It’s who you know.

So I’m freaking out a bit. I graduate in two months. After years of figuring I’d leave my public relations degree on the shelf to instead pursue law, I’m rethinking my plan.  Why did I wait until now to realize it just might be public relations, not law, that I’m passionate about?

Of course, this leaves me with no internship experience, something I’m realizing more and more is pretty dang important. Thus, it’s articles like this, proclaiming at least one internship to be an essential prerequisite to finding a job, that really freak me out. After years of work experience in law firms, I feel like my resume will only make public relations professionals say “meh.” Have I completely sabotaged myself from ever having a career in public relations? I mean, I finally realized that this is field is for me… Better late than never, right?

As the saying goes, it’s not what you know, it’s who you know. Now I realize my fellow students who have completed these internships will STILL have a leg up on me. But some networking on my part couldn’t hurt, right?

So that’s when this article, courtesy of Derek DeVries, descends from the heavens and reminds me that there are other ways to make an impact on potential employers and contacts in the public relations field. DeVries goes into detail on just how to begin networking, not only on the internet, but in person as well.

Actively networking in person. While it is arguably more impactful than networking online, I had never really thought about it, to be honest. I guess I figured that was the kind of thing that just fell in to your lap. Not so much.

DeVries suggests attending professional events to pursue potential contacts. But being satisfied making a small cameo isn’t enough. DeVries outlines a “toolkit” to make you a standout at events. Two of the tools that stood out the most to me were business cards and prior research for small talk ammunition. Not only would I benefit from actually having something to say, but leaving them with a souvenir of the experience isn’t a bad idea either.

It’s articles like these that remind me all is not lost. I just might have a chance in the public relations world.

(Photo by FOTOCROMO found here.)

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5 thoughts on “It’s who you know.

  1. Ben Cotton says:

    Hey Dawn,

    Thanks for linking to my blog and apologies for ‘freaking’ you out!

    The post was written based on my experience of being turned down for a couple of agency roles (earlier in my career) on the basis of having not sampled agency life as a student.

    In the 12-18 months after graduation (whilst working in-house), I often regretted having taken in-house PR over agency internships, but during this period I began thinking about and creating a strategy for me to standout from the crowd and network with industry professionals.

    The easiest way to do this seemed via social media. So I began blogging and using Twitter. A lot.

    Having invested a lot of time and effort writing about industry issues, establishing relationships and enhancing my reputation, I was fortunate enough to be offered a job at Edelman – and win a European award for my blog.

    I look back and think I would have suffered a lot less rejection if I’d taken an agency internship during my university days as this was the reoccurring reason for other people getting the job.

    In short, PR agency experience will open more doors for you at the beginning of your career and that’s why it’s my top tip.

    However, that soul searching and strategising period after graduation has undoubtedly made be a better writer, creative thinker and networker – all important PR skills.

    Good luck!

    Thanks,

    Ben

    • dnoufer says:

      I apologize for seeming at all critical! Your post was extremely informative and actually very helpful to me. I regret not getting internship experience, as obviously employers value this highly. So I kind of took the networking focus and ran with it. (Though I’m obviously not off to a fantastic start!) But thank you so much for your additional advice. I will continue reading your blog to help me out on this PR road I’m on.

      Thanks,
      Dawn

      • Ben Cotton says:

        Hey Dawn,

        There’s no need to apologise at all!

        I’m pleased you found the post useful.

        Good luck with the networking and job hunting.

        Thanks,

        Ben

  2. Whatever field you choose- law, PR, some crazy combo of the two- you are going to rock it. No question. I love your blog Dawn!

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