Today our Young PR Pro is Teresa Joseph, who's sharing her networking advice for PR pros just starting their careers. Teresa is currently pursuing a combined bachelor of arts and master of arts degree in journalism and mass communication with an emphasis in public relations in the Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communication. She’s also an honors student in Barrett, the Honors College, and completing a certificate in sales and marketing essentials from the W.P. Carey School of Business at ASU. An intern at the University of Arizona College of Medicine in Phoenix, she assists with pitching media outlets, event management, writing stories and digital content creation.
Picture this: you’re at an event and the CEO of your dream company is sitting directly across from you. This is your big opportunity to make an impression.
So what do you do?
My education and experience as a young PR pro has taught me a lot about networking. Here are four main takeaways I practice when it comes to networking.
Approach every conversation with an objective.
The leaders you want to impress are typically very busy and don’t often have much time for small talk. Plan your main goal in the conversation before it even starts. It can be easy to stray off topic and realize after the fact that you didn’t actually achieve your goal. Don’t let this valuable opportunity slip through your fingers.
Make a promise – and follow through.
Every conversation is a chance to make a strong impression. Make a promise every time you speak with someone and always carry out that promise. It can be as simple as sending them a link to an interesting article you just read about their industry. It makes people see you as dependable and gives you a reason to contact them.
Relax. Smile. Be yourself. Your job qualifications aren’t the only dimension that employers consider. Personality and charisma matter too. Let your true self shine bright.
Don’t ask for anything.
Business leaders get resumes left and right. People are continuously asking them for a job, which can get tiring. Build a relationship before you make the pitch. Simply inquire to know more about the company or ask about the person rather than the business.
And here’s a bonus tip you may appreciate. You won’t always have the chance to connect face-to-face with a CEO who can get you your dream job. But there are ways around this. My advice: get on social media and make yourself known to these employers. Try messaging the right leader on LinkedIn and ask for an informational interview where you buy them coffee and they describe what working in the industry is really life. They’ll get to know you on a personal level and may give you deeper consideration.
Make an effort to attend networking and collaborative events, go on LinkedIn and message employers, and most importantly, try to build relationships instead of networks. Simply handing someone your resume and/or business card isn’t enough. It only takes a few minutes to separate yourself from the pack and that relationship you spent extra time creating could be your golden ticket to that dream job.