Networking Defined: Three Tips to Stay Connected

Networking is easy to define, but can be difficult to practice on an ongoing basis, especially when starting a new job with new responsibilities and demands on your time. You don’t want to lose the network you’ve worked hard to build, and you also want to create a stronger one. These simple steps will strengthen your connection pull and help to remain in touch with key industry professionals.

Discover connections through professional organizations

Professional organizations have a variety of resources available to help you meet new professionals and keep in touch with those you already know.

PRSA New Professionals Section

Even though PRSA New Pros only hosts in-person events during New Professionals Week in November, there are plenty of ways to get involved and connect with new professionals through:

Social media

  • Comment and post questions on PRSA New Pros’ social media pages: blogFacebookTwitter and LinkedIn
  • Participate in monthly #NPPRSA Twitter chats
  • Attend a webinar

Member directory

  • Reach out to others in your PR industry or location through our Section members-only directory. For example, I met with a PRSA New Pros member in Chicago for lunch, and she’s in government PR. In such a niche industry, she can connect with others across the U.S. with a similar profession or interest by using the directory.

PRSA New Pros Executive Committee

  • PRSA New Pros has 15 Executive Committee members who live and work across the nation, from New York City to San Francisco. We are extremely involved in Section and in PRSA as a whole and are always willing to connect with our members. Reach out to any of us here.

PRSA Professional Interest Sections

  • PRSA New Pros is one of 14 PRSA Interest Sections. Take advantage of other PRSA Sections, especially if one matches the PR industry where your interests lie.

PRSA Local Chapters

There are more than 120 local chapters of PRSA. Find the one closest to you and see how you can get involved in a face-to-face setting. This participation could include :

  • Networking events
  • Breakfasts, luncheons and/or happy hours
  • Workshops and webinars
  • Social media and discussion opportunities

For more on this subject, check out the blog post by Brandi Boatner, “Powering Partnerships through Local Leadership as a New Professional.”

Establish bonds with first, second and third degree connections

Connect with Co-workers

Look for mentorship programs, sports teams, happy hours, volunteering opportunities, young professional groups and planning committees to establish ties with co-workers outside of the usual work setting.

If your company doesn’t offer many ways to get involved, seek out co-workers you admire as mentors. Ask them to grab coffee or lunch outside of work.

Utilize LinkedIn and Twitter

Similar to PRSA New Pros’ directory, you can research and connect with professionals in your field through social media. Find companies and groups to follow, engage in discussions and build networks with professionals all across the world.

Search through companies for professionals with whom you share a connection. Ask for introductions and expand your reach to connections outside of your own circle.

Keep in regular communication for mutual benefit

Take a look back at your network and ask yourself, “From whom can I continue to learn and whom can I help learn and grow professionally?” Make sure to not lose touch with those professionals.

Hold on to their information

Save their business card and add the date you met and a small tidbit about the person or the conversation you had to the back of the card. Once you reconnect, you will have a reference point to continue the conversation.

Keep in Touch

Now that you’ve put the tools in place to know what to say, put them to use.


  • If you haven’t already, connect with them on LinkedIn (with a personalized message!) and follow them on Twitter.
  • Every few weeks or months, follow up with them. Email, tweet or send a LinkedIn message with an article you think they might find interesting, with great news to share about a project/client or to congratulate them on a new job or professional success. Also, saving emails is a great way to keep tabs on the last conversations you’ve had with your connections. Tools like Contactually can help you organize the inbox overload with tasks and reminders to follow up with your network.


  • Once every few months, try to meet up for coffee, lunch or drinks. Ask questions, but also share what you’ve learned so far as a professional.

PR is a small world. Once connected to a few professionals, you’re just a few degrees away to hundreds of other professionals.

Creating connections and keeping your network strong can help you tremendously along your career path. As a bonus, some of those connections can turn into the some of your closest friends and mentors.

How do you define networking? What types of networking techniques have or haven’t worked for you to connect and keep in touch?



Nicole BersaniNicole Bersani is an assistant account executive at Social@Ogilvy, where she works on social media for six global brands. She graduated from Ohio University in June 2012 with a degree in journalism/public relations. Bersani is the membership co-chair for the PRSA New Professionals Section.

May Twitter Chat Highlights: How to Expand Your PR Skills

We’d like to thank everyone who participated in the May #NPPRSA Twitter chat.

Specifically, we’d like to thank our special guest for the month Jason Mollica, president of JRM Comm.
Join us again on June 13 at 9 p.m. EST for the next #NPPRSA Twitter chat. The June chat will focus on big data & PR measurement.

Review highlights of the chat below. What did you learn from the May chat? How do you develop new skills and find challenges that will make you a better pro? What are your favorite blogs, books and podcasts to expand your PR knowledge?

