Never underestimate the importance of networking in the media industry. Whilst family friends and distant relatives remain great, timeless connections, there’s a whole world of opportunities waiting to be found online.
I’ve gained work experience, national bylines and found myself reviewing music around the world all because of Twitter.
If you want to work in journalism, then you should be following all your favourite journalists and start engaging in conversations with them. You’ve got 140 characters to say whatever you want to whoever you want. Menial chat with an editorial assistant might not seem like much, but it could be the foundations of a career – talking about elephant statues on Twitter once led me to the front row of London Fashion Week.
Following staff, freelancers and recruitment agencies is a great way to find out where vacancies are and who is looking for contributors/directors/performers. Unless someone has protected tweets, there’s nothing stopping you asking someone anything about their career. Quite often you’ll find that people within the industry you’re wanting to get into are more than happy to answer a question on Twitter or offer advice – even if you’ve never met them.
If you’ve got a blog (and to be honest, there’s no reason why an aspiring media-type shouldn’t have a blog) use social networks to promote it. Reach out to your friends on Facebook, anyone who’ll listen on Twitter and share professional posts on LinkedIn.
Every social network is a platform for careers opportunities. You just need to know how to market yourself and where to look to find them.
My simple guide to Twitter:
- Choose a sensible name for yourself if you want to look professional
- Follow people who work in the fields you’re interested in
- Tweet interesting things and interact with others to gain more followers
- Cross promote your blog and social networks on one another…
- …But don’t constantly spam Twitter followers with links to your blog