“Many believe effective networking is done face-to-face, building a rapport with someone by looking at them in the eye, leading to a solid connection and foundational trust.” –Raymond Arroyo

Upon graduating this past year from the University of Rhode Island with a degree in Communications and a specification in Writing and Rhetoric, I was faced with the ultimate choice of deciding where I would begin the next chapter of my life. Do I go back to my home state of Connecticut, or stay in Rhode Island, the state I’ve spent the past four years calling home? Luckily, by landing an interview at Caster Communications, my fate had been determined for me.

After proceeding on numerous job interviews during an extensive four-month-long job search, I found myself consistently let down and developed an extreme frustration for the professional world. Further, I became convinced that every Communications position within 40 miles of my Kingston, RI apartment would ultimately land me a career in sales. I knew that wasn’t what I wanted, especially after my summer-long stint as a barista in the service industry. Instead, I wanted to build my career in the thriving field I had dedicated the last four years of my life to. Despite the friendships and local relationships I gained working at a Cafe, I was ready to develop into the professional woman I had worked so hard to become.

Above all, the laid-back vibes of the cafe and colloquial interactions with morning regulars motivated me to work hard. However, clocking in at 5:00 a.m. every day had become exhausting. As summer was coming to an end and September was near, I was offered an assistant management position at the coffeehouse. Despite the financial advancement, I knew this commitment would further pump the breaks on gaining experiential growth in the Communications field.  Realizing this advancement wouldn’t benefit my professional identity, I resourcefully used my job as a networking opportunity. Rather than asking local customers how they were, I inquired about their professions instead.

One day, I vented my ongoing frustrations towards the professional world to a loyal customer, Pete, who had been coming in since the day I poured my very first cup of coffee. Surprisingly, he was able to relate to being duped by job postings after graduation, until he found Caster Communications, a PR agency he has been with for almost 6 consecutive years.  After chatting about his role at Caster, I was interested in finding out more about the company.

The most crucial skill I learned while being a student at URI’s Harrington School of Communications was the ability to network. Since networking both face-to-face and online is heavily integrated into the Communications curriculum, I gained much confidence in its ability.  Rather than partake in lengthy interviews with large corporations, I conversed with a local face-to-face and in doing so, I built a trustworthy rapport with a reputable Communications professional.  As a result, my networking abilities led me to a worthy interview process concluding with the offer of a full-time position!

Before beginning my career at Caster Communications, I had minimal Public Relations experience. Not only was I exploring the field, but I was also introduced to the technology industry for the first time. While I was skilled in traditional PR methodologies, tech terms such as “AV” and “IoT” were completely foreign to my vocabulary. Instead of being overwhelmed by the new terminology, I became eager to learn more about the industry.

As I onboard in the industry as an Account Coordinator at Caster Communications, I hope to excel as both a PR and technology professional. Additionally, I expect to broaden my professional network and eventually be a resourceful connection for young women entering the professional work world in the future. Follow along with me on twitter as I grow at Caster Communications! @Val__Murphy

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