As a pubic relations professional, no matter what stage of your career that you're in, you've likely heard a dozen times that PR is based off of relationships. Whether you're focusing on relationships with clients, coworkers or other professionals, these relationships will be the ones that make or break you.
As you continue to grow in your career, you'll find that the network you create is one of your most valuable assets. Many times, it's not what you know but who you know that proves to be most helpful. But knowing names and having a long list of email addresses isn't enough. A network is more than a contact list. It is a group of people with whom you can collaborate and engage to produce mutually beneficial results.
Yes, your network needs you as much as you need them.
If you're working on growing or sustaining your network, consider how you can best create mutually beneficial results between the people you connect with.
If you're currently a senior and starting the job search, you may find that you need to reach out to your network for position openings or general job search advice. But no one wants to feel used for their resources. If you want your network to take an interest in what you're doing, you should take an interest in what they are doing as well.
As the public relations industry continues to change, it is impossible for one professional to be a master of all aspects of PR. We each have strengths and weaknesses that set us apart as individuals and professionals. Our networks represent different pillars of strength and weakness all necessary to make what we do a reality. We need each other; we need to be able to tap into each other's talents and abilities to produce the best possible results.
Failure to work with your network puts you, and others, at a serious disadvantage. Not only are you unable to tap into the talents and vast capabilities of your peers, you also don't get to share all that you can do with others. Going the journey alone is a tough path to travel. Instead, fill your professional world with mentors, inspiring colleges and the best of the best.
How do you maintain and work your network? How do you successfully contribute to your network? Please share with us in the comments!