My mother always used to say “it’s about who you know, not what you know”. I never thought much of this until I reached university where it got drilled in – “network, build relationships, talk to people”.
So last night I ventured to the Big Smoke (Auckland City) to attend a networking event organised by a PR agency. Media Mingle was held at Degree Bar in the Viaduct. The environment had both a professional and casual feel, with over 50 people from various backgrounds in attendance.
This was quite a nerve wracking situation as a student being surrounded by professionals who I had never met before. I had prepared a few questions in advance as conversation starters, to use in awkward pauses and to keep the conversation flowing, which helped relax my initial nerves.
I mingled with PR professionals in the Government Sector, the Events industry, and PR agencies, along with some self-employed and I.T media people. 90% of professionals I spoke with got the jobs they are in now through previous contacts they had made.
The top tips I gained from this experience include:
– Knowing the ins and outs of social media, such as Twitter and Facebook, makes you more attractive to employers.
– Pay high attention to PR writing papers in university as these prove to be the most useful when beginning a job in the PR industry.
– Put yourself out there. Approach agencies or specific in-house teams to request an Internship and then prove yourself; jobs can be created.
– Create and make the most of the opportunities that life presents you as these could prove invaluable for years to come.
I found my first networking event to be a great eye-opener. From the advice I received I plan to build relationships with the contacts I have made and look forward to future events where I can build on my networking skills and make further contacts.