Sunday, April 26, 2015

Networking and sharpening PR skills over the summer without the stress

I don’t know about anybody else, but networking as a student and/or budding professional is kind of nerve-wreaking. There’s the speed networking, the awkward ice breakers, trying to meet people who are way out of your league--professionally speaking of course. The other kind of “getting to know people out of your league” is for another blog entirely.

The skinny of it is that networking is hard—especially during a time when we need to decompress or work that summer internship/job we spent the last several months trying to get.

With that in mind, I made up a small list of things you can do over the summer to make the daunting task of networking and sharpening your PR skills feel less intimidating.

1.     Say “yes” to as many opportunities as possible: Sometimes, a professional connection isn’t made at a mixer or a panel discussion. In reality, we meet professional connections every day at volunteering events, while traveling and even at casual parties. Keep those business cards handy this summer--you might meet your next employer at your aunt’s yearly get-together or at your local farmers market.

2.     Read at least 30 minutes a day: It’s just science. The Chinese University of Hong Kong has proven that reading develops vocabulary, exposes you to different writing styles, and deepens your subject knowledge. It also gives you an opportunity to comprehend a topic at your own pace. All of these help build your skills as a professional and make you more articulate in your field. So go out to the local bookstore this summer and browse the titles- at the very least, you will have some great poolside reading.

3.     Keep up with the news and talk about it: It’s time to put on the 4 o’clock news and read the newspaper, because a lot of employers and mentors looks for people that keep up with the times. You don’t have to do much- just know what is going on in your neighborhood and you will excel in any future position. To help with the search for a good news outlet, I recommend theSkimm and the Associated Press News App. Both are free ways to find out what’s new in the neighborhood.

4.     Write about things you like and pitch it to a magazine: This is a fun project. Find something you are interested in, be it fitness, arts, music, spinning plates on sticks, or whatever it is, and write an article about it. After you do that, try and pitch it to a magazine or local newspaper. If you aren’t getting any bites, start a blog about it and keep pitching those ideas- persistence is key.

5.     Set a social media follower goal:  If social media is your forte, make a goal to increase your following this summer. Plan out posts, giveaways, and other promotional means to get to that goal. It’s great practice and may even have you meeting other professionals in your field.

6.     Learn a skill – If you do only one thing over the summer, make sure you are learning something. Even if it is something that is completely irrelevant to your professional future, sometimes all you need to do is follow your passion of the moment and it will have you meeting people you thought you would never meet.

This guest blog post was written by PRowl staff member Kelly Armstrong. 

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