Five Ways to Make a Strong Presence Among Professional
1. After meeting a professional from a guest speaking opportunity, agency tour, or a networking event, connect personally with them in some way electronically. This requires grabbing a business card upon meeting them! To follow up, send a personalized email, LinkedIn invite, or even a tweet letting the professional know it was great to meet him or her, and that you would like to remain in touch in the future.
2. If you have connected on a much more personal level with a professional, (information interview, lengthy one-on-one conversation, etc…) it is extremely important to follow up with a hand-written thank you note in the mail. Professionals will never, ever forget a student who has taken the time to write a thank you note.
3. Invite someone you admire to grab coffee. If you are the one to invite him or her, make sure you offer to pay for their coffee as well (even though they will likely decline). Ask questions about where he or she got started, how to thrive in the industry, and what advice he or she would give to an aspiring student.
4. Apply for scholarships and enter competitions that are correlated with the industry’s professional network (e.g. PRSA). Many scholarships and awards for competitions are announced and awarded at a banquet with hundreds of professionals in your field. Talk about a way to stand out against other students!
5. Interact often with professionals – particularly on Twitter. If you know a professional works for XYZ agency, and you have recently heard a piece of interesting news about that agency’s work, let the individual know of your sincere interest in the news. It shows that you are well researched and passionate about the industry you are about to enter.