By: Dajuan Young and Anna Kendall
Networking is a valuable skill for all careers that contributes to professional growth and career opportunities. Building relationships with peers, professionals and professors is especially critical in the competitive PR world. Though sometimes intimidating, taking advantage of networking opportunities can significantly impact your growth as a public relations professional.
No connection is too small
Networking provides connections that open doors for job opportunities. Having conversations and keeping in touch with those you meet can lead to positive personal recommendations and assistance searching for internship and career opportunities. In competitive industries like public relations, sometimes it comes down to who you know.
Take advantage of all networking opportunities, no matter how large or small, to give yourself an edge. Take a second after class to personally thank a guest speaker, or send them a thank you message on LinkedIn. Go to a conference and hand out business cards to each person you speak with. Even talking to other students in your classes can help you build a foundation of professional relationships. You never know what connections will help you later on.
Connections across industries
Networking can broaden the base of people you know across various industries. Public relations can play a role in any organization, so having connections outside the communications sector may still benefit you. Individuals you meet at professional events who work in healthcare, technology or any other industry might still know a communications professional in their field that they can connect you to. Networking opportunities are all around you, so don't limit yourself to only professionals within your industry.
Taking the initiative to begin a conversation with a professor or professional can be intimidating. Always keep in mind that these individuals want to help you grow and succeed, but they won’t know how to help you until you ask. Keep the conversation casual and centered around the other person. By asking about their professional experience and current job, you’ll express your interest and they’ll likely offer advice and any help they can.
Give yourself the opportunity to begin expanding your personal network at CMU PRSSA and White Pine PRSA’s spring conference, Recognizing Our Impact. The event is March 22 in the UC rotunda and tickets can be found on CMU PRSSA’s website and social media channels.