the summer ends. Again, you never know who’ll be able to help you later on down the line. Send an email every few months to touch base and set up an informational interview for the fall.