What is it?
A supportive system of sharing information and services among individuals and groups having a common interest.
What can people do for you?
Myths and Realities
- Offer you a job/internship, now or in the future.
- Introduce you to someone else who is hiring.
- Give you information about other companies/agencies that have openings.
Myth: You should only network with people who can help you get a job.
Reality: Don't set limits-think broadly-people may know someone else who can help you get a job or internship.
Myth: You need to know the "right" people to network effectively.
Reality: It's up to YOU to create the connections that will eventually help you.
Myth: Strangers resent you asking for help with your job/internship search.
Reality: If you approach people properly and make reasonable requests, they will most likely help.
Create a Network List of Contacts
Think of your list in the shape of a pyramid, broken down into levels.
These are people you are comfortable approaching for names and other requests. These are your friends, neighbors and relatives with whom you have regular contact. This level consists of about 10-15 people.
These are your colleagues and acquaintances that you see occasionally. These people know you and are willing to help you-you may deal with them on a professional level (i.e. your doctor).
This is the toughest level. These are strangers-people you have yet to meet. You have heard about them from someone in level one or two, or you found his/her name in a directory (i.e. The Blue Book) or a newspaper.
Now that you have organized your networking contacts into levels, it's time to put them into a database.
This should include:
It would also be helpful for you to explain:
- Business address
- Home address
- Phone number
- Fax number
- E-mail address
- Nature of this connection (i.e. met at PRSSA National Conference Career Expo)
- Names of other people or companies they gave you
- Priority-how valuable is this person to you?
- Comments-record meetings you may have had, any letters you may have sent, etc.
Here is an example of what you can say to a potential network contact:
"Hi, my name is_______ and I got your name from _________. For the past ____ years I have been studying at _______. During that time I've had the opportunity to develop my PR skills in the areas of ________. I will be graduating in ________ and am looking for _______.
Be articulate, speak naturally and have confidence.
Source: Stanton Hudson, past National PRSSA Professional Advisor, presentation given at PRSSA National Assembly, San Francisco, 1999.
Networking Resources from PRSA