Tips from Campus is a monthly column written by WWPR member Jordan DeJarnette exploring a wide range of topics from a student’s perspective including guidance to young PR professionals beginning their careers in public relations.
Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect those of Washington Women in Public Relations
How to make connections in a different city
Many twenty-something soon-to-be college grads have the dream of leaving behind their small college towns and moving into the hustle and bustle of our nation’s Capitol after graduation. The problem many, including myself, face is the task of securing a job in a place that’s hundreds of miles away. This is where the art that it is online networking comes in. Sites like LinkedIn, Facebook and even your good ole’ Gmail account have made connecting across state lines easier than ever. However, in order to be successful in online networking you have to follow one major rule — Keep. It. Personal.
“But how do I personalize a message to a person I’ve never met?” you ask. My first tip is to network within your network. Reach out to old professors, mentors and other professional contacts to see if they know anyone in the place that you’re interested in. Chances are, if they don’t know someone they’ll be able to connect you to someone who will. Contacting someone through means of a mutual connection normally has a much better chance of getting a response. My second tip is take advantage of what you’re involved in. For instance, I am a member of Delta Gamma, a Fraternity that has hundreds of chapters nation-wide. Through research, I was able to plug into the DG DC alum group through Facebook. This page has given me access to dozens of women in the public relations field that are more than willing to help me because of our shared DG sisterhood. Lastly, make sure to take advantage of the gold mine — LinkedIn. Search companies that you’re interested in and see if you have any degree of connection to a current employee. If so, ask your connection if they would mind introducing you and take it from there.
As daunting as reaching out to someone you’ve never met before can be, always remember — the worst they can say is no!