It’s the cliché you’ve heard a million times when it comes to breaking into whatever industry you want to break into.
I know I’ve heard it more than my share of times, especially considering the extra emphasis journalism places on not just networking for jobs, but networking for sources.
Usually I’ll just roll my eyes when I hear someone say it. Because everyone says it, despite the fact that it’s intrinsically simple and somewhat obvious advice.
But that advice played a big hand in two things that were relevant for my work today.
So I figured I should throw my hat in the ring just this once and remind you all that if you aren’t networking often, you should be.
The first case comes out of an earlier adventure. Remember when I went with my friend Mimi to see the Blizzard employees speak at the Fullerton Public Library?
While I was there I passed my business card along to one of the presenters, who said he would get it to someone in the HR Department.
Lo and behold, just a few days later a Blizzard Entertainment/Activision employee had signed up to be a Gladeo interviewee. Not the same person, granted, but still. I was highly appreciative.
Thus in the not-so-distant future I will be doing a profile of someone at Blizzard. Which is pretty awesome not just in terms of someone being interested in the work I’ve been doing, but also because I love video games. So who knows, if that goes well perhaps I’ll get access to more Blizzard employees and I can say I’ve gotten a wider breadth of understanding about the company under my belt.
So yeah. Going to random events just to network was a successful strategy for me.
My other more recent example is a bit esoteric, so stay with me.
When I was in elementary school, I spent a lot of time playing chess. Which sounds like I’m just inviting my own eminent torment and bullying I know, but it’s true. I was part of the chess club and everything.
Wasn’t too bad at it either, considering I won a number of trophies in little competitions. #HumbleBrag
One of the reasons I was so good at it was because I learned from a guy named Chessmaster Steve. He was, needless to say, the best.
Though I haven’t really thought about or heard from him since all those years ago.
Until today, if the obvious build-up to a point wasn’t obvious enough.
See when Chessmaster Steve was not teaching elementary school kids chess (even if I had assumed at the time that was all he did), he was apparently a trained physical therapist. One who now works for the Office of Veterans Affairs.
As it turns out, one of the Gladeo League reporters has been having trouble finding a physical therapist to talk to for a profile they’re working on.
So, long story short, my mom has kept in touch with Steve for all these years, and I was able to make contact with him so we can try to have the reporter set-up an interview.
Apparently I was playing the long-game when it comes to networking as well, because that’s a connection that I never in a thousand years would have imagined might become relevant.
That’s essentially my elevator pitch. Like I said I’m usually the person who rolls his eyes when someone says it, but networking and making solid connections is super important.
So make sure you get on doing that ASAP for whatever job it is you might be after.
Lecture over. Hope you all took notes because this is 100 percent going to be on the exam.