Our latest session took place earlier this week (kindly hosted and supported by Lansons Communications). Our panel discussed something we often hear about as a barrier to young women getting into the media – the thorny issue of networking. It’s something that a lot of young women in particular find daunting, yet there’s no doubt that it is absolutely crucial in meeting the right people, finding opportunities and ultimately helping to advance your career.
We had a fantastic panel of experienced networkers, consisting of:
- Clare Parsons, co-founder and chairman of Lansons Communications
- Louisa Peacock, jobs editor and deputy editor of the Wonder Women section at the Daily Telegraph
- Heather Davies, head of content at Unusual Productions and joint head of digital at Sound Women
How important is networking?
We began by asking if any of our panellists had ever got a job through networking, and how they feel it has affected their careers.
Heather said that she’s probably got every job she has had in radio due to networking – but rather than feeling it’s ‘networking’, she’s just always made sure to follow up with the people she liked. Clare agreed, and added that she’s always been a social person who wanted to join things and be involved. As her career started before the days of Twitter and LinkedIn, she said it’s much easier these days for people to stay in touch and build their networks. She also feels that, compared to earlier in her career, people are much more willing to share and open themselves up to new opportunities – perhaps because of the more difficult business environment.
How to go about building a network
The panel all agreed that being at the centre of things, getting involved wherever you can, and being useful are great ways to make an impression with the people who count. It all helps grow your ‘memorability’, especially with people who might meet a lot of people like you in the course of their work.
Louisa also made the point that ‘networking’ isn’t necessarily all about making contacts outside of your organisation – making friends within your company is just as important and those people could be just as important in the future. It could open you up to opportunities you didn’t even know existed, and you never know where the person sitting next to you could end up.
‘Formal’ networking events
The conversation then turned to more formal networking events, and everyone agreed that these can be scary, regardless of how experienced you are!
Louisa felt that at formal events, it’s fine to be up front about mingling if you’ve been speaking to one person for too long. Clare added that there’s nothing wrong with mingling in a pair, and it can help build confidence. Clare’s top tips for formal situations were to only try to ‘break in to’ a group with odd numbers, as with a group of three, you then turn it into two pairs rather than leaving someone on their own.
Heather’s tricks for formal events include trying to get the guestlist if possible, and looking up people on Twitter beforehand. That way, even if you don’t know anyone else there, you have an idea of who you can go and talk to.
All the panellists agreed that it’s worth putting the time in to thinking how you can open conversations. You can ask whether the other person has been to that event or venue before, and if it’s a particular type of audience (for example, people who work in radio), know if there are any big news stories that everyone will be talking about. If you’re a PR, you always need to know what the big headlines are that day – no excuses! Once in conversation, remember to ask lots of questions about the other person – it will make them easier to remember and after all, everyone likes talking about themselves.
Heather also had a great tip about having a good story to tell – anything interesting or funny that has happened to you recently (her example was meeting Cliff Richard!) will help you to stick in people’s minds.
Louisa also made the point that you don’t need to try and speak to the whole room when at an event. It’s much more valuable to speak to 5 people in depth than 20 where you won’t remember any names.
The panel agreed that following up is half the battle with networking; all have experienced situations where someone hasn’t followed up with them after asking for something at an event. Clare allocates two hours the morning after an event to following up and said her favourite tool is sending a LinkedIn invite with a personal message. The panel felt this is much more effective than just handing out a business card, which is slightly impersonal and also easy to lose.
In general, the panel all agreed that finding the networking environments that suit you is really important. And remember that you can build your network in lots of ways – if you have lots of outside interests, that makes you a more interesting and memorable person whatever environment you’re in.
Thanks again to our panel and to Lansons for hosting. For anyone now inspired to try out their networking skills, Young Women in Media’s next event in January will be a (belated) Christmas social. Stay tuned for more details!
The end of the year is coming up fast but we are squeezing in another exciting session for you on the 20th November. It’s on the topic of networking – a crucial skill for most people working in the media, but one that many people (particularly younger women) struggle to feel confident about.
We have some great panellists including two Daily Telegraph journalists and the chairwoman of Lansons Communications who will be discussing their experiences and tips. Lansons are also kindly hosting this session and providing refreshments.
Venue: Lansons Communications, 24a St John Street, London EC1M 4AY
Date: Tuesday 20th November
Time: 6:30pm-8pm (Followed by drinks and chats)
- Clare Parsons, Co-founder and Chairwoman, Lansons Communications
- Anna White, City Diary Editor, The Daily Telegraph
- Louisa Peacock, Jobs and Deputy Women’s Editor, The Daily Telegraph
As usual, the session is free, but is first come first served and you must be on the list to gain entry.
If you’d like to come, please email firstname.lastname@example.org listing the names of yourself and anyone you are bringing with you. We hope you see you there!
Hey folks, we’ve got a new shiny event coming up soon and for this one, we’re going back to basics and talking about ‘Getting into Media’. This free session will focus on pursuing a career in media and tips on how to break into the industry from a bunch of experienced professionals.
Venue: King’s College London, The Strand, London, WC2R 2LS
Date: Monday 29th October at 6:45pm – 8pm (with plenty of time to chat afterwards).
