Networking can seem overwhelming and even intimidating at first. It is an essential skill, crucial for all public relations practitioners. The truth is, there are no hidden secrets to networking, but there are a few tips that can help you be successful at it and in turn, broaden your professional network.
Here are a few tips for success:
- Join organizations
There are many student organizations within the UO School of Journalism and Communication as well as on campus. Being involved in these groups will help you broaden your network by going tomeetings where they have guest speakers.
Here are a few of the student organizations to get involved with:
- Public Relations Student Society of America (PRSSA)
- Allen Hall Public Relations (AHPR)
- Social Media Club
- American Marketing Association (AMA)
- Contact professionals for informational interviews
Informational interviews are a key component to networking. An informational interview is an opportunity for you and the professional to know each other. It your chance to ask questions about his or her specific industry. At times, professionals that you have a good relationship with will pass along your resume to human resources or “flag it.” Note: make sure to send the professional a thank you letter after the informational interview.
- Keep in touch!
If you meet a professional somewhere or have an informational interview with them, don’t be afraid to reach back out in a few months later and them know what you are up. You can also share an article related to something interesting that you talked about. Relationships are a two-way street and the professional is helping you out but, you need to be the one to stay in touch for the relationship to stay alive.
- Never stop networking
Even after graduation it is important to never stop networking. Students tend to think that the purpose of networking is solely to get a job after college, but networking is truly about building relationships with people and learning from people. Once students graduate and land their first job, the chances of them having that same job three years later is slim so you need to keep networking. You never know, it could lead to your next job.
Networking can feel awkward at first, but after you talk to numerous professionals you learn how to talk with them and build a mutually beneficial relationship. Be open minded when it comes to networking and network with everyone that you can because you never know what connections the person you are talking to has. That person may not be working within your specific industry, but they may have a best friend who has your dream job.
Remember that networking is a mutually beneficial relationship and to never stop networking!