Cassandra Claudio, a student in Jon Pfeiffer’s Fall 2015 Mass Communication Law class at Pepperdine University, wrote the following essay in response to the prompt: "We’ve all heard the old phrase, ‘It’s not what you know; it’s who you know.’ While the importance of networking has stayed consistent, the ways in which we network and market ourselves to employers and clients are constantly changing and adapting to shifts in the market, industry and generational trend. What networking tactics do you think are most effective in achieving professional success today? Looking forward 5 or 10 years, what changes in networking trends do you expect to see as Millennials establish a stronger presence in the workforce?”
Networking, networking, networking! As a Public Relations major, all you hear is ‘It’s all about who you know!’ and I have found this completely true. Knowing the right people can present opportunities at the right time—interviews, internships, jobs and even life-long careers. I’m not sure if it is the world’s way of “working out” or if there is a logical formula (drinks, lunches, a connection), but I have heard more than one success story that started with “I knew a friend who worked at…”
Networking traditionally is the establishment of professional and beneficial relationships. I believe networking started innocently enough, with a casual lunch or coffee date where people who worked in the same field were able to rant about their work without a professional air bringing them down. Now, networking is part of the job. Meeting other people in your line of work is expected and demanded. One way many people are able to network is digitally, of course. One of the most popular social media sites I know is LinkedIn, a professional Facebook, if you will.
LinkedIn is just one way in which people today are commonly coming together. Professionals befriend current and past coworkers, managers and other friends on the site in order to have a “digital rolodex” at the click of a mouse. Today, professionals are having whole conversations at job fairs specifically designed for networking. Pepperdine hosts multiple fairs throughout the year, set up to help students meet professionals looking for future employees. Also, people are being trained on how to network, taking special classes and seminars specifically related to making connections and keeping them.
I believe networking is not going anywhere anytime soon, especially with the rise in digital communications. In fact, I believe that as Millennials begin establishing a larger presence in the workforce, digital will be the preferred way of communicating and networking. If you take a look around, LinkedIn is the leading networking site, email is the King of professional communication and web conferences are taking a huge leap. The professional world is changing and, as more advancement comes, I think that digital networking will be more common. As for right now, people still cherish a phone call or lunch date and plenty of jobs are still being offered to friends of friends.
Cassandra is a senior at Pepperdine University majoring in Public Relations.
Jon Pfeiffer is an experienced entertainment and copyright trial attorney practicing in Santa Monica. Jon is also an adjunct professor at Pepperdine University in Malibu, California where he teaches Media Law. COM 570 covers First Amendment issues as well as copyright, defamation and privacy.