Overheard at Networking from Home: Media and Communications

The next iteration of our Networking from Home series-connected professionals in the Media and Communications fields to connect with Columbia students. Representatives joined us from across the industry including media conglomerates, news agencies, an advertising technology firm, online magazine, and video services platform. Specifically, our guests were from ABC News, AMC Networks, Jun Group, HBO, Vimeo, Bustle Digital Group and Associated Press.

Here’s the advice they shared for landing an entry-level role in the field of media and communications.

FOR ROLES IN CONTENT AND NEWS, STRENGTHEN STORYTELLING SKILLS

One of our guests stressed that if you want to work in journalism, you should have newsroom experience on your resume. You don’t have to work at a major network; local newsrooms can also give you meaningful experience and exposure to the work.

Our guest from ABC News also shared that the skill of storytelling is important to writing and producing any kind of content. So, how does one strengthen storytelling skills? Listen to podcasts, consume a variety of news outlets, take in long-form and short-form content, and when you identify a good storyteller among these outlets, dive deeper to study their work and observe what it is about the work that makes it a strong example of storytelling. Our guest recommended the podcast, Heavyweight, as an example of quality storytelling.

SHOWCASING YOUR CREATIVE SKILLS — PAY ATTENTION TO BUILDING YOUR PORTFOLIO

Many of our guests agreed that if you’re applying for a creative or content role it is important to have a portfolio of your work. They encourage having a website to showcase your work.

Be mindful of how you present your work and edit it to make sure you have no grammatical or spelling mistakes. Attention to detail is important and having a clean website demonstrates that you are thorough. Your portfolio can also include content from your school projects or a side hustle, it doesn’t have to strictly work experience.

DON’T FORGET, MEDIA AND COMMUNICATION FIRMS ARE BUSINESSES

Our guests described the organization of their companies which made clear that yes, content creation and production are important, and so are the business functions of their organizations. These include ad sales, marketing, client services, technology, and operations (finance, human resources, etc.).

The ad sales department is often the core of revenue streams at these media companies and it was encouraged to learn how to build pitch decks. A great resource shared to hone this skill are online courses or workshops offered by organizations like General Assembly who are currently offering select courses at no cost.

One of the hidden keys to break into the media and communication industry is finding experiences within one of the business function departments as listed above. These functions have allowed many professionals to navigate their way throughout the company and become a more well-rounded creative.

HOW TO STAND OUT WHILE NETWORKING

Our guests agreed that networking is important in the media and communications industries. Their best advice is to conduct informational interviews to learn more about the industry and companies while making connections. Informational interviews are a great way to show initiative and learn exclusive insight that you can then incorporate into your application or interview. This insight will help you demonstrate your interest and knowledge in their field or space.

Before you reach out to ask for someone’s time, do research on the person, trends in the industry, and happenings at their organization so that you can craft a thoughtful request for their time. It’s important to clearly state what you want to know and how they can specifically address this with you.

NETWORKING WORKS WHEN YOU STAY IN TOUCH

Our guests shared stories about how entry-level candidates stood out by maintaining the relationship with their organization. One example at the Associated Press detailed how a past intern kept in touch sharing updates and links to new projects they had been working on as their career progressed and when a full-time role opened up, they were the first candidate the recruiter thought of to share the new opening.

Our guest from Vimeo also shared that they take referrals seriously. When you make meaningful connections and work to maintain those connections over time, a current employee is going to be more willing to recommend you for a role.

What to know more about Media & Communications?

Check out our Media & Communications industry pages for more information.