I talk about this a lot…now I’m turning my words into action.
I did my best to demonstrate the value of networking to my students at Curry College, where, until mid-2017, I headed the Communication Department’s Public Relations Concentration and taught most of the undergrad PR courses.
Not only did I introduce them to anyone with whom I had lunch in the Student Center; I encouraged them to go to meetings of the Boston Chapter, Public Relations Society of America, and Publicity Club of New England. And the Curry College Public Relations Student Association‘s regular programming brought top-tier PR professionals onto campus to share their knowledge, experience, and advice.
These efforts seem to have worked as my “troops” (as I like to call them) have gone on to complete multiple internships and secure really cool entry-level PR positions based entirely on the contacts they made at these events.
And now the tables have turned. I’ve retired and moved permanently to a brand-new home near Tampa, Florida (the only time I had been to Tampa before this was when I was somewhere in the vicinity of eight years old!).
New home. New community. New stage in my own professional life. Starting basically from Square One!!
So what do you do in a situation like this? One word. “Network.”
I have now attended meetings of the Tampa Bay Chapter, PRSA, as well as the Tampa Bay Chapter, Florida Public Relations Association. I’ve already joined one committee with the PRSA chapter and am exploring ways in which I can do the same with FPRA.
You might well ask, “Kirk, why? You’re retired. Why are you looking for ways to keep busy?”
Simple-ish answer. “I’m simply not wired to just shut down and sit on my patio watching the ducks swim by.”
And…I think…I still have some things of value to offer others…especially students who are interested in public relations as a career and young professionals looking for advice on the next step(s) in their budding careers.
So what do you do when you’re starting all over yourself? You network.
You put yourself in front of as many people in as many different settings as possible. You shake hands. You pass out business cards. You schedule lunch/coffee meetings with those who you feel might be able to help you get established in your new community. You get your name “out there.”
It’s labor-intensive, though. You have to work to meet others, “sell” yourself and your knowledge/skill base, and connect.
But, in the end, it’s worth the effort. If you’re looking to make a job transition (as I was when we moved to Hawaii way back when) or simply maintain your professional connections, you have to have others’ help. And they’re not going to know what you need unless you tell them.
So do as I say, and do as I do. Get up out of the comfort of your chair and put your face…and the rest of you!…in front of your target audience.
As a good friend always likes to say when I say “Good to see you.”… “It’s good to be seen.”
Get out there. Network. Promote yourself!