By Christina Basken (@ChristinaBasken)
Networking can be an excellent way to reach out, get your name out there, land your dream job and perhaps even come across an opportunity you’ve never even thought of exploring! A few of our journalism students have had great success with networking. Read about their stories, tips and advice here.
Mackenna Erdmann, a senior at UWO studying Public Relations and Journalism
Through networking, Erdmann has had the chance to work for exciting organizations such as 95.9 Kiss FM, the Wisconsin Timber Rattlers, the Milwaukee Bucks, the Walt Disney World Company, the CMA’s and the Green Bay Packers.
“One of the experiences that changed my life in many ways was GRAMMY Camp”, Erdmann said. “My mom heard about the opportunity and we put together an audition tape to submit. After weeks of waiting, I was chosen as one of 30 kids to participate in the week long camp in New York City. I spent time with industry professionals who opened my eyes to the entertainment industry as a whole and inspired me to work hard to get where I want to be. Among those people, I met my friend Josh who happened to be from Nashville. After telling him about my passion for singing and country music, he didn’t hesitate to invite me to work the CMA Awards. A couple years later, he called me and asked if I would come down for the week of the show. Without hesitation, I packed my bags and headed to Music City. The first year, I started out driving golf carts, but as I started talking with people and ‘selling myself,’ I was eventually moved inside where I work directly with all the country artists and talent who are a part of the show both during rehearsal week and the show itself. I moved my way up and this past November, I had the honor of working with Brad Paisley. If I hadn’t expanded my network both at GRAMMY Camp and the CMA’s, I would have never gotten the opportunity to do what I am doing today.”
“If I had to leave you with advice, it would be this: be comfortable being uncomfortable and get as much experience as you possibly can,” Erdmann said. “What I mean by ‘be comfortable being uncomfortable’ is there are going to be a lot of times where you may not feel comfortable talking to someone and trying to sell yourself. DO IT. You never know who you are talking to or where that conversation could go.”
Katie Biersach, a junior at UWO majoring in PR with a minor in RTF
Biersach has discovered many networking opportunities through PRSSA and at the National and Regional Conferences. Being a member of the chapter allows Biersach to take advantage of professional networking events and experiences with practitioners in the industry. She also has opportunities to network with students from across the world to learn about their chapters..
“Take a leap of faith and network with professionals on LinkedIn that work for companies that you want to intern or work at in the future,” Biersach said. “Take advantage of on-campus events to network with professionals. Join a club or organization relating to your major or minor and network with students in that group. Talk to your professors and ask for advice when applying for an internship. Do not be afraid to ask someone to take a second look at your application materials. Internships will not come to you. If you want the internship bad enough, you will do everything you can to make your application the best.”
Rachel Boudreau, a recent graduate from UWO majoring in Journalism with an emphasis in public relations “– now working as a content specialist at DealerSocket”
Boudreau, on the other hand, has had many networking opportunities through being involved in her sorority. Taking leadership positions has allowed her to meet and network with campus professionals, and peers from across the country at conferences. She has also had networking opportunities through professors in her journalism classes, and with her involvement with PRSSA.
“These opportunities have influenced my career path because talking to people in a new area of PR that I haven’t yet explored, or talking to other motivated students, helps me become more motivated and curious about future career opportunities,” Boudreau said. “My experiences in college have given me a drive to always push forward and to forge my own path in my career.”
Boudreau states, “Get involved! I can’t express enough how important it is to be involved in a variety of organizations on campus, both within and outside of your major. Talk to classmates, professors, friends, family, everyone you possibly can about what you want to do with your life because you never know where an opportunity might pop up. Be open to trying new things. You might have an internship opportunity that you don’t think fits into exactly what you want to do, but never turn away an experience.”
How to find out about networking conferences going on around campus? Download the UWO Handshake app and get connected with clubs and organizations on campus! Also check out these great monthly networking conferences held at The Lambeau Field and Oshkosh area to interact with over 50 companies to land your dream job!