By Brooke Horrobin

Back in mid-October, I had the pleasure of attending a networking event put on by the United Way of Oakville, accompanied by a couple of fellow classmates. After attending this event, I learned that networking is an extremely vital skill one must have as a PR professional – both when trying to get a job, and when working.

Here are some things I learned:

Don’t be afraid to ask questions
You know the saying: There’s no wrong answer? Well, in this case, when asking professionals in the field about their careers, there is no wrong question. These people attend networking events because they want to be a resource to you. The more questions you ask, the more information you will obtain about applying for future jobs, and the greater chance you will have at building a connection.

Dress to impress
This means both looking the part and speaking the part. Make sure you always dress well when attending a networking event. You never know whom you’ll meet and you want to be taken seriously by those you talk to. Make sure you look presentable because if you cannot take yourself seriously, there is a good chance others won’t be able to either.

Always follow up
One of the most important reasons for attending networking events is to build connections. You are there to meet people who have the potential to help you get a job someday. You never know when you’re going to meet someone who could influence your future career. A word to the wise: get their business cards. Give them your business card if you have one. Stay in contact. After attending my first real networking event, I sent email follow-ups to all of the people I felt I connected with strongly. You want these people to remember you because you never know when you might need their help down the road.


[Photo credit: SalFalko/Flikr]