Here’s how to WERK it! 8 tips on networking and maintaining professional relationships
Professional relationships are vital to climbing a ladder in the field of your choice, but especially in the world of media and entertainment. Every job and internship I had was due to me knowing someone in an organization, company, non-profit, etc. Here are 8 tips on how to network and then maintain professional relationships on your career journey.
Research the heavyweights in your industry, their roles, and what their work entails. Try LinkedIn, Twitter, or Instagram. Find one or two things that stand out to you about their most notable pieces, projects, or job description.
Reach out to them via email, direct messages on social media, or approach them at an in-person event. Then Introduce yourself, your interests, goals, and let them know that you admire their work. Try to include the things you noticed most about them.
Congratulations! You got them to respond to you. Now, set up a time to meet or have a call. Also, everyone is extremely busy, so do your best to accommodate their schedule and stick to it!
While preparing for your in-person or virtual meeting, prepare four to six questions that you would like to ask them about their work, day in life as a…., interning, fellowships, job market, etc. Come prepared to keep a conversation going, and don’t hesitate to share some things about yourself to be transparent. It’s okay to reiterate what you sent them in a message, but go into details for the meeting.
Finally! You’re at the meeting! Make small talk and get to know what made them choose the career path they’re on. It’s okay to dig a little deeper as long as your questions are appropriate and don’t cross the line of being too personal. Remember, this is a professional connection.
Once the meeting is over, thank them for their time. Ask if you could keep in contact. This could lead to a potential mentorship or opportunity that could change your life.
Keep in contact. Preferably, reach out to the professional once every two to three months. Keep up to date on what they’re doing and inform them of what you’re doing. If you need more guidance, ask to set up another meeting.
Lastly, networking is work! You need mentors and guidance to make it in this business. It’s never too early to make connections. Remember to be yourself and trust the process!
Have a great school year!