Category Archives: Networking

PRSSA Regional Conference in April! Learn more here!

There will be a PRSSA Regional Conference on April 7 through April 9 in Grand Rapids, Mich. Grand Valley State University and Ferris State University are hosting the conference, “Generation Grand: Experience PR in GR.” According to the event’s website, guests will hear about a variety of topics, including corporate responsibility, green thinking, place and space making, keeping talent in the Midwest, maintaining a creative community, and much more.

The conference’s schedule and registration details can be found here.


It’s a small world after all: The importance of networking

By: Nikki Mikolon


Photo created by Nikki Mikolon using Canva

This year at the PRSSA National Conference, Bridget Coffing and Mike Fernandez from the Living Legends panel spoke about the importance of relationships. Not only the professional relationships we gain from networking, but also our personal relationships. In the grand scheme of things, there is not much of a difference between the two. Good professional relationships will turn into personal ones and those personal relationships will benefit us more than we would expect.

The key message here is the idea of building meaningful relationships. During the panel, Fernandez said, “There is something to be said about nurturing relationships.” This is one hundred percent spot on. It is hard to think of anything more beneficial than taking care of, and working on the relationships fostered throughout life.

On Dec. 2, 2016, EMU PRSSA’s annual Student Development Conference took place, setting the perfect example of building meaningful relationships. This year’s theme was media relations. The conference included a keynote speaker, a media relations specialist panel and a creative storytelling workshop.

It can be difficult to brainstorm ideas and execute the proper planning that goes into this conference, including invitations, social media, awareness and the logistics of event planning, such as venue, catering, and so much more.

One of the most difficult parts about planning a conference is not only getting people to attend, but to also get speakers to take time out of their busy schedules to speak in front of students and attendees.

Being a college student myself with minimal “experience” or connections to professionals in the field, it may have seemed impossible at the time. However, it was not.

The conference reminded us how important networking is and maintaining the relationships with the people you have connected with professionally or not.

The first step to taking advantage of your network is to sit down and think about all the people you have met on a professional level. The second step is to reach out. Ask how they are doing, and perhaps remind them where you last worked with or saw them. They are likely to remember you or at least recognize your name. Another piece of good advice was given to us at National Conference from the Intern Queen, Lauren Berger. Berger said that it is important to maintain the professional relationships we gathered throughout our various experiences and to reach out to our connections three times a year. Now, three times a year is a lot, but it does emphasize how important it is to keep in contact with our network. By keeping up with these connections, they are less likely to forget you, making them more likely to help you when you need something like a speaker, letter of recommendation, advice or even a job.

Many of the speakers that came to SDC were from my own or others’ professional networks. Having connections to professionals in the field made this part of the planning easier. I have kept up with some of these relationships I have made along the way through PRSSA, college courses and internships. Through nurturing some of these professional relationships, Ruth Lednicer and Matt Lee, two SDC panelists were able to come and share their knowledge and wisdom about media relations with students at the conference. Stephen Kurily, EMU alumnus, was also a connection I made and kept up with in order to maintain a healthy relationship. Following SDC, I made several new connections by working closely with these professionals over several months.

In closing, remember that in life, both personally and professionally, it is important to “network” or foster meaningful relationships and to nurture them over time.

Nikki Mikolon is a senior majoring in public relations and minoring in marketing. As a Detroit native, she hopes to spend her beginning years working for the city and being a part of its renaissance. Connect with Nikki on Twitter @nikkimikolon.

Student & Pro Mixer will be held April 21

The Detroit chapter of PRSA will be holding a Student & Pro Mixer Thursday, April 21 from 6 to 8:30 p.m. This event will be held at Punch Bowl Social in Detroit and is an opportunity to meet “Detroit PR professionals and fellow students over drinks and bowling at a Detroit hot spot” (source). Students interested in attending must RSVP.

For more information, including directions to Punch Bowl Social and how to RSVP, visit the event page here.



Gaining knowledge from professionals

By: Irene Pool



Throughout college you constantly have the idea of an internship thrown at you: “It’s great hands on experience,” “internships are a great way to build your resume.” But what you may not realize is that you can also network and gain knowledge from professionals.

Because PR professionals have been in the field for many years, they can be a great tool to use for learning the ins and outs of your field. They can show you tricks or even shortcuts to certain scenarios or simply give you some advice on how to get out of a crisis situation.

Constantly ask for advice- you never know what type of information you will receive. Asking questions is not always a bad thing. It shows that you are willing to learn and hear what others have to say. People that have been in the field for a while are always willing to help others out.

With technology constantly changing and the use of social media skyrocketing, connection with professionals is at your fingertips. You can connect with people from all over the world with the use of social media and monitor what they are saying. People are constantly posting information or sharing information that they have found useful and want to spread the word.

The downfall of connecting with professionals over social media is trying to talk one-on-one with them. If someone has over 1,000 followers, it’s more likely that they have a large amount of notifications coming in each day. When this occurs, you should keep an eye open for who they are connecting with; see what they are talking about and even what the other party is involved with.

Going forward, don’t be afraid to ask a question or for someone’s opinion. When you keep quiet, you can’t learn anything new.

Irene Pool is Vice President of Public Relations for EMU PRSSA.

Overcoming shyness to network with Twitter connections

These days, getting a job is as much about who you know as about what you know. Infact, sometimes, who you know can be more important than what you know.

I have a bit of social anxiety and can be very shy and awkward around people I don’t know and tend to be a little more inward at networking events. But did you know that Twitter is a great tool to do a little bit of “pre-networking”?

There have been numerous times that I’ve been at events and have seen people who I “know” through Twitter, but have been too shy to introduce myself. Mostly because I haven’t spent much time talking to them on the social network and I’m afraid they won’t remember or recognized me.

