By Paige Grimmer
Entering the workforce can be a daunting time in any young adult’s life. A new beginning also comes with trying to find the right place for you. With the presence of LinkedIn, making professional connections has been as easy as pushing a button. But making connections that are valuable and meaningful require work. As the saying goes, “it’s all about who you know,” and that stands true even in the era of social networking. Here are some of the things that I keep in mind when working with new clients or meeting members of the media:
The biggest hurdle that I had to overcome when starting to make those important connections was getting over being uncomfortable. That initial conversation may not feel right or be nerve racking, but you have to start somewhere when meeting people. I’ve learned that having a list of content or story ideas prepared ahead of time is important so that you have talking points when speaking in person or on the phone. Re-read and edit your email to sound professional and structured with your main purpose of the email laid out clearly. Making those connections improves your professional network, but also helps your clients’ exposure in the media.
Establish a Working Relationship
Establishing a working relationship with members of the media or your clients not creates trust and shows that you are a reliable worker. Just recently, I reached out to a member of the media that I had seen around but had not worked with in the past to pitch a client. After the initial dialogue, I offered my range of clients to create content together. That initial interaction along with gratitude started a conversation of how and when we could do more work that not only gives clients more exposure, but also furthers their brand as well.
While genuine friendships can form, finding the balance of being professional and friendly is important to not be disregarded when it matters the most. It is critical to remember you are there to do a job.
Don’t Stop Trying
Becoming comfortable in a professional setting and with new people comes with the foundation you establish when you start working and becoming more confident. Just because you know what you are doing and comfortable in that, doesn’t mean you should stop trying. Content ideas and trends are always changing. Pushing yourself to create and explore new avenues is not only beneficial for your clients, but also broadens your skillset. As soon as you stop trying, the people around you will notice and there is always someone who wants to continue to grow creatively and professionally who can take your spot.
Stepping into the professional world is a big transition in life. Bettering those skills and connections will ease the transition and further your knowledge as a budding young professional.