Intern Insights: Networking
Our teachers in college always tell us that networking is key when job searching. I have definitely found that to be true in my internship searches, but networking events can also be intimidating at times. Yesterday, I had the opportunity to attend a South Carolina Festival & Event Association meeting. My boss from another internship was speaking, and I went to go hear her talk about the importance of PR in event planning. When I arrived, I not only discovered I didn’t know anyone else in the room except her, but I also realized I was one of the youngest in the group.
After the meeting, attendees began coming up to her to talk and introduce themselves. As I stood there awkwardly by myself, I quickly realized I needed to reach out and meet some people. I don’t consider myself a shy person, but going up to a group of people I don’t know and joining in on the conversation isn’t the most fun thing to do. However, I realized the benefits of the connections and relationships formed at networking events are worth the initial awkwardness of walking up to a group and introducing yourself.
Because I decided to get out of my comfort zone, I met some great people and enjoyed talking with other professionals about their careers. I have been to other networking events, but I have always been with other co-workers who have attended the meetings before and usually introduce me to everyone. This event was the first time I had to do it alone, and it was good I didn’t have anyone else there with me. Networking isn’t only important in the public relations field, but applies to all careers. It’s important to use those connections to keep in touch or follow up with the people you meet. You never know who you are going to meet that may end up being a future employer or new business opportunity.