Wednesday, January 22, 2014

The Network: It's Scary Out There

Meet Catia, our segment writer for The Network. As a second year PR major, she hopes to continue to grow professionally and would love to one day see Detroit become a powerhouse city again. Fun fact, she actually inspired big sis Elise to pursue PR!

Source
Earlier this month, Elise posted a feature on a PR pro. I'm here today to give a little insight on network building. Each month, I hope to continue sharing networking tips I've learned and words of wisdom from pros.

As aspiring PR professionals, I’m sure we’ve all been told at some point how critical it is to build a professional network early on in our career pursuits. Well this little gem of advice should not be taken lightly. Finding professionals in the field who you admire or even whose job you want (It is a cut-throat industry after all!) can be hugely beneficial down the road. Connecting with these professionals can serve numerous functions. You could line up an internship or job, stumble upon an awesome mentor, learn more about the industry in general, or at the very least snag a few words of wisdom from someone active in the workforce. The possibilities are endless!

Obviously, networking isn’t as easy as LinkedIn profile stalking, shaking some hands and scattering business cards down the hallway (Ed note: Please don’t do this. Please.). It’s tricky and scary and intimidating, especially for people like me who aren’t the most socially courageous or outgoing. As nerve-wrecking and daunting of a task as reaching out to PR industry professionals may seem, however, the rewards easily outweigh the risks.

Now, I know what you’re thinking--why would industry professionals bother listening to/helping a student or recent grad with little to no experience? Well, that is up to you to decide. Sometimes you need to fake it ‘til you make it--and by that I don’t mean falsify any qualifications or be phony. Big no-no. Even if you are nervous, shy or lacking experience, you must carry an air of self-confidence and exude pride in your accomplishments and abilities. Prove to them how valuable you are.

The nerves and intimidation will fade before you know it and you will be left with a strong professional network. So, make the first move. Be bold, brave and impressive. And remember, networking is an art, one that we’ll learn to perfect, together.

-Catia

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