Attending networking events is always a great start for journalism students who want to meet people in the field and gain new connections, but it doesn’t have to stop there. Virtually networking is just as important, and LinkedIn should be used as a primary tool to reach out to media professionals in the community.
Making a LinkedIn profile and using it to help find journalism careers can be a bit daunting, but with these tips, any journalism student can make LinkedIn work for them.
Keep your profile up to date.
Once you’ve made a profile, the next step is to keep it up to date with all of the work produced in classes, internships and on your own time. Any time you are published online, write a press release, design a new flyer– it can be added to your LinkedIn profile under an appropriate section or work experience. Putting your three best examples of work underneath the media section in your biography paragraph can also help. While LinkedIn can’t function as a complete online portfolio, it’s great for including the best samples of work that you have so employers can easily see how much you’ve accomplished.
Create a custom URL.
When you’re on your profile, look to the right and you’ll see an option to customize your profile and URL. A custom URL makes your profile link shorter and much more resume or business card friendly.
Make yourself seen.
When editing your profile, make sure that you edit your profile visibility to ensure that companies, recruiters, and everyone else can find you. This is often looked over, but making your profile visible to others can put you in front of your next employer.
Add people you know.
Find everyone you know in the Reynolds School—students, professors, teaching assistants—and add them. In the next few years, many of your friends will be taking on jobs at companies that you have your eye on and you’ll have someone already on the inside. Professors might reach out months or years later with an opportunity for you. Adding everyone you currently know is a great way to increase your chances of finding something in your wheelhouse later down the road.
Add people you don’t know.
Now it’s time to add people you don’t know, but really want to know. Have a media company or organization you want to work for some day? Visit the company’s LinkedIn profile and find their employees through that profile. Once you add them, you can further connect or keep tabs on what the company and the employees are up to.
Use the LinkedIn Alumni Tool to find alumni from the Reynolds School. You can search for alumni from the University who had a degree in Journalism and you’re on your way to finding people who are more willing to chat with you because they’ve been in your shoes. These people also have a higher chance of holding jobs that you want because they have a similar background.
Talk to people.
It’s not enough to simply add people you want to know more about. Send them a quick message with a brief intro about yourself and then mention that you want to know more about them and how they got into their media career. People love talking about themselves, so if you ask them questions pertaining to them and their career, they are more likely to respond. A survey found that 85 percent of all jobs filled through networking. This means that you have to learn to be comfortable talking to people to get your dream job.
While groups are sometimes looked over by LinkedIn users, they can be a huge tool to learn new things about your journalism track. Join a LinkedIn group for graphic designers, artists, writers or media professionals. You’ll connect with different people and learn a lot from the group if you read articles people post.