Tag Archives: Networking

Connecting with Franco

“You can only know where you’re going, if you know where you’ve been.” That saying can have different meanings for people in all walks of life, but it also holds true for those embarking on the job and internship search. As any recent hire from our office will tell you, the job market is all about connecting with businesses and networking with other professionals in the field. And there’s no better way to get to know a company than to immerse yourself in their daily routines and connect with the people who already work there. After all, you can’t know which direction you want to take in your career if you haven’t explored it in the past. Luckily for those entering the job market, there are a multitude of ways to find out more about a potential workplace and find the right career path.

Tour our office with a student group

Touring an office with a large student group, whether it’s classmates or fellow PRSSA members, is a great way to get to know a company, their clients, and of course connecting with employees working in various industries.

My first visit to Franco was on a tour of agencies in Detroit with Michigan State’s PRSSA group. The tour gave me great benchmarks for what agencies in the city were looking for in potential candidates. While I didn’t have the experience Franco was looking for at the time, I was able to build my experience and keep the agency in mind when I started my job search after graduation.

These group tours are often the easiest for companies to accommodate and give you maximum exposure in the shortest amount of time. What’s key about these group opportunities is making sure you stand out. Bring your resume, introduce yourself to the presenters and guides after the tour and don’t forget to thank the busy professionals taking time out of their day to show you around.

Senior Account Executive Andrea Kenski talks about a recent Salvation Army campaign with students from Eastern Michigan University PRSSA

Franco Senior Account Executive Andrea Kenski talks about a recent Salvation Army campaign with students from Eastern Michigan University PRSSA

Shadow one of our employees

While job shadows can often be the most difficult for companies to accommodate, they can be a great source for building a strong relationship with an employee at a company you’re interested in. It is also the best way to get an understanding of a company’s culture and the services the agency offers to its clients.

In college, it was my job shadow experiences that helped me gain an understanding of the difference between corporate communications, and working at a public relations agency vs. an advertising agency. I not only had the opportunity to start connecting with people, that to this day I’ve maintained relationships with, but it helped me decide what type of communications internships I wanted to pursue further while in school.

One-on-one meetings

Like most people in the communications industry, I LOVE coffee. And I love nothing more than to share my experiences from school and professional life over a good latte. Whether our allegiance is to the green and white or the maize and blue (or any other school around Michigan), my colleagues all come from different backgrounds and have unique life experiences to share with students new to college or even recent graduates. We love to share our lessons learned, where we’ve been, and how we’ve gotten to where we are today.

Connecting with us at a job fair or networking event

As a company trying to attract top talent from schools around Michigan and beyond, we want students to know who we are, just as much as they want us to know them. A great way to get to know more about a company and the people representing it, is to stop by our booth space at a career fair. Whether you’re a freshman or a graduating senior, it makes our job much easier when we’re able to put a face to a name. Make sure you’ve brushed up on your elevator pitch and don’t be afraid to ask questions and check out these three tips for acing job fairs. And, trust me, we do remember you when you make an effort to get to know us!

Franco Account Executive Erica Swoish connecting with PRSSA students across Michigan at a recent career fair

Franco Account Executive Erica Swoish shows off some client swag at a recent career fair for PRSSA students across Michigan

If you’re interested in visiting us, meeting one of our Franco team members, or just taking a peek around the office, let us know! You can call our main line or reach out to me directly for details.

Erica Swoish is an account executive and the student relations coordinator at Franco Public Relations Group. You can reach her at (313) 567-5014 or swoish@franco.com. Follow her on Twitter @eswoish.

 

Choose your work commitments wisely

The benefits of getting involved with or serving on the board of a professional or community organization are well known. You can expand your network, gain experience, improve professional skills and provide service to others. Check out Laure Cohen’s post on Brazen Careeristabout the career benefits associated with professional involvement and tips on how to land a seat on a board.

Spreading your time too thin with professional organizations may hurt your reputation.

While the benefits of board service are many, make sure you actually have the time to commit, especially if you have a demanding job and/or a busy home life.

I recently joined the College of Arts Science and Letters Alumni Affiliate Board for my alma mater, the University of Michigan-Dearborn. However, prior to making the commitment I reviewed the board requirements. I asked about the frequency of meetings and events. Were there other expectations, such as serving on committees or attending events? I then looked at my lifestyle. My wife and I were expecting our first child so I knew my home life would be changing, and my job often kept me at the office after 5 pm. After carefully considering all my responsibilities, I decided that I had the time to commit to the board. It was the right decision for me.

