Establishing Networking Relationships That Will Help You
Today’s guest post is from Mary Kate Joyce (COM ’11).
It’s all about who you know.
You’ve heard it from friends, you’ve heard it from family, and you’ve heard it from your professors.
It’s the phrase that’s bound to come up during any conversation regarding a job or internship search. Think about it . . . when talking about your plans (or lack thereof) for after graduation or for a summer job, how many times have you watched someone cock their head, shrug their shoulders and sigh, “well, it really is all about who you know . . . ”?
I’ve heard it so many times that those six words dig into my eardrums like a full set of fake nails scratching circles on a blackboard. During the past few years, that clichéd phrase has consumed me and I’ve been obsessed with building my network.
In the digital world, I’ve made my Facebook page employer friendly (buh bye party pics), religiously updated my LinkedIn profile and tweeted like a loon about the PR industry.
In the real world, I’ve passed my resume to anyone with a semi-open hand, virtually stalked HR departments of the companies I am interested in and have been on countless informational interviews.
All with the hope that “who I know” might help me through the door.
Sometimes it seems that no matter how high your GPA is, how many internships you’ve worked, or how many extracurricular activities you’ve been involved in; you really cannot get noticed by your dream company without a personal connection to someone who works there.
Even an HR representative who spoke during my Corporate Communications class told me that thousands of resumes are submitted online for very few, or even zero, open positions. The resumes that get noticed? The ones with a name she recognizes, or an email address she’s seen in her inbox or on her twitter feed before. The resumes that really get noticed? The ones handed to her by coworkers with a personal note about the applicant.
These days, in this competitive economy, it is absolutely critical to network and to make friends in the industry where you want to work. A strong network leads to incredible career advice, personal recommendations and people on your side with a genuine interest in helping you find a place in the workforce.
Where do you find these friends? Look to alumni and young professionals. I have found that most professionals are so excited to meet an eager undergrad that they are thrilled to sit down for coffee, conduct an informational interview or even just answer a few questions via email.
During your meeting or email exchange, be professional—but mostly candid. Young professionals were in our shoes a few years ago and understand what we are going through.
After your meeting, remember to always follow up and to always always send a thank you note. Keep in mind that a networking relationship is like any other relationship and needs to have an equal balance of give and take. Don’t just rely on connections to help you find a job—engage in meaningful conversation with them and try to build a relationship that extends longer than your job hunt. This relationship should last longer the amount of time it takes to drink a Venti Caramel Macchiato.
The people you network with today might be the people you are working with tomorrow.
If you’re wondering where to meet these helpful young professionals, start by attending PR Advanced: Be the Change on February 26th at Photonics. Register online!
After a day of impressive keynotes (Jon Iwata—Senior VP of Marketing and Communication for IBM and Margery Kraus—founder and CEO of APCO Worldwide) engaging breakout sessions, a career advice panel and career fair featuring agencies from New York, Chicago and Boston, you will have the opportunity to mix and mingle with many of the day’s attendees including representatives from Burson-Marsteller, Edelman, Gagen Macdonald, Fleishman Hillard, Ketchum Worldwide and more.
The conference offers the chance for attendees to directly interact with professionals at their dream agencies and to personally hand over their resume and inquire about informational interviews, internships and job openings.
PR Advanced will help you meet the people you should know. The day will be the ideal environment to shake hands and exchange business cards with all of those potential “who you knows. . . “
Who knows, maybe a day of learning and networking will connect you with your dream job.