The Importance of Networking


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The Importance of Networking

On my way to being an undergrad graduate in two short months, I have learned a valuable lesson while at my internship with Portland tech PR firm the Hollenbeck Group: the importance of networking. I hate to make such a bold statement but networking is everything in the business world. It’s all about who you know. You may be smart and have great business skills and ideas, but without a connection in the right direction you are bound to go unnoticed and your great business idea will probably never blossom into success.

There is a common misconception that only small businesses use networking, big businesses can speak for themselves. This is false, even at big PR agencies, networking proves to be one of the things that can help you rise to the top.

Especially when you are graduating from college, it is important to reach out to those around you. The people in your network may be able to help you get your foot in the door at a company, as well as, you, offering that company a set of new skills and fresh eyes to their business. Over the past year-or-so, I have heard my professors preach about the importance of networking. This became true for me when I started at Hollenbeck. I wasn’t aware how much networking goes on, on a daily basis. I have discovered, that we are constantly looking at our connections on Linkedin to find out who we can offer our services to that might really benefit from a partnership with us. I see networking take place daily if not hourly right in front of my eyes.

All of this networking talk might seem a little dis-genuine, but don’t get me wrong, I value people for people as well. I don’t think any of us would have gotten into the PR field if we didn’t enjoy conversing and making meaningful connections with people.

Don’t forget that even though we haven’t been around as long as some of our peers at future companies, we still bring a lot to the table. It has shocked me how many people I know that are second or first degree connections to a company that I never knew about. This can be helpful to future employers who just might need that one connection that you have. By providing that introduction to a possible client, your boss is sure to remember it and could add incentives to your working for the company.

I think networking, in the future, will be even more important than it is now. As the economy continues on a roller coaster ride businesses are going to want a PR agency they can trust and rely on. Networking is becoming the future of business. As soon-to-be-grads we need to harness and perfect this skill so that we can be assets to any company, especially in the PR field.

What are some of the ways you are using networking to get your footing in the PR world?

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5 Responses to The Importance of Networking

  1. Networking is crucial, you are absolutely correct! It is truly incredible how far a simple connection can take us, and even more incredible who we are connected to. Like you said, I too have been looking at my LinkedIn and the connections my “links” have to companies that I was completely unaware of. You make an incredible point when it comes to getting your ideas out there. A fantastic idea can wither and die without the proper connections and channels for presentation. It’s definitely time to start getting our names out there. Great post Austin and wonderful advice!

  2. lockerobster says:

    Right on! I don’t think you are being dis-genuine at all; you are simply pointing out the importance of people and relationships. Studying public relations has taught us early on that business isn’t simply the bottom line, but the people that make up the company and the people that interact with the company.
    It reminds me of J453 when people asked if they should put group work in their portfolios and Pat said, “Of course! You will be working in groups for the rest of your life.” Building strong relationship won’t only help us start our careers, but also help us achieve great goals and projects in the future.

  3. There is no doubt that networking is important. Although many of your contacts won’t get you anywhere, there will be one that will land you your dream job. But like you said in your post, having contacts isn’t entirely about job opportunities. It is also about camaraderie, and sometimes friendship. Let’s put it this way; people aren’t going to refer you to their current or previous employer if they don’t like you.

    Keep networking. Make things happen.

    -Nick

  4. kttodd says:

    Nice post, Austin! LinkedIn has definitely showed me a surprising amount of connections to companies and organizations I wouldn’t have guessed, which helped me realize what a huge network I have, just from being in the journalism school and from past jobs. It’s amazing how learning to build relationships like these can help our careers–from finding the right person to collaborate with on a project to getting a connection to a company you’ve always wanted to work for–and I agree that networking will probably become even more important in the future.

  5. andrewsch90 says:

    You are right on point, Austin. As we get ready to graduate, networking is going to be a crucial component of finding our first jobs. I was just talking to my supervisor recently about how he has been able to find almost all of his jobs through connections. Even if you have a killer resume, an introduction or “foot in the door” is what can really help you stand out from other candidates. I agree with Holly in that there is nothing unauthentic about it. It’s important to meet people and develop relationships because you never know what may develop out of it.

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