Panel members include:
- Inspiring Interns, Graduate opportunities and CV advice
- Kara Gammell, Journalist, The Daily Telegraph
- Keli Hollidge, Senior Account Executive, Team Spirit / Graduate, Kings College
Each panel member will talk about their own experiences and share knowledge, tips and advice designed to inform, inspire and encourage graduates or first-jobbers wanting to pursue a career in media. Questions welcomed towards the end of the event. Drinks and mingling once the panel discussion has closed.
We hope to see you there! Please RSVP to: email@example.com
By Katie Glass, Fresh Networks
Our last Young Women in Media event was another great evening, with a stellar line-up of smart, funny women talking about personal PR and how to manage your image online.
With most employers now googling job applicants’ names as standard, nowadays looking after your online image should be a top priority. But what should you be thinking about and how can you stand out?
Emma Robertson, senior digital consultant at Lexis (@emmarobertson01) kicked things off by sharing a few case studies of how creative candidates had managed to use online tools to do things a bit differently. From annotated Youtube CVs, QR codes on the back of paper CVs and even paying for Google adverts to get someone’s attention, there are so many ways of presenting yourself online which are slightly more memorable than a Linkedin profile.
Even if you’re a little bit scared of the internet, it is still worth thinking up original and relevant ways of presenting your CV in a good light. Whilst Emma said that the majority of the CV’s she sees are now Youtube CV’s, Beth Murray, account director at Lansons Communications (@bmbm) said that merely using a slightly different font can be a breath of fresh air for someone looking through hundreds of the things (although it’s probably advisable to stay away from Comic Sans!).
If you aren’t already, it’s worth keeping up-to-date with what’s hot online so that you can take advantage of it. For example, we found out that (relatively new platform) Pinterest could be quite a cool way to share your work and achievements in a more visual way. Take a look at Mashable and TechCrunch for the latest news in digital.
Get on Twitter
Our speakers sang the praises of Twitter as a great way to share your personality and to network with other people in your industry. Sarah Drinkwater, Community Manager at Google Places (@SarahDrinkwater) said that Twitter is a great way to get someone’s attention without being pushy.
Think Twitter is all about telling people what you had for breakfast? Whilst many of us are guilty about over-sharing, there is a lot more to it than just tweeting about whether you went for museli or Weetabix. Twitter is a great platform for getting yourself noticed by powerful people in your industry so it is worth engaging with them every so often – reply to their questions, retweet them occasionally and don’t feel guilty about playing to their egos every once in a while! Who knows, once someone has a sense of who you are, they might just agree to that cup of coffee, or spend slightly longer looking at your CV…
Another theme of the evening was the importance of having your own blog. Especially in media, if you don’t have a blog, employers may wonder whether you are really committed to the communications industry. Not only is it a great way to share original thoughts and commentary, it is also another means for getting you noticed. Make sure you are consistent with how you write your name everywhere on the internet – and read up on a bit of SEO – so that you have a greater chance of getting onto the first page of Google.
Thanks to our lovely speakers and everyone who came for a great evening. Keep an eye out on here and on Twitter for our next event about Networking, coming soon…
**this event is now fully booked**
So, after a slight hiatus we are back! We’ve recruited a new team to help run our sessions and we’ve got more enthusiasm than ever.
We’ll be kicking off our new season with a session about Personal PR – or how to manage your image online.
Date: 3rd April 2012 from 6.30pm (7pm start)
Venue: Lexis, 8 Bolsover St, London, W1W 6AB (map) (nearest tube Great Portland Street / Oxford Circus)
With more and more employers googling their applicants before their interview and more job opportunities including a social media element, how you present yourself online is more important than ever. We’ll be looking at how to maximise the opportunities that personal social media brings, but also the pitfalls that you need to avoid.
This will be a great session not just for people looking for work at the moment but for anyone who wants to be more effective at personal social media and shape themselves into a key influencer in their sphere.
Our panellists are:
Emma Robertson, Senior Digital Consultant, Lexis
Beth Murray, Account Director, Lansons Communications
Sarah Drinkwater, Community Manager, Google Places London
Special thanks to Lexis for supporting and hosting this session.
For our next event we are teaming up with the London Student Film Festival all about working in film – covering everything from production to PR.
The event is next Thursday at the Italian Cultural Institute (nearest tube is Hyde Park Corner).
The venue’s alcohol license means they can only offer us alcohol with food, so if you would like a glass of wine on the night, they have a special deal wherea bowl of freshly cooked proper Italian pasta and a glass of wine is only £5. Pasta is cooked on the night so when you RSVP if you could let us know if you want to eat we will pass the message on.
Date: Thursday 8th December, 6.30 for 7pm start (’til around 8pm)
Venue: the Italian Cultural Institute, 39 Belgrave Square, Westminster, London SW1X 8 (map)
Additional Info: Please let us know if you’d like a glass of wine and a bowl of pasta for £5
Numbers are limited so if you are interested please RSVP to this address as as soon as possible.
New organisation for women in audio, Sound Women, have joined up with the BBC Academy to provide a mentoring scheme for 30 women currently working in audio.
