By Janine Mack, recent graduate, Syracuse University, master’s in broadcast and digital journalism
Editor’s note: Guest blogger Janine Mack offers tips to digitally prepare for the NABJ Annual Convention & Career Fair July 31-Aug. 4, 2013.
It’s that time of year when I urge those in my network to start getting ready for the annual convention. Successfully preparing for NABJ can make the difference between landing an awesome first job or internship and heading back home empty handed. Here are a few tips to get started now.
1. Get an online portfolio! If you do not have a website with at least 8 to 12 clips of either video stories that aired or published print articles, then you are already behind. Ideally, you want your firstnamelastname.com that way when people Google your name, your web presence will be the first thing to come up. I didn’t thing people Googled me until my website showed me otherwise. WordPress, About.me and Weebly are good places to start building a simple portfolio. Some great examples of each come from Vanessa Deggins, Sarah Glover and Kirstin Garriss, respectively.
2. Google yourself. I always thought people were crazy when they said this, but one day I found old comment I thought was deleted and pictures of other people named Janine Mack half-naked. Recruiters and prospective sources will look so should you. A good rule of thumb is to delete anything that you would not want on your website.
3. I have a website, now what? Make sure to put your resume, some details about what you do and your aspirations, your clips and a nice professional picture of you doing whatever aspect of journalism it is that you do. Some of my favorite examples of how it’s done are Wesley Lowery, Stephanie Siek, Fadia Patterson and Eva McKend. Don’t forget to update it whenever you get a new job or an internship, to have it critiqued BEFORE you head to the convention and that the link is on anything you hand out such as business cards, resumes, demo reels, etc.
4. Build up your social media presence. Start accounts with Twitter, Facebook, YouTube, Pinterest, LinkedIn, Instagram, Storify, etc. These accounts should also be as a fine balance of personal, but professional with of course no on grammar, spelling or punctuation errors. Every account should be customized with your first name, last name, a picture and a brief biography of you on it. Once the accounts are established, link them to your webpage and begin to familiarize yourself with each one. You want as many ways as possible for recruiters to search for you, to add you to their network and to keep in touch after the convention is over. Plus, it’s fun to live tweet at the convention.