It is essential that you understand the time commitment. The danger of over committing is that you run late for meetings and events or miss them altogether. Instead of heightening your reputation by serving on a board you damage it. Regardless of how good your work ethic is on the job or at home, your fellow board members only know what they see. If you are overextended, the very net

work and relationships you are trying to develop may hurt your reputation. And social media can spread the word quickly.

We are more connected now than any other time in history, and it’s extremely easy to reach out to others for references through social media sites, namelyLinkedIn. If you are up for a promotion or trying to land your dream job, you definitely don’t want to be the topic of conversation by board members about how you are not meeting the requirements of your board appointment. This is also true if you work in a service industry and are seeking new clients. You may not be considered if one of your fellow board members works for or knows people in that company.

Of course, there are times where circumstances do temporarily impact your time and create challenges meeting commitments. Speaking as a new parent, I can certainly relate to having a ton of new responsibilities at home. If you ever find yourself in the position where you are overcommitted, don’t be too proud to inform your board. Open communication will allow the board to make the appropriate changes, and they will respect your honesty.

Remember, one of the benefits of getting involved is building relationships with key individuals, and as my colleagueSara Bloombergpointed out in her recent blog post about developing relationships, positive relationships are built on trust.

Have you ever found yourself in a situation where you may have over committed? How did you handle it?

Tim Trunzo is a senior account executive at Franco Public Relations Group. You can reach him at (313) 567-5090 or trunzo@franco.com. You can also follow him on Twitter@timtrunzo

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4 ways to benefit from networking in PR, online or in person

Have you noticed that networking is no longer confined to a roomful of professionals in suits anymore? It can happen in almost any environment, and very often occurs online. In the PR world, and here at Franco Public Relations Group, we connect regularly on sites like Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn.

 

Photo by Aidan Jones | Networking sometimes begins with a virtual handshake. Learn how to build relationships online and in person that will benefit you personally and professionally.

Whether I’m attending an important work event or invested in a PR chat on Twitter, I’ve noticed that an outgoing personality and the ability to small talk with the best of them can go far. Still, there are so many reasons to take time out for networking – both online and off. Here are a few to consider:

Expand your circle – Networking allows you to meet a variety of professionals both within and surrounding your profession who you might not have encountered otherwise. At Franco we assist clients with media relations, events and everything in between, so if I meet an amazing new Detroit caterer during an event, I might introduce myself, ask a few questions and take a card in case an opportunity might arise in the future when we’re in need of that service.

Increase your opportunities – Making a point of seeking individuals who offer new opportunities to volunteer in your field can only help you hone your professional skills. A few years ago, I answered an online request to help my friends at The Henry Ford when they were in need of PR volunteers for the first Maker Faire. That’s where I first met Marie Stawasz, who later connected with me here at Franco when she was seeking an internship. She saw a tweet I sent out to my personal Twitter network. Marie started at Franco as an intern and is now a full-time employee. Some might say it all started thanks to the magic of networking.

Change your career – It’s a natural fit to connect that who-you-know aspect of your valuable business connections with career advancement. By consciously building your own contacts, you can earn an edge over the competition when it comes to getting that interview. I made a career change from journalism to public relations at a time when unemployment in Detroit was high. I gave my notice without a safety net and contacted everyone I knew in the media and PR industry to tell them I was interested in making a change. Thankfully, my contacts responded. While making the switch wasn’t easy, I didn’t spend a day on unemployment, and I attribute that to proactive networking efforts.

Build your business – Networking may not always come naturally, but when it’s done right, it can ultimately win new business. Remember whether you’re attending events or connecting on Twitter and Facebook, this is not time for the hard sell. You’re there to learn, engage and discuss relevant subjects at hand. Build relationships. Share some free advice if you’re comfortable doing so. That’s the sort of thing that will be appreciated and remembered at a later date. If you’re nervous about the specific how-to’s that go along with networking, check out Bill Crimmins’ post in GeekWire.

What do you feel are the benefits of networking, and how has it changed for you over the years?

Stephanie Angelyn Casola is connector and a senior account executive at Franco PR Group. Reach out to her at casola@franco.com, @StephCasola on Twitter or Facebook.com/StephanieAngelynCasola. Call 313.567.5048.