You already know how important is to start networking since you are in college. There is no secret and it has been proven over and over again that networking and building relationships can help you in your career, whether for landing your first job, taking a better position or simply connecting with established professionals in PR or any other field for that matter.
This article on Deirdre Breakenridge blog is the perfect example of what making the most of every opportunity really means.
In today´s post I want to focus on digital networking and why I believe is important to be on your daily to do list.
While attending networking events in your area and touching base with PR pros is great, digital networking can open possibilities for your at another level. You CAN go global.
Think about it: you already use social media daily, you are on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, LinkedIn, Meerkat and any other platform out there, so why not use them to your advantage and get in touch with professionals outside your region?
Connecting with local PR pros is great and highly recommended if you want to start a career in PR.
However, one of the most frequent requirements you will meet in your job search is to be a social media savvy. And that can mean: knowing how to use the newest social channels, how to communicate through them, how to engage people on them, how to read their analytics and so on.
Networking, just like learning, doesn´t have to stop at what´s around you or what you learned in school. If you want to learn more about PR, you go online, read the best blogs out there (Spin Sucks, Waxing Unlyrical, Pure Performance Comm and many more), get in touch with PR pros, comment on their blogs, keep track of what they´re doing and learn as much as possible.
You can be a passive learner by reading everything you lay your eyes on or you can interact with people, ask questions, state your ideas and learn in the process.
That´s actually digital networking: interacting with awesome PR pros, learning from them, asking questions without the fear of looking bad (as long as you are polite, people will kindly answer you), commenting on their blogs and work, being part of their community.
How Digital Networking can help your career
Just to be clear, digital networking is not you waiting for someone to help you after you asked a couple of question or commented on a few blogs. Digital networking is building relationships through social media. Just like traditional networking is an on going thing: you read people´s posts, you connect, you comment, you share, you interact and again and again.
What´s in it for you:
Access to wisdom
You have access to resources and information otherwise hard to find in your region. You get exposed to different situations and people, you learn how they like to talk, write and interact. You grow.
You go global
Being active on social media and engaging with professionals worldwide exposes you to content, information and practices from all over the world. You get to connect with people from the U.S., Canada, Taiwan, Germany, UK or Australia. You learn from them and they from you.
You learn best practices
I know you were born with a tablet and a smartphone in your hands and you know how to use them, how to connect. However is not the same connecting with a PR pro you admire as it is with your friends. You have to understand boundaries, you have to earn their friendship and respect, not take them for granted or worse, believe they owe you something. They don´t!
Using common sense can open many more doors than being annoying and disrespectful. Respect their time and be mindful.
PR is known as the profession where you never stop learning, where forever students learn everyday new skills, new practices, new tactics.
So, if you still want to make it in PR (I hope I didn´t scare you), connect and learn from the best.
Do you use digital networking in your job search? Love to see your comments!