Five Ways the LinkedIn Internship Exceeded My Expectations

This article was originally published on LinkedIn. 

I recently hit the halfway point of my summer internship with LinkedIn and I’ve been reflecting on how the experience compared to my expectations.

The difficult part about making an internship decision is that regardless of the steps taken to learn about a company, it’s really difficult to gauge what a company is like until you actually get there. This is my first time working at a tech company, and although I had many LinkedIn employees telling me it was an awesome place to work, my experience at past companies has left me somewhat skeptical.

In short, I hoped for the best, but wondered how different it would be from prior companies. Thankfully, it’s been an awesome experience. Here are five ways interning at LinkedIn has surpassed my expectations.

Exposure to Executives

Despite having over 5,000 employees, LinkedIn still feels relatively small. Since joining I’ve been able to meet both our CEO (Jeff Weiner) and co-founder/chairman (Reid Hoffman). I’ve heard them speak on multiple occasions, and they are very approachable. Our head of Talent (HR), Pat Wadors, has made it a priority to get to know the interns and even took a selfie with us at our most recent All Hands meeting.

Needless to say, the executives don’t take themselves too seriously.

The Food

It’s amazing. I really don’t know what to say other than that. Having a central café brings people together and I get to meet new people and interact with colleagues outside of my workspace.

Passion for the Company

While on the subject of food, I’ve had lunch with a number of people throughout the company. When asked how they like working at LinkedIn, they inevitably respond enthusiastically saying that they love it here. The passion my co-workers have for LinkedIn makes it a really fun place to work. They seem genuinely happy and that happiness has become infectious.

Relationships

One of LinkedIn’s values is Relationships Matter, and I quickly learned that this isn’t some trite expression. The importance of relationships is visible in how my manager interacts with me, and how employees work with one another.

The campus recruiting team has put together a lot of cool activities to facilitate networking among the interns and we’ve quickly bonded as a group. Last week I was on my way out when I started chatting with a few of the other interns. We ended up talking for almost two hours.

While I’ve only been here a short time, I’ve built real relationships with great individuals.

Impact

LinkedIn is a fast growing company with a relatively flat org structure. Because of that, intern projects make an immediate impact. Last week I presented to nine HR leaders and shared a tool that I’ve been developing. I was told by the head of the group that my project is critical for the organization. There’s still a lot to be done over the next six weeks, but knowing that what I do has real value keeps me motivated to deliver quality work.

Most companies say they provide interns with big, meaty projects, and they probably do. I can only speak for LinkedIn and the impact I’m having at the company. I love it.

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