But, for those who I have been fortunate enough to crawl out of my shell and actually meet (Hi, Jason Mollica!), it was one of the best things I ever did for myself.

Meeting your Twitter connections in person just solidifies a great relationship with these people – whether they’re mentors or friends. Heck – even family! (I have cousins I’m friends with on Facebook that I’ve never meet.)

So, what are some ways you can ensure that you’ll be able to meet these people face-to-face after only speaking to them? Check out a few below…

Source: Shannon Eileen Blog

Source: Shannon Eileen Blog

Interact! A casual “hello” or commenting on a link isn’t going to help you out here. You need to interact with them and your shared interests (sports, music, technology, whatever). If they’re someone who reaches out to students to help them a lot, take their advice and tell them how it helped you. Have real conversations with substance instead of a few “thank yous” or “that was cool” responses. It won’t help you overcome the shyness, I promise.

Join in Twitter chats! Sometimes, the most inspirational people host Twitter chats where you can interact with them on a more professional level and share your thoughts and experiences if you’re unsure of how to proceed on a one-on-one Twitter conversation. Plus, Twitter chats give you a great opportunity to “meet” other cool and inspiring people, too!

Ask if you can email them! If they can offer you advice, but 140 characters isn’t the way to do it, ask people if you can email them. If they’re really willing to help, they won’t say no! Building a relationship with people is important and shouldn’t be done just on Twitter. Emails, phone calls and actually meeting people are important steps in the process, too!

Emily Vontom

Networking tips from a social butterfly

One of the hardest things people who want to enter the PR field have the hardest times with is networking. People are naturally shy and can be afraid of sharing their ideas.

Source: Walker Sands

Source: Walker Sands

Luckily, I am not one of them.

Here are some tricks I learned over the years that can hopefully help you get the courage to share your voice and meet some great people.

 Look for networking opportunities, find one, and sign up for it. You can’t network if you stay at home.

If you go to a networking event with a friend, split up with that person for an hour or two. What often happens is that you and your friend will spend the entire time talking to each other because you are too afraid to mingle with others, which means you won’t meet anyone interesting.

The night before an event, make a list of your interests, strengths, and weaknesses. This will help put an end to awkward “ummms” and “huhs” during conversations about the PR field with the new people you meet.

Name brand clothes don’t make you look like a million bucks, being comfortable does. If you wear something comfy but at the same time look professional, you will stand tall and look more attractive, making you more confident to network with people.

Speaking of things to wear, wear a smile. Having a smile at a social event gives you a presence of confidence and people will look positively upon you and want to flock to you.

The strongest word on earth is “hate.” Avoid it at all costs. In fact, avoid using any word that has a negative meaning. You would be surprised about how someone’s use of a certain word can be etched in one person’s memory for a lifetime. Recently, I met a new co-worker and in the first conversation I had with her, she said some pretty not nice things. That girl turned out to be pretty cool and a hard worker, but all that sticks in my mind is the swearword. Don’t let yourself be associated with the word hate or anything negative.

Don’t just go through the motions of talking to someone, actually listen to them. Conversations must be two-sided. Networking is about connecting, not just landing.

Keep up with current events. There’s nothing worse than speaking to someone who doesn’t know anything. Keep up to date with current events – industry wise and in the rest of the world, too. Nothing is more boring than talking to someone who doesn’t know anything about what is going on in the world.

The biggest goal of networking in person isn’t sharing business cards, its sharing ideas. If you have good ideas and the courage to share them, those business cards will come your way.  Anyone who asks for a business card will get one, but someone who shares ideas and earns it will be remembered. It is those people who succeed in life and with networking.

Scott Mullin
Chief Financial Officer

Getting A Job After Graduation

It’s a lot easier for some people and much harder for others.

Getting that job after graduation comes down to a few key factors:

Who do you know that can get you an interview?  What skills do you have to offer an organization and how can you display them?  And how hard are you willing to work to get the job that you want?

Source: Jeff Christian

Source: Jeff Christian

For me, I’ve been on the job hunt since this past December.

I graduated with a degree in PR, had a 3.84 GPA, have done three internships and have been an executive board member of PRSSA for the past year.

Sounds like a pretty good resume, right?

Well, I’ve applied for over 150 jobs in and around metro Detroit since December, and still no job.  I had a handful of interviews, but have yet to find that right fit.

For me, finding a job has been more difficult than any class or school project I ever worked on.

I know what you’re thinking:  “There must be something he’s doing wrong.”

Maybe.  But let me share with you the things that I have been doing before you judge me.

  1. Social Media:  I have a very detailed LinkedIn account and active and unlocked Facebook and Twitter accounts.  I’m using social media to my advantage as much as possible and have used LinkedIn to apply for nearly 1/4 of the jobs I’ve been seeking.
  2. Constant Resume Updating: I’ve been refining my resume every couple of weeks to try and make it as attractive as possible.  I also have a few different versions for different types of jobs I am applying for.
  3. Indeed Obsession: Indeed is the best job search engine I’ve come across.  I try to check it daily and try and be the first to respond to a job post.
  4. Attend Job Fairs: I did nearly 30 short interviews and visited over 100 job booths at the recent EMU job fair at Burton Manor in Livonia.
  5. Get Letters of Recommendation: I have a great letter of recommendation from my last internship and am working on getting one from my best professor.

These things have just scratched the surface.  I spend at least 10 to 15 hours a week on my job hunt.

Hopefully, I’m getting closer.

To me, this old saying is ringing truer than ever: “It’s not what you know, it’s who you know.”

Networking is now my biggest point of emphasis.

This post isn’t designed to scare upcoming graduates.  Instead, I just want you to understand what you’re in for.  Start contacting people you know now that might have the “in” on a job you may like.

Sam Plymale (BS 12)