I'm currently a student on an co-op term. I work in a fairly small team and my term is about to finish up. Since this is my first intern experience, I was wondering if it would be appropriate for me to ask my co-workers if I could maintain a professional network with them (such as adding them on LinkedIn). If so, any advice on how to go about asking would be appreciated!

  • 90
    Sure, why not? You've got to start somewhere to build your network, why not start today - as an intern? Commented Apr 20, 2017 at 13:11
  • 24
    Yes. I would say that's the purpose of an internship. To network with the 'real-world'.
    – cbll
    Commented Apr 20, 2017 at 13:12
  • 3
    It is OK, if not a must that you network, otherwise you won't have the visibility you need when you start doing full time work. You don't really need to go and ask each of every one, just send them invitations, there's nothing wrong about doing it this way.
    – user49901
    Commented Apr 20, 2017 at 13:17
  • 11
    Just don't be surprised if some turn your invitation down or just don't respond. Different people look at things like Linkedin differently.
    – Jon Custer
    Commented Apr 20, 2017 at 13:27
  • 1
    Why are you sking random strangers on the internet, and not the people whom you wish to invite, who, presumably, are in the same office?
    – Mawg
    Commented Apr 21, 2017 at 7:05

8 Answers 8


I think you can just add them on LinkedIn without asking permission or talking about it face to face. Just build a network, you will never know when it will come in handy!

  • 44
    100%. If they don't want to connect with you, they can decline the request on their end. While I agree that asking in person is not required by any standard, it could also help to cement the relationship, so I'd say do it if you want to.
    – Steve-O
    Commented Apr 20, 2017 at 14:01
  • 32
    My only caveat to this is to be somewhat circumspect in who you add -- adding every C-level executive willy-nilly is probably a bad idea. Stick to people who would recognize your name, and you'll be fine.
    – JasonB
    Commented Apr 20, 2017 at 21:23
  • 6
    If you do not ask in person, take the 2 minutes to customize the LinkedIn invite. You can change an accept and ignore click to an actual connection. Also, do not overstate your role when you post that position. Since all these folks will see your profile now, they can review and assess it (and you). No need to understate or undersell your contributions either! Just be honest.
    – Dave
    Commented Apr 21, 2017 at 21:00
  • 1
    Agreed, only add people you actually know. It's about quality of contacts/relationships, not quantity. And, if you do find yourself in a situation trying to connect with someone on LinkedIn via another contact (such as an alumnus of your school, or contact of a co-worker), do make sure to make that introduction when you invite to connect. When I get contacts out of the blue with no context, I always ignore them. If someone can't even tell me why they're contacting me, why bother? Think of it like walking up to someone and giving them a business card. You wouldn't do that and just walk away. Commented Apr 22, 2017 at 21:45

I was wondering if it would be appropriate for me to ask my co-workers if I could maintain a professional network with them

It's perfectly appropriate to invite anyone who you think would add value to your network.

Depending on how you worked with them during your internship, and how they feel about you, they may not all accept your invitation. Don't take that personally.

  • 27
    Especially the last sentence. Some people just don't add others on LinkedIn without a very good reason. I don't add anyone I haven't personally worked with for more than 1 year. We don't know anything about each other in that time, in my opinion. Commented Apr 20, 2017 at 15:41
  • 26
    Another reason not to take it personally: I have a LI account that I've used a grand total of 0 times since the day I created it. Commented Apr 20, 2017 at 19:39
  • I know people who don’t add anyone on LinkedIn while they’re still working together (I suppose to leave the option of not doing so available if things turn sour), so they exchange details for LinkedIn when people leave and/or they leave.
    – KRyan
    Commented Apr 21, 2017 at 17:21

You could attempt to add them immediately after you left.

That way, who ever wants to connect can do so - and whoever doesn't aren't socially pressured into doing so.

  • Great advice. Although one should ignore if their LinkedIn invide rejected, it may cause problems no matter what.
    – Pecheneg
    Commented Apr 21, 2017 at 10:18

Absolutely! Not only do I think it's OK, I think it's an excellent way to start building your network. Internships don't always get counted as real work experience by interviewers, but if your new network contacts from your internship endorse your skills, that might help you when you go out for your first real paid gig. Showing that you have not only passed classes in which you learned something, but can actually apply it in a real work environment is going to help put you ahead of someone with similar credentials.

Also, I would love for interns I've worked with to add me to their network. When I'm working with an intern, it's part of my job to act as a mentor in both technical skills and professionalism/career-building. If I've done a good job of that, having interns that I mentored in my network can help me as much as it does them.


For the coworkers you just want to stay casually connected with, just send them the invite.

One other thing you may (should) be thinking about when building a network is references. In your job search, you will be asked to provide references, and it's proper etiquette to have had some conversation with the person whom you put down before they get the call. Leaving an internship is the perfect time to have those conversations. You may start the conversation with "Hey, do you mind if I add you on linkedIn" but end with "Do you mind if I put you down as a reference in my further job searches?"


I disagree with most answers about the fact you don't ask, specially in the case of using my personal mail.

If I gave you my personal mail, it's not to give it to some sites/anyone without my consent (like a phone number). Those sites may start to spam me or sell it eventually to some advertising spammers.

So I would prefer that you ask me first.

Note that probably not most people would care about that, but in doubt, ask.


Yes, it's perfectly normal to add coworkers on LinkedIn, especially if they're already members. The fact that you're an intern doesn't really matter - you still worked with them.

You don't really need to ask in advance of sending them an invite IMHO. Honestly, I'm not sure what their incentive is to refuse or object (I certainly wouldn't). Being connected with someone on LinkedIn is very different from being a Facebook friend, for example - being a Facebook friend tends to imply a certain kind of social connection with someone, but there's less of an implication of a particular social relationship (beyond some kind of professional relationship) for LinkedIn. (I'm connected with a fair number of headhunters that I maybe worked with once, for example; that's actually fairly common in my industry).


As your term nears its end, you can send out an email which thanks your co-workers for the internship, details how much you loved it, and say that you'd like to keep in touch. Include your personal or student email address (whichever is more professional for you) and a link to your linkedin account.

If you are closer to some of your colleagues than others, let them know you want to connect on linkedin before the internship ends. Then, send out those invites.

If any of your colleagues seem particularly active on LI, just send it out.

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