This blog was written by our campus ambassador Delanie from San Diego State University. If you go to SDSU as well and want to blog for us, please leave a comment here!
I am a big advocate of the phrase "It&s not what you know, it&s who you know." In many careers and internships, especially public relations, building relationships with different types of people and making them last can make all the difference and further yourself as a professional (or intern). Even though building relationships sounds easy, it is something that can be hard to do with busy schedules and the overwhelming amount of people that we meet. I have acquired a lot of great information on relationship building during the last two years of my college career from different mentors, professionals and peers. Here are my tips for building relationships and making them last:
1. Network with students AND professionals. Who knows, the girl that sits next to you in your 8 a.m. class on Tuesdays and Thursdays might end up being the CEO of a company one day. It is never too early to start building relationships.
2. Be prepared before you introduce yourself to someone. There is nothing worse than awkward conversation. Think of at least three things you can talk about to keep a conversation going. For other students, you can talk about a project they are working on in one of their classes; or what they plan to do after they graduate. For professionals, ask how they made it in the industry and if they could go back, what they would do differently.
3. Don&t leave a networking event, or any event for that matter, with simply a business card-leave with a relationship instead. If a professional, or fellow young professional, hands you a business card, write something on the back of it that stuck out to you about that person. For example, if you talked to another student about their internship, write "Interns for X." (P.S. don&t write it in front of the person!) Then, a few days or a week later, follow up with that person by asking how their internship is going. We can call that one "familiarize and follow-up."
4. Everyday, scroll through your contacts on your cell phone, email or rolodex and touch base with someone you haven&t talked to in a while. Shoot a casual text or email to an old friend, faculty advisor, former boss or coworker and simply ask how they are doing. You would be surprised what you can get out of it-possibly a job opportunity, invitation to an event or grand opening, or plans to meet for coffee and catch up.
5. Finally, do not be afraid to talk to ANYONE. If you have always wanted to meet the owner of a company you would absolutely love to intern for, go for it! You have nothing to lose (but make sure to follow steps 2 and 3). As quoted in a cheesy Hilary Duff movie: "Don&t let the fear or striking out keep you from playing the game."