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Thursday, December 17, 2009

Two networking methods you should know about

You’ve heard the old saying, it’s not what you know, it’s who you know. Networking is essential to any career, and this particularly true for the profession of public relations. Networking is important, but are some of the ways in which people are expected to network that successful? Does it really work to network at various events in which you meet with complete strangers, each give your elevator pitch, exchange business cards and then go your separate ways? Will you truly remember each other after that short interaction? Is it more beneficial to just network where you are interning to help you along your career path, rather than pursuing the awkward introductions in public situations?

Networking at public situations can be, at times, intimidating and awkward. It can be unnerving going up to a person you’ve never met before and try to carry a conversation with them that will be stimulating, and not along the lines of uncomfortable. And besides, will they really remember you after that short conversation. A blog post by Patricia Dorch suggests that networking at these types of events can prove helpful for your career as long as you follow the necessary steps; the most important step being the follow-up. This is the essential step in the networking process that won’t let your connection forget about you. It could possibly be that if the necessary steps are taken maybe a true connection will be made that will get you that future internship or job.

Networking within your internship can be a very useful way to get your foot into that next door. Most of the time, you are interning at a place which is in the realm of what you hope your future profession will be. This means that the people you work with should have connections to other jobs that would be within your desired field. This allows your networking to have more of a focus and get you the end result you desire. The people you work with will not only have connections, but they will be able to give a recommendation of your work ethic and experience to those connections. This way you’re not just some name on a business card. A referral from one employer to another can really help your chances of landing that dream job. This article discusses the matter further.

Both methods of networking can prove to be successful, if done correctly. My own personal opinion is that I prefer, and find more effective, to establish these beneficial relationships when directly working with people in internships than just shaking numerous hands at a public event. I find it more valuable to utilize connections I’ve establish while on the job. However, I have considered that a combination of both methods would not hurt a person’s chances. I guess you’ll never know unless you try, so in the meantime, I will be practicing my handshake and elevator pitches for that next public event.

Kristie Gaalswyk
University of Minnesota
Jour 3279
Blog Assignment