What do you recommend?

Every PR pro will tell you that maintaining relationships with mentors, clients and colleagues is key. After attending several networking events and meetings, we’re wired to be intentional with others.

Therefore, it’s important to reach out to those people frequently, even if it’s not work-related. For instance, one of my mentors from AARP’s social communications team reached out to me VIA Twitter to wish me a happy Valentine’s Day. Sure, the holiday is symbolized by an almost nude baby named Cupid and is aimed for romantic advances, but she made it a point to wish me well.

Another example is when I emailed the Brock Communications team when I landed my internship at AARP. Since their recommendations were vital to my future endeavors, I made sure to let them know about my excitement and gratitude for my success. Lisa Brock emailed me back saying, ‘WAHOOO!’

These interactions are important for maintaining relationships and come in handy for recommendation letters. Am I saying that you should only keep in contact with people because it’ll benefit you? No, they will see right through your lack of sincerity. But they also understand their roles as mentors and like any public relations guru, they have a heart for reaching out to people in need.

So how does one go about receiving these recommendations? Here are some tips:

  • Ask for a LinkedIn endorsement. Several of my colleagues and I have exchanged endorsements. However, make sure to return the favor.
  • Reach out to professors. They have spent at least an entire semester enabling student success and that’s just the start. Visit their office hours and always follow up with a ‘thank you’ card.
  • Focus on jobs that you REALLY want and are specific, that way when you reach out to mentors they can play on your strengths and match them with the company’s needs. Yes, that means researching jobs is imperative.
  • Send personalized emails asking for recommendations. For instance, my first email to my mentor at AARP started with, ‘Hey XYZ, I have to admit that I miss our Google hang outs.’ I don’t talk at my mentors, I talk to them.




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