After I first decided that I wanted to pursue a career in the public relations industry, my dad purchased me a book titled “The Power of Nice: How to Conquer the Business World with Kindness.” It was almost the end of the semester and I was so busy trying to prepare for finals that it took me almost two months to begin reading the book. Once I finally got around to it, I read the book cover to cover within three days. The book taught me the most important lesson of my professional life: be nice!
It is such a simple lesson, but being nice is crucial when you are networking. The public relations industry is all about who you know. Therefore, it is important to always grow your network, whether it be through social media channels or sending emails to keep in touch with industry professionals. Here are some tips to help you network successfully in order to improve your professional career:
Be nice: You never know who you are going to meet. Someone you hold the elevator door open for could be the person interviewing you for a job, so be sure that you present yourself in a polite manner.
Be genuine: Build trust in your relationships and see how you can help others besides just seeing how other people can help you.
Show interest: Ask people open-ended questions during networking conversations. This shows people that you are interested in the discussion and care about what they are saying.
Follow through: If you meet someone who could be a potential connection, be sure to email them right away, say that you enjoyed meeting them and ask if you could get together sometime to share ideas. Also, be sure to thank them for their time if they helped you or gave you advice.
Be specific: When you contact a potential connection, be clear with what you are looking for. Do you want advice on the industry, a reference or an introduction to someone else?
Getting ahead in the public relations industry means that you are willing to connect and engage with other people. No matter if you meet them at an industry event, career fair, through social media or from a personal relationship, be professional and remember that just being nice can get you far.