Life after college graduation is an exciting time. However, when all the glitz and glamour of entering the “real world” disappears and the jobs searches begin, many recent graduates find themselves wondering what they can do to stand out.
One extra step that most recent grads neglect to notice is the immediate need to network. Sure, sending your resume out to as many potential employers as possible is a good start, but ultimately, being able to form valuable relationships with other industry professionals is the best way to leave a mark.
There are numerous groups and organizations available for recent graduates to fulfill that need to get out and get involved. Here are two great ones to consider:
- National – The Public Relations Society of America (PRSA) is the most recognized professional PR organization. Although it provides numerous networking opportunities throughout the year for its members, the fees associated with its membership and subsequent events is typically more than a recent grad can afford. Once you land that coveted gig, many employers are willing to pick up the tab for professional development activities such as PRSA memberships.
If you don’t have the funds to become a PRSA member or to attend the paid events, look for free opportunities to network with PRSA professionals. Find your local chapter’s website and pay close attention to the events schedule (also connect with the chapter on Facebook and Twitter if there is a chapter presence). Often times, there will be less formal networking events that are free, such as the PRSA Detroit and HAPPO event we’re hosting at Identity this week.
- Local – The Detroit Young Professionals (DYP) is a regional nonprofit organization that provides professional development, social networking and civil engagement opportunities to individuals in southeastern Michigan. The membership dues are reasonable and its events are very socially focused, making it a great option for individuals interested in making friends in the industry.
For PR grads with a more social media based interest, the metro Detroit area has several professional groups available to develop that knowledge, including the following:
- Social Media Club Detroit is an organization that meets monthly to engage and collaborate with the community on issues regarding social media and technology. This organization is currently free to join, and events and social functions are educational and stimulating.
- Tweetea is another great option for the social media savvy. The group meets weekly in several locations around the area to discuss industry-related topics. Best part? The group has no rigid rules and no fees. Anyone and everyone is welcome, as long as they are interested in social media and want to meet their neighbors. You’re not required to have a Twitter account, Facebook page or any other social network presence to attend and participate.
Creating valuable relationships with PR professionals is the quickest, most efficient way to gain industry recognition and learn about job opportunities, and there is no shortage of available options for recent grads to get involved.
What other national/local groups and organizations would you suggest recent college grads join?