As students and pre-professionals, we’re told how important it is to network with experienced practitioners; however, connecting with your peers from other Chapters may be just as beneficial.
I have learned so much by networking with PRSSA Chapters from across the country at PRSSA National events and local Chapter mixers. Here are a few benefits of connecting with members of other Chapters:
- You learn the rules of the game. Are you thinking about starting a new Chapter program? The best way to do that is to hear from someone who has a similar (and already successful) program instated at his or her Chapter. Our Chapter received some great tips from Temple PRSSA about their internal mentorship program.
- You experience diversity. By diversity, I don’t just mean ethnic background. I have spoken with so many peers that have different interests, majors and experiences. Think of these as informal informational interviews. I want to know what people my age have accomplished, what programs are offered at other schools and where I might run into these aspiring public relations professionals again.
- You build your network tenfold. Your network doesn’t include just business professionals. Take a hint from LinkedIn and make connections across all spectrums. These are the people that you will work with throughout your career — the next generation to take over businesses and agencies. Find out more about them and consider not only how they might be able to help you down the road, but also how you might be able to help them. Your network should be built on relationships, not just favor-asking without return.
For some members, the closest Chapter could be many miles away. However, the glorious thing about modern technology is that you don’t need to be face-to-face to connect. Co-hosting Chapter Twitter Chats, Skyping with another Chapter during meetings or, if you’re a Chapter president or student-run firm director, emailing a quick question to the PRSSA Google Group are all great ways to reach out to other Chapters. In turn, you will better your own Chapter and create lasting relationships with other young professionals who value PRSSA just as much as you do.
How have you connected with other Chapters? What is the biggest benefit that you find from peer networking? Share your experiences in the comments below.
Chelsey Rodowicz is a senior majoring in interpersonal communication and international relations at the University of Delaware and was the 2012-2013 president of her PRSSA Chapter. She edits and writes for her university’s honors program blog and holds a position on the college’s Student Advisory Board. Her public relations interests lie in the technology and hospitality industries.