Attending national, regional and local conferences is essential to meeting new people. While building your network locally is important, knowing people around the country can be helpful in job searches and, down the line, finding business relationships. Have you ever heard of someone knowing too many people? Probably not. Having a far-reaching network, especially as a student, shows commitment and skill.
I’ve mentioned this before on my blog, but it’s important to get involved with your professional community. Associations such as PRSA and PRSSA are a great way to meet and network with people in your profession. Being active within those organizations is even more important because it demonstrates your thought leadership within the organization. People look up to thought leaders and allow for easier networking.
While building your number of followers on Twitter, friends on Facebook and subscribers on FriendFeed, don’t be afraid to meet them in person. I’ve experienced the awkward “Oh, I follow you on Twitter!” many times. I stumbled into Scott Monty (@scottmonty) at the North American International Auto Show, Tim Wieland (@timwieland) at the EMU Student Development Conference and Shonali Burke (@shonali) by phone through the Mentorship Connection.
Why? I’d like to share a story from a fellow blogger:
“ I want to thank you for inspiring me to blog. This is why: it landed me a job. After losing my job three weeks ago I struggled with finding another one. I sent out resumes and cover letters to all sorts of places and never heard anything back. I thought it was hopeless. But I was wrong. When I got an email from a company in Arkansas I was just a bit baffled. I vaguely remember applying for a position there but had quickly forgotten about it because I didn’t think anything would come of it. But here they were. I had a phone interview with them and this is what they said: They loved my work and my experience, but the thing they loved most was reading my blog and discovering my personality.”