Mentors will receive the correct training before going ahead, and many of the brightest and best women in the business have already volunteered to become mentors. This is an exceptional opportunity to draw on their experience and knowledge.
To apply, visit the Sound Women website: soundwomen.co.uk
October’s session is just round the corner!
Date: Wednesday 19th October, 6.30 for a 7pm start
Venue: Upstairs at the Blue Posts Pub, 18 Kingly St, London W1B 5PX
One of radio’s legends Margherita Taylor will be in conversation about life in radio and making it to the top as a presenter. Margherita Taylor hosts Weekend Breakfast across the UK on Capital FM. She also hosts Smooth Classics on Classic FM weekday evenings.
After graduating from UCE in Birmingham, having studied Media and Communication, Margherita began her radio career after winning a ‘Search for a Star’ competition organised by BRMB in Birmingham. A year later she moved to Capital in London. As well as her radio career Margherita has worked on numerous TV shows including ITV’s This Morning, BBC1’s Top Of The Pops and Channel 4’s T4 alongside Dermot O’leary, June Sarpong, Vernon Kay and Ben Shephard.
Margherita was chosen to host the live announcement of London’s successful bid for the 2012 Olympic Games from Trafalgar Square broadcast live worldwide. She has been invited personally to interview many music stars and politicians and to judge a number of times on the Mercury Music Prize.
She’s the go-to girl for live events having hosted at Capital’s Jingle Bell Balls at the O2, Summer Time Ball at Wembley Stadium, Classic FM Live at the Royal Albert Hall and The Schools Proms at the Royal Albert Hall an event which lasts for three consecutive nights with a thousand different performers on stage every night.
She has been an ambassador for the Prince’s Trust for the last ten years and is Patron of Capital’s ‘Help A Capital Child’ last year completing her first half marathon to help raise funds for the charity.
To Book: Spaces are limited so it will be first come first served. Email workinginmedia [at] gmail [dot] com to confirm your place.
After a bit of a summer break enjoying the sunshine (or not!), it’s back to business as usual for us at Young Women in Media. We’ve teamed up with intern recruitment firm Inspiring Interns to bring you not only a panel discussion about turning your internship into a job, but also a CV workshop in which our experts will be on hand to give you constructive CV advice and career tips.
Our panel will consist of:
Hannah Lawrence, Inspiring Interns: marketing executive who started as an intern
Helen Vaughan, Inspiring Interns: HR executive who reviews CVs on a daily basis
Sarah Grun, Abundant: radio producer (and YWIM founder) who interned during and after university while getting into radio
On hand at the CV workshop will be Helen Vaughan and Naila Topan from Inspiring Interns, and Heather Davies, YWIM founding member and organiser who reviews CVs regularly as part of her job as a radio producer.
Please bring a print out of your CV if you’d like it looked at by our experts.
The event will take place at:
Date: Wednesday 21st September, 6.30pm for 6.45 start
Venue: Upstairs at The Horse and Groom, Great Portland Street (map)
Please RSVP, as ever, to firstname.lastname@example.org so we can add your name to the list.
* update: this session is now full and we can’t accept anyone else on to the list. *
Our next session is going to about Social Media (and yes, we will be tweeting this later!).
Date: Tuesday 26th July, 6.30pm for 6.45pm start
Venue: The Horse & Groom, Great Portland Street (map)
Chairing the event will be Ramaa (@ramaamultimedia) – the Senior Social Media & Multi Media Trainer for the BBC College of Journalism. Ramaa researches and produces new multimedia courses for BBC journalists, provides social media consultancy to programme teams and informs the social media strategy at the college. Her aim is to help journalists understand the new digital world and how best to use Social media for journalistic purposes.
On the panel will be:
Emma Barnett (@emmabarnett) – Digital Media Editor of The Daily Telegraph and broadcaster, who regularly appears on Sky News, BBC News, Radio 4, CNN, LBC and ABC News. Emma has just been named Digital Journalist of the Year at the Association of Online Publishers’ Awards 2011 (AOP) and Digital Writer of the Year at the Online Media Awards. Emma writes and broadcasts about all forms of digital media, including digital startups, social networks, growing trends, and new initiatives from both traditional media companies and digital firms. She also writes a monthly column in The Sunday Telegraph’s ‘ThinkTank’ section in which she analyses what the latest technology and digital media trends mean for businesses worldwide.
JJ Miller (@love_london) is the Founder and Editor of London Lifestyle Blog, http://www.thislittleladywenttolondon, and Talent and Community Manager at Cloud Nine Social Media Recruitment. JJ designed TLLWTL in September 2009 and it now reaches 500,000+ readers per month. TLLWTL was recently named 75th most influential website in the BR200 by Brand Republic, and one of the top 50 Fashion Blogs in the world by Glam Media in 2010.
How To Attend
Please let us know by email if you would like to attend. Even if social media isn’t part of your job at the moment it is something that is becoming more and more relevant across all areas of industry as well as becoming more and more essential for networking. Places as always are limited (we can’t get all 150 of you in the upstairs of a pub!) so places are on a first come first served basis.