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Once upon a time at a University far, far away lived two Educated Latinas, Melissa and Antonia.
These two girls were in the same Public Relations class. They were great students: turning in their papers on time, always participating in class discussions. Yet, Antonia always stayed behind to chat with the professor, while Melissa rushed out to meet her friends for lunch.
One day, the Professor announces a great internship opportunity at 718 PR, the most prestigious PR firm in the city. There is only one stipulation; out of a class of 45 he can only recommend 2 students. As the Professor hands out the application, the class is buzzing with excitement. Melissa imagines herself accompanying a major celebrity to a red carpet event while Antonia envisions schmoozing with the hottest stars. When class is over, everyone runs out to start their application, but Antonia stays behind to ask some questions.
Three weeks later, the Professor starts the class with an announcement. The room falls silent. This is the moment of truth. Melissa is confident she will get it because PR is her dream and passion. She poured her soul into that application. On top of that, she is one of the top 5 students in that class. Antonia is confident she will get it because PR is her passion. She dreams of one day of owning her own entertainment PR firm. She also is one of the top 5 students in that class. Antonia also has a great professional relationship with the professor.
“Antoooniiiaaaa!” exclaims her neighbor, nudging her back to reality. “You got it!”
“Huh?” she shakes her head realizing that her classmates are clapping for her. Her eyes get wide and she beams. Antonia gets up out of her seat, walks down to the professor, shakes her hand and thanks her.
Melissa is devastated as she watches Antonia shake the Professor’s hand. ‘I deserved that internship!’ she pouts to herself. ‘’What did I do wrong?”
Antonia walks back to her seat with a Kool-Aid smile. She knows this a start to a great career.
Okay, wait! Not quite the end. We have to get to the moral of the story which is…
Building relationships are more important in the long run than grades and papers.
Let me explain. Firstly, I’m not endorsing slacking off. What I am endorsing is a sense of balance to what is important.
Getting good grades, participating in class and writing excellent papers are all very important. You need to read, analyze, write and discuss what’s happening in your field. You will be required by your Boss to do them well.
However, it is equally important to build relationships while on campus. When you graduate, your employers aren’t always interested in what grade you got, but rather how effectively you deal with people.
Here’s what you can do to get started:
Your professors are the key to getting jobs and internships in your field. Remember, besides giving exams and lectures they are also experts in their field. They have been published, been on panels and been sought for their expertise. They are passionate about what the subject they teach. Show you are interested by staying after class to chat about something you learned, ask their opinion about a current event or drop by their office hours. Not a lot of students utilize office hours, so going often will you help you stand out. Stay in touch and by the time you graduate, you can ask for recommendations for jobs, internships, or grad school.
The Student Affairs Division is in charge of the social side of campus; schmooze with them too. They make great contacts for jobs, recommendations; they can also turn out to be great mentors.
It is wise to join on and off campus organizations or industry associations. Most industries have associations and they usually offer student discounts on their memberships. As a student, it is an extremely great time to join one of these orgs.; the networking, education and mentoring that they offer is priceless.
On campus orgs are great too because they help you build leadership, team building, programming, financial, and networking skills. It’s also good for building relationships with your peers.
Now to Pull it All Together…
Relationships don’t always have to be about business; it’s about reciprocity. Send your contact an informative article on a topic they are interested in. Connect another contact with someone who can advance their career. Those good deeds will pay off for you, trust me.
What are you doing to secure a job for yourself? Share your tips below!