Whether you’re living your dream job in media right now or your on your way up, it’s always a good idea to keep your networking pipeline full. There are a number of ways to find and nurture new acquaintances who may be able to enhance your career objectives.
Let’s start with the most obvious… social networking. An online presence is mandatory. LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter are all there for more than just sharing cat photos (shocking, right!?). These sites are great ways to reach out to current colleagues, past colleagues, old boss, and those connections you made at the last broadcasters convention. You don’t want to forget about them! Check out sites like meetup.com to find out or create get togethers with people in your industry. However, connecting face to face with fellow industry connections can be ten times more powerful than that email or comment online. Research the media networking events in your city. Attend them regularly. Join committees within these organizations and make yourself known as a real professional. Don’t just join groups of people your own age. Find those networking events with people of all ages who can add to your knowledge of life in a media career.
Another avenue is your alumni network. There are people who attended your school (high school, undergrad, masters, etc.) before and after you who are working in media. Check with the alumni department or fire up the alumni section of the school’s website and take a look at networking events or directories. You may be surprised at how many people share similar experiences or could be the link to others who can move your career forward. Specifically, for those of you just starting out I would recommend that you set up informational interviews. These are short meetings with people in your industry for the purpose of learning NOT soliciting for a job or internship. It’s an opportunity to build your network while discovering other opportunities in your field that you have not considered.
Sure, this may sound like a lot of work, but if done right these connections can grow your professional portfolio tremendously! One thing to keep in mind is how you are representing yourself online. Google yourself and make sure those questionable college party entries are removed and work on the professional presentation that will make you a better fit.
If you need more help on how to use social media as a networking tool view our series called Social Networking. Another great series that can help you fine tune your networking skills is called Your Professional Network. Courses in this series include: Being a Member, The Benefits of a Professional Network, Building Your Network, and Promoting Your Personal Brand. Log into your account today or register for a demo to get started.