It’s Never Too Early To Grow Your Network

In my last post, I wrote about the importance of joining professional organizations. Last week I was fortunate enough to attend the 15th annual Online News Association conference. While the programming was great, it was a golden opportunity to continue to grow my journalism network.

Malik Edwards

Malik Edwards

One of the young people I met was Malik Edwards of Morgan State University. He was one of four students who were funded by the Knight Foundation as HBCU Fellows to attend the conference. Not only did he do good work for our student newsroom (yes, that’s me in his video), but he was a networking fiend. An example – he saw me at ONA’s Sponsors Reception. Edwards came over and started introducing himself to folks, including a board member who had a job lead for him when he graduates in December.

So after joining professional organizations, start to grow your network. Take cards at events and put notes on the back about the conversations you had. Follow up with an email — or an actual hand-written note card – if you want to impress. And keep up the conversation without being stalkerish. Finally, check out the great advice offered in this Quill article.

Do you have questions on how to navigate your career? Please post them below, or email me directly at AuntBenet AT Gmail DOT com.

Why YOU Need To Join Professional Organizations

This week, I’m in Chicago attending the 15th annual Online News Association conference. I’ve been an ONA member since 2009, and I’m honored to be serving on its board.  Those who have been through one of my free resume reviews (252 people and counting) know one of my pet peeves is when I see folks who haven’t joined any professional organizations or only belong to one.

Belonging to professional organizations are an absolute must for career improvement and enhancement. They are great places to learn about the newest and latest happenings. They are an invaluable resource for starting and enhancing the networks that will sustain you throughout your career. And let’s confess it – they can be fun.

Some of the things I’ve learned at organizations like ONA, the National Association of Black Journalists and the myriad aviation groups I belong to have not only helped me find jobs, but have given me valuable skills that have kept me relevant in my newsrooms in my long career. And professional organizations listed on a resume show potential employers that you are serious about continuing to learning your craft.

Don’t limit yourself to bricks-and-mortar groups. Look for relevant ones on Facebook and LinkedIn, because they also provide great career tips, networking opportunities, job leads and interesting discussions. At the 2013 ONA conference, I attended the LinkedIn for Journalists workshop, which got me a free premium membership. The next free online session is Monday, Oct. 6 at 11:30 am. EDT. Go over and sign up soon, because it fills up quickly.

Today’s tip is to look at not only journalism organizations you can join, but groups in your chosen field and even community/service-based ones to offer networking and balance. This post over at Journalistics may be a bit old, but the groups listed in it are still relevant. So go out there and start joining!

I enjoy hearing from you, so please feel free to contact me via the comments below or email me directly at AuntBenet AT Gmail DOT com.