By Breanna Holder
We have all heard it, “Network, network, network.”
Recently, I had the opportunity to dive into the networking scene in ways I never thought possible. As a senior graduating in May, I started thinking about the active steps I would be taking to have a successful job search in December.
This past December, I sat down and looked at where I wanted to be and what I wanted to do after graduation. I started by creating a SMART goal, a goal that is Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Relevant and Time-bound. My specific goal was to get a job in public relations for healthcare and move to Nashville, TN by August 1.
After carefully making a plan and writing down the ways I would reach this SMART goal, I made the first step in achieving my goal by revising my mediocre resume over. This sounds like an easy thing to do but thankfully I was advised to start working on this early- before I actually needed it.
By the end of December, I had set my SMART goal and had my resume ready for others to review and critique.
Now this is really where the networking fun began…
I spent the month of January researching the public relations community in Nashville and looking at some of the places were I would be interested in working. The time line I had set to achieve my SMART goal showed by the end of January, I would have made at least one contact in Nashville in the public relations community. January was coming to an end and I was walking a fine line in not achieving the first step of my goal. On January 31, I took a simple action that changed how I would continue my job search…
I sent a tweet.
I tweeted a question in a PRSSA twitter conversation. I did not receive an answer back in the twitter chat but I received something just as valuable. I was tweeted back a response to my question by a marketer in Nashville! –Wow, talk about waiting last minute to complete the first step in my goal.
After a few twitter interactions, my first Nashville contact and I shared email address. This was the start of a more in-depth conversation about the public relations and marketing community in Nashville. After a few emails, my first contact brought a close friend into the email conversation. His friend happened to be the public relations manager for Nisson in Nashville.
Wow! I had just been introduced to another contact!
I had a few more public relations focused questions to ask my new contact at Nisson so I suggested he and I have an informational meeting over the phone. In hindsight, that was by far one of the greatest things I could have done. We set up a time and spent about an hour conversing over the phone. I learned more about the public relations community in Nashville than I ever could have ever learned via email. At the end of the conversation, I asked if he knew of anyone else that would be a good connection to the healthcare public relations community in Nashville. Guess what, he did!
He sent me the contact information for five of his friends working in on the healthcare public relations community in Nashville.
After personally contacting all five of the contacts I was given, I had a response back from four professionals by the middle of February! The next step in my SMART goal was to have a trip to meet with my contacts in Nashville planned by the end of February.
As it stands at the end of February, I have two trips to Nashville planned and informational meetings planned with five of the contacts.
Originally, I was not sure how the job search via networking would work. To be honest, I did not think I would get very far reaching out and networking via social media. By setting a SMART goal, using the networking tools before me and not being afraid to reach out and asking for informational meetings, I have found myself networking with more individuals than I could have imagined.
My SMART goal monthly plan:
January- By the end of January, research companies that I would be interested in working for and make at least one professional contact in the Nashville public relations community.
February- Connect with at least three professionals in Nashville and have in-person informational meetings planned with each of them in Nashville during March. Connect with all contact on LinkedIn. Have resume reviewed, critiqued and edited.
March- Meet with the professional contacts and get four more contacts from each professional. Connect with the new contacts and link with them on LinkedIn.
April- Make another trip to Nashville to meet with new contacts. Send resumes to the desired companies from personal research.
May- Reconnect and follow up with all contacts. Endorse professionals for networking skills on LinkedIn.
June- Edit after March…
July- Edit after March…