May 2013 #NPPRSA Twitter Chat

This is a recap of our May #NPPRSA Twitter chat. We discussed ways to advance your PR skills as a professional with special guest, Jason Mollica.

Storified by PRSA New Professionals· Fri, May 10 2013 06:28:30

Q1: How are you taking time to advance your PR/marketing knowledge & skills? What do you do?

Q1: I'll listen to PR/social media podcasts, since I'm on the go. Also do webinars when I have time. #NPPRSAJason Mollica
A1: I am reading as much as I can. Anything from books on leadership to blog posts about social media. #NPPRSASarah Bell Huff
@PRSANewPros A1 I've been reaching out to more experienced professionals for advice, as well as reading as much as possible #NPPRSARyana
Q1: Never discount blogs.. and I'd add that even ones that aren't "popular" are good. You can always glean something! #NPPRSAJason Mollica

Q2: What are your favorite PR, marketing & social media blogs to learn from?

Q2: I read as much as I can… #PRBC (shameless plug), @dbreakenridge's blog is great, so is @ambercadabra's. #NPPRSAJason Mollica
A2: I really enjoy reading @hubspot's Inbound Marketing blog and @dmscott's blog. #NPPRSAEllie Boggs
A2: Ragan's PR Daily, Fast Company and Ad Age are a few of my favorites. #NPPRSASarah Bell Huff
I love individuals blogs. I read @briansolis @chiefmartec and @britopian daily! #NPPRSAAmy Bishop

Q3: How do you connect with more experienced professionals and learn from their experiences?

Q3: I always thank a fellow pro who follows me. Start connect there, then continue to build relationship. #NPPRSAJason Mollica
A3: Informational interviews are great for meeting professionals and learning about their journey and advice. #NPPRSASarah Bell Huff
A3: I've reached out within the #PRSSA & #PRSA network to learn from experienced pros. They love helping new pros/students! #NPPRSAEllie Boggs
Q3: @PRSA chapter events are also a great place to meet, network. #NPPRSAJason Mollica

Q4: In what ways do you try to learn from your peers? How do you work with them to expand your skills?

A4: I always enjoy talking to my peers that work in different areas of PR than me and learning from their experiences. #NPPRSASarah Bell Huff
Q4: Twitter chats like #PR20Chat #PRStudChat are great places to learn from pros and peers. #NPPRSAJason Mollica
A4: Ask them the success strategies behind their best practices and work with them directly through their challenges, #NPPRSABenjamin S Butler
A4. Working cross-functionally with marketing, legal on social media initiatives has provided me the best learning experiences. #NPPRSAKellie Hayden

Q5: How can you ensure you also continue to learn about other departments that work with PR? Like sales, IT, HR, etc?

Q5: Easy. Listen to the folks that lead those areas. Ask questions. Never say, "I don't need to know that." #NPPRSAJason Mollica
Q5. Think big picture, always! PR is only one part of a bigger strategy and goal. Ask questions about others' work. Be involved. #NPPRSAKellie Hayden
A5: Open communication and willingness to learn what makes them tick. Huge for crisis comm plan coordination and org as whole #NPPRSACarolina Mohrlock

Q6: What books have you been wanting to read to further your knowledge of the industry?

I've got @chuckhemann's book on my list to read. I just don't keep it to PR. Thinking bigger pic. #NPPRSAJason Mollica
A6: I really want to read A Creator's Guide to Transmedia Storytelling by @andrhia. I am fascinated by transmedia storytelling. #NPPRSASarah Bell Huff
I can't wait to read Youtility by @jaybaer when it's released this summer. #NPPRSAAmy Bishop
Q5: @JimJosephExp and @dmscott's books are terrific as well. #NPPRSAJason Mollica
A6: I read a few chapters of Engage! by @briansolis for a social media class last term. Now it's on my list to finish! #NPPRSAEllie Boggs

Amy Bishop works in digital PR and marketing for digitalrelevance, a content marketing and digital PR agency. She is the social media chair for the PRSA New Professionals Section. You can connect with her on LinkedIn or Twitter.

How to Ace the Writing Test and Land the Job

Thought you left formal writing tests in the college classroom? Think again. In the world of public relations, writing tests are a common hurdle in the job application and interview process. Especially if you’re working on the agency side, prospective employers will want to test your skills and make sure you can do more than string together a few sentences.

As someone who has weathered my share of writing tests, I’m happy to pass along a few tips that have helped me score high marks in this area.

Brush up on AP style.

Arguably the least exciting, but most inevitable, part of an agency writing test is the grammar exercise. This test can include such elementary tasks as revising incorrect sentences, choosing between commonly confused words like affect and effect, or accurately abbreviating dates. Though they sound simple, these exercises can be quite complicated. It’s always a good idea to grab your AP Stylebook and refresh your memory on these basics before you take your writing test.

