A fabulous venue, a cocktail on arrival followed by a delicious meal, add some invaluable networking opportunities and you have what we at PURE at Murdoch University like to call PR a la carte. Our committee members Renae, Nicola and Jenny did an amazing job organising the event, with it turning out a roaring success. The positive feedback we have received from the professionals and students that attended has been humbling and I believe a sign of many good things to come.
Both the professionals and students that attended the evening seized the opportunity to doll themselves up and forget about whatever ailed them that particular week; whether it be pesky assignments, stressful deadlines or that horrible weather we had recently been experiencing.
This being my third PR a la carte, I have to say, hand on heart that this was one of the most enjoyable yet! The people you meet are always so approachable and more than happy for you to pick their brains (this goes for both students and professionals!). Although I am far from a networking expert, there are a few things I have managed to pick up over the past few events I have attended, and I would like to share some of them with you now;
1.Don’t be shy! Everyone is there for the exact same reasons. To meet, to mingle and to make a memorable impression! The lovely Jacqueline King-Small made a very good point, we are all story tellers, and as PR practitioners it is in our nature to create meaningful dialogue. So get in there, introduce yourself, and let the magic happen.
2.Embrace the cliché and ask questions! Work, pets, children, music, even Game of Thrones, speak about anything that will help you initiate dialogue and establish a common interest. As far as I am concerned anything goes (within reason of course), as the wildly funny Karl Hale pointed out; we aren’t ‘boring policy makers. We are ‘communication experts’. So get communicating!
3.Everyone was once a novice. Whether they are a Fellow of PRIA or a recent graduate. Every single practitioner you meet will have had to start somewhere! Which means each and every one of us has our own experiences, and stories to tell. So do not be intimidated or feel your experiences (or lack there of) are irrelevant because everyone’s journey is different whether you are a student or a professional and sometimes it’s refreshing to get a different perspective on things.
4.There is no shame in seeking opportunities from networking. Karl Hale and I had a very interesting discussion on the current international climate and how I could use this to my advantage in seeking work experience opportunities that would compliment my future career goals. That’s why PURE put on these events after all, to encourage students to interact with professionals and allow you to pursue industry connections. With a bit of luck and some hard work on your part, you may land yourself an internship or a graduate opportunity. Which brings me to my last point;
5.Networking IS your BEST FRIEND. If there is one thing I learnt very quickly from the handful of networking events I have attended, everyone knows everyone in Perth PR. It’s more of a family than an industry, which I think speaks volumes for the profession. It’s refreshing to meet professionals and then be remembered again at another event months down the track. People aren’t going to approach that person that sits in the corner and doesn’t speak to anyone, this isn’t primary school you need to get in amongst the action. It’s called networking for a reason after all!
Seize every chance you get to mingle, ask the cliché questions, share your experiences, seek opportunities and know this is far from a waste of time!! Who knows what amazing things may come from simply introducing yourself to the right person at the right time!
Have a read of some of the fantastic feedback PURE has received from those that attended PR a la carte;
‘Karl Hale was the professional that stuck out most to me during the night. Not only was he extremely knowledgeable about his area of work and provided everyone on the night with some great advice, but carried an incredible sense of humour that provided us with some out of the ordinary advice as well.
He seemed to want to meet everyone and remember them by their first name. Once he sat at our table he remembered me, what I was studying and what direction I was hoping to take with my career and gave me some great advice on how I could do this!! An amazing professional, with amazing credentials’.
– Renae Cummins, Murdoch PR Student
‘All of the students I have spoke to that attended PRALC said the professionals were really easy to talk to, and had some great advice to offer.’
– Zoe Keenan, Murdoch PR Student
‘Beth Bolt for me is such an inspiration, because I could very well be in her position this time next year. It’s really nice to have someone who has really only just graduated and yet has all this experience under her belt already, she is living proof that hard work and determination can get you where you want to go.’
– Nicola O’Callaghan, Murdoch PR Student
If PRALC Semester 2, 2014 is anything to go by this event will only continue to get bigger and better in the coming months so watch this space for PRALC 2015!! We’d love to see you there.