As we make our way through our college years, networking and forming contacts for the future becomes increasingly important. Connections have become a primary way for communication students to make the transition from college into the working world. I am constantly thinking about people I know who can help me get to where I want to be. On Monday, in hopes of expanding my network, I attended A Night of Networking hosted by Hofstra University’s new program, Women in Leadership. At this event, students and recent alumni were able to listen to and get tips from a panel of Hofstra graduates who have made their way up the corporate ladder and now hold positions that would be a dream come true for many current students. This was a great opportunity to learn some dos and don’ts of the trade; but don’t panic, if you weren’t able to go, here are some helpful tips from the professionals.
Ask Questions – Lauren Ruotolo, Director of Entertainment Promotions at Hearst Magazine, is an avid believer in asking questions. Ruotolo stated that a lot of the time, when given a task, interns don’t know exactly what their supervisors are looking for. If you are not 110 percent positive you know what you are doing, make sure you ask questions. This will show that you are passionate about learning the ropes and getting things right the first time. Not to mention, you will make both yours and your boss’s lives easier.
Go Back to the Basics – Facebook, Twitter, and texting has flipped our writing skills upside down. As students, we are constantly using social media to get our points across in a fast manner – these days we don’t even have the time to write out the word “you” anymore. However, once we make our way into the working world, we need to remember that “u” is just a letter and not an actual word. Bonnie Optekman, Vice President of News Technology at NBC, told the audience to always revert back to the basics. Even in a text message, employers want to see that we are aware of proper spelling and possess good writing skills. Optekman advised to always be professional while communicating during your internships.
Snail Mail – Who would have guessed that the postal service still exists? Email has taken over snail mail and to many college students regular mail is no longer a form of communication. However, the panel of professionals believes a hand written thank you note after an interview can go a long way. It was agreed upon that receiving a thank you card rather than an email shows that the interviewee really cares. Celia Berk, Chief Talent Officer at Young & Rubicam Brands and moderator of the event, gave a great piece of advice when she told the audience to add aspects of interview conversation into your thank you notes. This demonstrates to employers that you were interested in what was going on and that you’re passionate about your possible internship. Just think about it, an extra 44 cents for a stamp can put you at the top of any professional’s list!
If you hope to be in the seats of these professionals someday, their tips and tricks are great stepping stones to get you where you want to be.
Daniele Natola, Junior, Public Relations Major