Monday, May 18, 2009

Networking: Think Outside of the Box!

I recently had the honor of interviewing Paige Wolf, of Paige Wolf Media & Public Relations, for an article I was writing for an upcoming edition of the Temple PRSSA newsletter. Paige Wolf Media & Public Relations is a Philadelphia-based firm specializing in "eco-friendly and community-conscious lifestyle public relations." Wolf had some great advice to offer students of public relations.

Everyone knows that PR is all about connections, so many people involved in PR understand the value of networking and relationship-building -- especially when trying to get one's foot in the door. However, it seems that students of public relations tend to focus their networking efforts on attempts to network within the field of PR.

These connections are certainly valuable, but Wolf also advocated networking within specific fields of interest. "Try to find your niche and really network," she said. "Don't just network at PR events- try to network within your own interest. If you are interested in animals, attend an SPCA event. If you like fashion, go to fashion shows."

While this makes perfect sense, it does not seem to be the type of networking students do enough of. I myself must admit that even though I am potentially interested in working in health care or travel PR in my future, I have very few acquaintances within those fields.

Both types of networking are important, but, as students of PR in today's challenging economy, we must not forget to branch out into the specific fields in which we one day aspire to work. After all, in this business, every connection counts.

At the very least, Wolf reminds students to "[m]eet as many people as you can and try to create meaningful relationships."

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