I didn’t know what to expect when I was invited to participate in PRSSA’s speed networking event at the group’s national conference yesterday. What I discovered was a ballroom full of 125 impressive students who were lazer focused on landing jobs in public relations.
In the one hour, lightening-fast session, students introduced themselves to many of the 35 professionals who volunteered to help hone the students’ networking skills. I heard from a few PRSSA chapter presidents who said they hold similar speed networking sessions on their campuses.
Until recently speed networking has been used primarily by business organizations as way to introduce products and services to prospective customers. The logic for job-focused speed networking is supported by the fact that an estimated 75% of jobs today are landed through someone in your network.
Recognize that people are very busy and not everyone has time to provide informational interviews or respond to networking requests. It is important to avoid cold-call networking requests. Ideally, you should be introduced by someone who knows you. With “Six Degrees of Separation,” you very likely will meet your next employer through a contact chain started with your parents, relatives, past employers or professors.