This time of year is particularly hectic in the business world as resumes from soon-to-be college graduates flood HR departments across the country. On Wednesday, April 14th, Capstrat held their 4th Annual Networking Night in Raleigh, NC. The theme of the night was “Networking GPS: How to Navigate Your Career”. There were three sessions of panel discussions, each with their own topic and tips. Among the panelist were Jennifer Anderson, Social Media Strategist for Blue Cross and Blue Shield of North Carolina, Melody Hunter-Pillion, Media Relations Manager for Rex Healthcare, and Erin Lane, Director of Marketing Communications for Scandinavian Child. In total, there were 13 panelists who shared their valuable insights.
The first session focused on career development and the importance of networking. All of the panelists agreed that networking is about building relationships. Keep in mind, one should never burn bridges because you never know how important that connection could become. Also, while networking, the word “job” is taboo. No one wants to be bombarded with a resume. You must first establish a connection. In addition, go above and beyond the job description. Your first job will not be your last, so use it to propel your career.
The second session focused on emerging job trends. Contrary to popular belief, according to these professionals, it is acceptable to stay at a company for one to two years and then move on. Businesses understand that the “millennials,” people born from 1980 onward, are in positions to learn skills, and gain experience. Another key insight during this session was to bring something extra to the table. Since many public relations firms are relatively small, a person with an expertise in addition to their PR knowledge will have a great advantage. Develop skills that aren’t necessarily for your job but that are applicable, such as web page design, social media, etc.
The final session was on building your personal brand and social media. LinkedIn is a great tool to use, as well as Twitter. Follow people on Twitter in your industry of interest. You never know who is reading your tweets, so make them interesting, appropriate and something people want to read. While looking for a job, maximize your potential. Create a Web site with your own domain name, post your e-portfolio and demonstrate your capabilities. Personal branding and social media aid people in developing an online presence and help mold how they want to be viewed.
Keep all of this in the back of your mind while exploring career options and make yourself standout among the rest!
Danielle Murray, Writer
Rachel Kaylor, Editor