3 Things I Learned From Reaching Out

“The currency of real networking is not greed but generosity.” I believe this quote to be true. Over the past month, I have experienced it firsthand. Like many college students, I began applying to numerous internships before my spring classes even ended. Unfortunately, I was not hired, and I was left wondering how I was going to utilize my summer. Luckily, I eventually thought of an idea that would satisfy my thirst for knowledge, even in the absence of an internship. After some consideration, I decided that it might be a good idea to reach out to a few PR professionals and request 15-minute discussions, so that I could learn more about different jobs within the industry.

I began my quest by contacting various PR pros on LinkedIn and many of them kindly agreed to speak with me. I learned many things this past month from these conversations, including the importance of human connection within PR. Below you will find a list of three takeaways:

  1. People are more apt to work with those that they like and trust.

A few weeks ago, I spoke with a professional that owns a media relations company. When I asked how she goes about building relationships with her clients, she emphasized the significance of building credibility and being reliable.

  1. Be comfortable with the uncomfortable.

When I spoke with another PR professional who also owns her own PR company, in the publishing space, I learned that to progress you must be willing to step outside of your comfort zone. You also must be willing to have a few tough conversations.

  1. Do not discount others.

Lastly, when I spoke with a professional in talent acquisition, I learned that it is important to not judge an opportunity based on who is presenting it and what they can do for you. It is more important to find a good fit while also being open to opportunities that may deviate from a traditional path.

The more I speak with different PR professionals, the more I gain a deeper understanding that public relations is not only about fostering important connections and taking risks, but it is also about paying kindness forward and helping others.

What is the best advice that a PR professional has given you?

Erica Williams is a graduate student at DePaul University, majoring in public relations and advertising. She is also a contributor and consultant at Classic Chicago Magazine. In her spare time, Erica enjoys listening to music and reading self-help books.  

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