After two weeks traveling back and forth between New York and Washington, I think I’ve adjusted to an even faster-paced lifestyle.
“Networking” was the key word these past two weeks when I headed to New York for a career workshop hosted by the International Radio and Television Society Foundation and the Spring National College Media Convention hosted by the College Media Association.
I had the opportunity to meet with other aspiring media professionals and human resource managers from major media companies, including NBCUniversal, Viacom, AOL, Univision and many more. It’s always great returning to a city that holds the headquarters of so many media entities.
I was given a lot of advice during my time in the city and the most notable tips I received at the workshop and convention are:
- Set goals. Set goals for one year, five years, ten years, and 25 years down the road. They can change but it’s critical to have something to look forward to. My one-year goal is to be working in a job that will allow me to improve my public speaking skills. In five years I hope to be back in school pursuing a higher degree. And overall I hope to give back even more of what has already been given to me.
- Always know who your boss is. Especially in the world of media, the lines can be blurred concerning who is who. Seems like common sense but it’s important to know who the person evaluating your performance is.
- Generate ideas and become a problem solver. It’s not enough to be a critical thinker in the workplace. It’s more important to create solutions.
- Focus on your strengths but know your weaknesses. Your strengths will carry through in multiple industries and jobs so figure out what they are and how you can optimize your skills to make yourself even more valuable. It’s also important to know your weaknesses so you can figure out where to improve to get to the position you want. I’m constantly working on my public speaking because I want to be a spokesperson of some sort.
- Success isn’t instantaneous. It takes hard work and experience.
- Have a sense of urgency. College, especially senior year, is grounds for procrastination. My motto used to be, “As long as it gets done…” but that really won’t fly anymore. I’ve learned that those who do things with urgency get ahead.
- Dress and act professional. Another seemingly obvious rule but a speaker told me about an intern who came into the office in their club clothes on casual Friday…apparently she wanted to go out immediately after work and didn’t feel like going home to change. I’ve interned as some of the most casual offices as well as very formal offices and it’s better to be safe than sorry. I think it’s safe to say flip-flops, daisy dukes, dirty clothes and anything with cutouts are not acceptable for the work environment.
- Use LinkedIn. Linkedin is a social media tool that numerous employers say they initially visit to determine potential hires. So set your account up and make sure it’s updated!
- Don’t be stupid on social media. Twitter is the social media platform that gets the most potential employees in trouble. Private or not, what you post on your account is permanent and can be found. Employers provided numerous examples of potential hires who missed their opportunity at a job or internship because their unprofessional tweets demonstrated poor judgment.
- Ask for feedback. It can only help. Whether it’s at the end of a big project, end of the week, or after an interview, ask. It shows your interest in room for growth and a willingness to learn.
- Be your own brand manager. There are enough resources online that allow you to design your own brand and measure your own analytics.
- Be enthusiastic; you never know who’s watching. I admit, I sometimes wear my exhaustion on my face but I’m learning that when you act more energetic, you feel more energetic. Energetic and enthusiastic people are the ones people want to keep around.
- Never fall asleep. Too many employers gave examples of interns who fell asleep on the job and never recovered their reputation. Get enough rest!
- Keep in touch with the people you network with. But that doesn’t mean annoy prospective employers.
Conferences and workshops like these make me appreciate those who are willing to use their time to help aspiring media professionals. It’s a tough industry, and I feel fortunate to know that there are people rooting for me to succeed. It strengthens my desire to give back in a similar way.
Thank you for the great memories, New York!