When personal and virtual networking worlds collide

  • by , March 29, 2011

As a public relations student, I am always, always, always told by my professors that networking is key. And as I continue my job hunt for post-graduation, I am reminded of this time and time again.

The job hunt is daunting. It really is. I tell at least one person once a day, “I don’t even fully understand how to find a job!” And they either tell me, “the internet!” or they ask, “Well…who do you know?” If I’m really lucky, they tell me a combination of the two.

And recently I’ve been able to tie these two concepts together.

I got my internship in a very bizarre way. Or at least in my mind it’s confusing. My dad’s been footing at least part of my college bills the entire time I’ve been in school. For that reason, I keep him updated on any major changes in my life or education. Around November of my junior year I called him to tell him I was switching my major from magazine journalism to public relations. I also told him that I was planning to do my required internship in Alabama where he and the majority of my family lived sometime within the upcoming year.



Then, one day several months later he called me and immediately upon my answering the phone said, “I think I found you an internship.” I did not ask for his help in the least bit, but I took his lead and finished the process. But I had to know…how did he find me an internship? I hadn’t even started looking for one just yet.

Ham radio. (Or as I explain it to my friends, “Modified walkie talkies for adults.”)

My dad is a ham radio enthusiast in his spare time. And while talking to a local guy in my future industry that he met through his ham radio, he did what any father might do: put in a good word and mentioned his daughter’s internship quest.

After talking to this man myself as well as other employees at the company and sending in my resume, I was given a marketing internship for the summer of 2010.

Just recently I had another odd networking experience. I was visiting friends in Indianapolis this past Friday night. We went to the local bars when one of my friend’s friends showed up. And that girl’s friend showed up. When the group of us all said we were from Ball State University, this friend of a friend of a friend (LITERALLY) asked if any of us were in a particular sorority. Oddly enough, I have lived with girls from that sorority for three years! This friend of a friend of a friend and I got to talking and we realized that we had another thing in common: public relations.

She had recently graduated from a different college and was moving to Chicago for a job. And as much as I was hoping we could network and that she could help me out is how much she wanted to help me out! She gave me advice, we exchanged information, and she urged me to get a LinkedIn account and find her.

I did just that. People have long been telling me I should utilize LinkedIn as I enter the career world, but now I had even more of an incentive. We are now connected on the site and I am hopeful that she is able to help me if ever she can.

When I added her on LinkedIn, I began thinking about writing about this for my blog (how well trained am I?), and I relived the aforementioned story about my internship. And I just had to add my original odd networking person on the site dedicated to networking.

Now if that’s not considered coming full circle, I don’t know what is. Let’s just tie it all up with a pretty bow. Time will only tell how far this pretty little package will take me, but I couldn’t be more ready for it. Consider this a second (or third or fourth) wave of excitement about entering the career world.

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