Be comfortable with different types of PR writing.

An agency writing test might include a number of writing tasks: a press release, an email to a client, an essay on an aspirational brand or even a full-blown communications plan with objectives, tactics and key performance indicators (KPIs). Needless to say, each requires its own approach and style.

To prepare for whatever the writing test may throw at you, revisit your college textbooks. Talk with friends who work in similar PR roles about the types of writing they and their teammates regularly do. Search online for brand examples and case studies. Keep in mind that in this section, your writing does need to be strong technically – but you also need to showcase your strategic thinking and personal approach.

Practice, practice, practice.

You’ve heard this one before, but it’s true. You need to keep writing – every day if you can – to avoid becoming rusty. You can use just about any outlet to practice your writing. Create and maintain your own blog or contribute to a group blog like this one. Practice writing POVs on industry trends you notice. Give yourself writing assignments and produce mock pitches or crisis responses. Have an industry-wise friend or mentor read your samples to ensure you’re hitting all the PR checkpoints and producing clear, concise and brand-appropriate content.

What about you – how have you prepared for writing tests? What has been the most challenging task on a test? What have you learned from taking them?


Keri Cook is an assistant account executive with Hill+Knowlton Strategies’ consumer marketing practice in New York. She graduated from Liberty University with a bachelor’s degree in communication studies and writes on topics ranging from media relations to marketing trends, to corporate strategy and crisis communications. While completing her undergrad, Cook was named PRWeek’s 2012 Student of the Year.

LinkedIn: Your Secret Weapon

In my experience, LinkedIn is widely misunderstood and underutilized by public relations professionals. Most of us are familiar with this social platform as a job-seeking tool but fail to see it as the industry knowledge and networking resource that it is.

LinkedIn helps connect the young PR professional (or any PR professional, for that matter) with four critical audiences:


If all you know about your key media contacts is the information on your media list, it’s time to dig deeper. You’ll be surprised by what you can learn from an editor or producer’s LinkedIn profile. Not only can it shed light into that contact’s work background, but you might also discover common ground – a shared alma mater, for instance – that will help you forge a more meaningful connection.

Once you discover that connection, LinkedIn makes it simple to reach out to the contact and maintain a relationship through shared articles and status updates. LinkedIn is a prime way to keep tabs on which outlets and beats your fast-moving media targets cover.

Industry Experts

Using LinkedIn, you can grow your network and build a “dream team” of mentors. Seek out interesting people who are successful in your industry or work in areas that intrigue you. With a simple LinkedIn message, you can introduce yourself and invite them to coffee – and it’s much easier than randomly searching for industry veterans on Google and trying to track down their email addresses.

LinkedIn groups also afford you the opportunity to glean industry knowledge, strengthen connections and begin to establish yourself as a thought leader. For additional insights, you can subscribe to the brilliant feeds of influencers like Richard Branson and Arianna Huffington.

Prospective Clients

If you work in an agency, you know that new business is the lifeblood of your company. Use LinkedIn to pinpoint in-house practitioners who work in specific industries or companies that interest you. For example, if you’re fascinated by the food and beverage sector, research professionals in your city who work in food or beverage companies. Invite them to lunch to pick their brains, share experiences and solidify relationships. You never know when one of these contacts might casually mention that their brand is looking for new PR representation, which could reap major rewards for you and your career.

Potential Employers

Of course, LinkedIn is a must if you’re looking for a job – entry-level or otherwise. The site is crawling with recruiters and job postings. Make sure your profile is flawless and accurately portrays your personal brand and proactively reach out to employers that interest you.

If used correctly, LinkedIn can help you make more connections offline, land a job and do that job more successfully.

What other ways are you using LinkedIn? Share your own tips for maximizing your presence on LinkedIn!


Keri Cook is an assistant account executive with Hill+Knowlton Strategies’ consumer marketing practice in New York. She graduated from Liberty University with a bachelor’s degree in communication studies 

Join Us April 23 for the PRSA Jobcenter Virtual Career Fair

As a member of NewPros, you are exclusively invited to attend the upcoming Public Relations Society of America Jobcenter Virtual Career Fair, April 23 at 1–4 p.m. EDT, for you to gain direct access to employers with nationwide openings who are looking to hire new and aspiring talent.

We have decided to host this Virtual Career Fair as it provides to you a much-needed opportunity to directly connect with employers looking to hire in the field of public relations and communications. Because the event is held online, you will not need to commit to a full day of travel. You’ll also be able to consider employers who are hiring in many geographic locations, giving you the option to begin your career with the most possibilities in place.

Whether you are looking for an opportunity to start that career with an agency, corporate communications, media relations, or health care communications organization, we suggest that you do not wait to register to carve your niche in any of these fields.

Please register for the event at and direct any questions or call (212) 460-1406.