Professional networking…why bother?
by Jenn Hayes
As PR students we hear the words professional networking more times in a week than most of us care to. But, there’s a huge reason that our instructors are trying to beat this into our head so early on. As Humber students we will all graduate from this school with an excellent public relations foundation. It’s what you do outside of school that is going to set you a part from the competition.
Heard it through the grapevine
It’s a saying for a reason. A hidden network of jobs and internships people find or hear about come through recommendations within their personal network of people that they’ve met outside of the classroom at professional development events and volunteering.
Become a member of a professional association
Whether its CPRS or IABC, each association offers different benefits to its student members. They both hold networking and professional development events specifically geared toward students at extremely discounted rates. When employers see that you have a membership to a professional association on your resume they see that you are making the effort to further your education outside the classroom.
In this technological day and age it’s easy to hide behind our laptops and use Twitter and LinkedIn to meet other professionals, but there will never be a replacement for face-to-face communication. Not everyone is an extrovert by nature, but in these cases you just have to get over it and go for it! Most people don’t feel at home at networking events, the conversation often feels forced and contrived, but the more you do it the easier it is. Putting a face to your name will set you ahead of your competition, people feel more comfortable recommending you or sending you in the right direction if they’ve had a face-to-face interaction with you.