Sure you need a great résumé, nice interview clothes, a portfolio and all of those other things your professors preach, but none of those will do you much good unless you learn how to network and network often.
Normally I am against the “spray and pray” mentality, but when it comes to networking, getting your name out there in as many circles (that apply to your field in any way, shape or form) is essential. Being in the communications field, there are plenty of professional organizations to get plugged in with. Here are a few options:
Also see: Public Relations Student Society of America (PRSSA) at colleges and universities here and abroad.
(Quick shoutout to @UTAPRSSA)
(Shout out to @AAFFortWorth)
See if your college has an AAF Chapter here.
a) The crowd is typically younger (20s and 30s) and is more casual, with a touch of professionalism. Most of my experiences has been with the Social Media Club of Fort Worth. As a student, you will feel more relaxed and comfortable “getting your feet wet” in the “networking world” with people who were in your shoes not too long ago.
b) Learning how to use social media for business use is a must if you want to land a job. The more you know about social media, the better your chances are of landing your first gig in the communications world. Companies are needing help in this realm, and with it being relatively new, they are looking to recent (and soon-to-be) graduates to jump in and help. Unfortunately, social media is something that you probably won’t get much experience with in school because most professors have not had hands-on experience with it professionally.
Personally, getting involved with the Social Media Club of Fort Worth is one of the best choices I made. I have been exposed to many great speakers (one of whom is now my boss) and met some great people who have shared their experience, wisdom and knowledge with me. Click here to follow SMC Fort Worth on Twitter.
Okay, so now I am guessing that you are curious to know what I consider to be the best place for me to get plugged in at…
a) You get to pick who you follow and what news/information shows up in your feed. There are tons of great people out there with great blogs and great content to soak up.
b) Facebook is for keeping up with the people you know personally. LinkedIn is for keeping up with people you know professionally (I like to think of it as an online Rolodex) and Twitter is the best place to engage with those you know professionally and those you wish you knew.
c) You can jump in the conversation anytime you want and you have the opportunity to interact with people you might not normally have the chance too.
d) Not only are the people you are engaging with getting to know you and see what you bring to the table, but so are others. There is no quicker, or easier, way to start building your reputation.
Twitter is where you interact with and grow your network between events.
Notice the emphasis on “between events.”
In-person networking is still a must.
Twitter is an absolute supplement.