There is one piece of advice that all college students, especially those studying public relations, hear constantly: “Be sure to network!” Network network network.

To which 80% of us reply, “Okay! Let me just go network really quick.”

Rarely do these wise figures  in our lives explicitly state how to network. It can be frustrating to be given this vague advice that’s supposedly vital to our individual success as a young PR professional. Isn’t a network something I have on my Linkedin account? Is saying hello to a PR practitioner networking? What does networking actually mean?

Our Content Creation Committee took the liberty of answering precisely this question, and we couldn’t be happier that they did. Read on and stop guessing at what networking actually means.

Networking: You Can Do it From Home By Lauren Campbell

Networking is such a buzzword in almost any industry, but especially in PR. We pros thrive off of relationships with journalists, mentors, and peers. Even though networking is usually done at an event, you can do it at home…on your couch…in your pajamas.

Thanks to the Internet.

You can talks to public relations professionals and students from all across the country on sites like Twitter and LinkedIn. Personally, I have found the most success with Twitter, specifically Twitter chats.

If you haven’t seen one before, they are usually hosted by a person or entity (like PRSA) and have a specific hashtag (#NPPRSSA, #blogchat, #MillennialTalk). Users answer questions that the host asks and users add the corresponding hashtag for others to follow.

Over half of the people I follow on Twitter are fellow aspiring PR pros and we are able to talk about the projects and clients we are helping or how our classes are going. The best thing about these twitter friends is that I now have contacts across the country. Whether it is in Texas, California, Florida, or New York, I know that there is someone I can relate to, and possibly hear about a job from someday.

So dedicate some time to your online presence. Not just by making sure those pictures from last weekend don’t end up on Facebook, but by investing time to connect with others across the country. 

Top 5 Ways to Build Your Network by Ashley Pratt

Network Network Network!

This is something we are constantly told as young PR professionals, but what does networking actually mean? And most importantly how does one successfully do it?

Whether online or in person, networking may be the single most important step in getting a job in media. Advertising, Public Relations, and Marketing are all about making connections and building your network. Below are the top five ways to build your own network.


1. Scan the Media

The first step is to be proactive in learning about and exposing yourself to the industry. Research your trade and learn about fellow experts in your field. You should be constantly monitoring the media and keeping up with the current events.


2. Get Connected

Personal branding is always important, but even more so for PR professionals. Success in PR heavily relies on mastery of networking through online communities and social media. You can build your personal brand by getting connected on Twitter, LinkedIn, and personal websites. Creating and maintaining a blog is another great way to brand yourself through your published work. You can also participate in various Twitter Chats, LinkedIn groups, and monitor your own social presence through Google Alerts.


3. Join an Industry Focused Group

Another way to get your name and face out there is to join a public relations club and network with individuals your age that are interested in perusing a career in the same industry as you. Joining a student public relations club, such as PRSSA, would help you gain PR knowledge as a student and help you prepare for your career. Networking within these groups and staying connected with these individuals may help you down the road.


4. Create Unique Business Cards

Everyone has the boring thin, square business cards. Make yours different so you become memorable. Business cards can be cut into many shapes and sizes. If you include a picture, people will remember your face after they meet you. Remember not to put too much contact information, just your preferred contact, and a Website or blog URL.


5. Don’t Limit your Network to your Industry

You shouldn’t limit your network to just individuals in the PR industry. You should expand and reach out to various types of professionals. Be open to meeting new people in all avenues of media. You never know when you may be one person away from the person you’d like to meet. People know people in this industry, so it’s all about making good connections with everyone who crosses your path.  

Networking by Kayla Foster

So what exactly is “networking?” We hear it all the time, but what does it mean?

Merriam Webster Dictionary defines Networking as: the exchange of information or services among individuals, groups, or institutions; specifically :  the cultivation of productive relationships for employment or business

Sounds about how I imagined it. As a PR major, I hear this term constantly, but how does one come to know all these people? Do you follow them on Twitter or LinkedIn? Do you meet people at events? Do you grab coffee with other PR pros?

One way to sum it up nicely is, “talking to people.”

Introduce yourself to people. In the words of our PRarent Adrienne Wallace, “Hi my name is Kayla Foster and I’m a student” (all one breathless sentence). It can be as simple as that. If that seems scary to you, it’s probably just as scary for the person you’re introducing yourself too, no matter their age.

Another great way to network with today’s technology is through social media. Places like Twitter and LinkedIn are a great way to get a person or organization to know your name, which can be helpful if you apply for a job with them someday. Start by following the company, then reply to some of their posts and just try to interact.

I’m no networking expert so I owe much of this networking knowledge to Adrienne and Derek, who went over a lot of this at PRep School last Thursday. But now I can pass my newly found networking knowledge on to you.

Join the Network by Trenae Dunigan

What exactly is networking? Some people call it “working the room” while other people simply think of it as finding potential connections in the work field. I however think networking is more than that.

Networking is letting future employers, partners, and colleagues get to know who you are as a person. It is the first step to building a relationship with the people you may work with in the future. Now I’m not saying it’s not okay to hand out some business cards, but don’t go with a business card, a portfolio and a resume’. Show off your skills casually and let them see the real you. Employers want people who are good at what they do but at the same time want someone that brings good energy to the office. 

Net-WERK it! By Sara Lovelace

If you ask any PR professional for advice on how to be successful in the industry- chances are networking will be at the top of the list.  But what exactly is networking?  How does one become a good networker, and use those networks to further their careers?  If you ask yourselves these questions- I promise you’re not alone.  So, I’ve provided 3 tips for college students on net-WERK-ing it in Public Relations. 

1.      Professors, duh! – Get to know your advisors and professors.  Whether they’re your Advertising/Public Relations professors, or just your professor from Gen Ed classes.  Aside from doing well in their class, participating in discussion and visiting office hours can be really beneficial! Good relationships with profs and advisors can lead to jobs or internships, letters of recommendations, and references.  They might also be able to connect you to other people in your field, leading to more networking!

2.      Peers – Get to know people in your classes! You never know who they might have contacts with…or where they’ll be after graduation.  Having good relationships with people in your field or with fellow students may lead to opportunities in the years ahead! Imagine- the kid sitting next to you in your Business Ethics class may one day own their own company, and have an opening in their PR department.  Most people like to hire those they trust, so keeping good relations with this person may result in a job opportunity!

3.      Clubs and Organizations – This relates to Peers, but is more specific.  Join organizations related to your major and aspirations.  For example, PRSSA.  Most clubs geared toward a major/minor/industry offer networking events, special trips, and other activities that will benefit you during your time at school AND after.  Take advantage of these opportunities!

There you have it! Three easy ways to connect and network with people in college!  Now, after you make these connections, remember to maintain them- through the occasional email, coffee dates, going to the same social gatherings, etc.  It’s not enough to meet someone one time and get their business card.  Good luck, and happy net-WERK-ing!