By Maria Davison
|From Flickr user Lars Plougmann|
We constantly hear about how important networking is as young journalists. Networking is key for students as we’re looking for internships and jobs. But how do we best go about meeting professionals, striking up conversations, and keeping in touch? Here are some networking tips from a few friends of ONA Mizzou who were able to make it to the ONA conference in Chicago this September.
Have an “elevator pitch” for yourself
When you meet people you want to network with, sometimes they will only have a few minutes to talk to you. RJI Fellow Dan Acher said to have a pitch ready to go, so when you have those few minutes, you can make it clear who you are and what you’re good at. If you’re not sure how to write an elevator pitch for yourself, here are some resources from Business Insider and Forbes.
Engage with connections on Twitter
Share their work with an @ mention, said Annie Hammock, MU assistant professor of Radio-Television Journalism. It shows you’re interested and engaged with the work your connections. The power of an @ mention cannot be underestimated, Hammock said.
Job hunting is like sales — persistence is key, said Brian Steffens, Director of Communications for the Reynolds JournalismInstitute. Check in periodically with the connections you make. Hammock said a fresh way to approach checking in is to ask what they’re working on, instead of always focusing on the opportunities they have for you.
Send along your work
Another way to approach your connections is to send them your work, Steffens said. Give them pieces you’ve been working on, but be sure to show growth in your work. Sending in 10 examples of the same thing but on different topics doesn’t show much, Steffens said. Send work that showcases different strengths or new skills you’ve learned.
Know the right questions to ask
Asking good questions shows that you’re interested and willing to learn, MU masters student Stephanie Ebbs said. The changing environment of the industry is such that you can never understand everything that everyone’s doing all the time, but asking informed questions is a good place to start.
For more networking tips, check out this list from the Poynter Institute.