A Semester with Sonnhalter

Interning in Public Relations

Networking It’s Worth the Effort

Posted by sonnhalter on November 14, 2008

handshakeIn college and in high school my professors, teachers and my parents have stressed the importance of making good connections. You will have an easier time getting into a program if you know the head of it. You will do better in classes if you make a point of getting to know the professors. And you will have a better chance of getting a job if you know someone in the office or have made a connection with the company in some way.

This was stressed even more for me today when I had the chance of attending PRSA’s Cleveland chapter Student Day. The event is open to college students who are majoring in some sort of communication and are interested in PR and in networking with professionals.

SONNHALTER sponsored a table at the event and I was lucky enough to attend and see the professional side of the event rather than the student side.

The Importance of Networking

PRSA’s Student Day invites professionals for a portion of the day so the students can interact with them and begin the networking cycle. Professionals get the benefit of meeting potential interns or employees. This is so important especially in today’s economy and job market.

I have always been told that jobs are obtained through word of mouth and that can be a hard truth. Hundreds of resumes are sent for open positions and what will make you stand out? Most likely your resume looks very similar to everyone else’s. Some pointers for an effective cover letter and resume.

The scenario can be very different if you have met with the firm. Student day offers students a chance to stand out. If you want to work at a particular firm, going to a networking event where they will be represented is a great idea. You can spend lunch chatting with the employees and possibly the boss from the company and showing them that you are more than a list of college accomplishments. Now when they receive your resume and your cover letter (that, of course, mentions the enjoyable time you had with them at the networking event) you are no longer just another name on the page but a person they can remember and relate too.

Find Other Ways to Meet People

It can be really hard to find these opportunities but you can easily start by checking with the local chapter of PRSA or if your campus has a PRSSA branch on their campus. If you can’t find a networking event or can’t find someone you wish to meet, with go straight to the source. Call the company you are interested in, and ask if you can shadow a professional or see if you can come in for a tour. This can take you very far in your professional career.

And FYI: Do this with other aspects of your life. Before you apply for college or grad school tour it and see if you can meet with a professor in your desired major and students in the courses. Always make it a point to go out there and meet people. You never know when that connection will help you later.

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2 Responses to “Networking It’s Worth the Effort”

  1. Claire said

    Hmm..I’m not really the type that easily gets to know professors and other heads/authorities in school. I kinda have a phobia of some sort with getting close to these kinds of people. That’s why I end up unrecognized. I don’t really know how to change. It’s hard. But I guess I have to try. Thanks for sharing your insight!

    ~~Free Student Resume Network for jobs, internships, projects and more. Get Listed, Get found, Get Hired.
    Visit NUresume at http://www.nuresume.com and start building your free student online resume!

  2. sonnhalter said

    I have always been one of those ridiculous people who talks too much but I can understand how it is hard to approach authority figures. I go to a very large college and all my freshmen and sophomore year classes tended to have 100+ students in them. I think in those classes is where I really learned to make myself known. If I wanted the extra participation points or wanted extra help on something I really had to make sure the professor knew who I was. When it came down to it, I learned a professor would remember me if I sat in the front and I asked a question once in awhile in class and I made it a point to do more in person question asking rather then going through e-mail. You would really be surprised how it can help your grade and how fast a professor will remember you because not many students take the time to see the professor.

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