Thursday, September 10, 2009

It pays to network, but only with people you can trust

One of the things I always tell my clients is to send me an email when they send out tapes. Give me the call letters of the stations and the names of the News Directors. When you've been in the business as long as I have, chances are I might know the ND, or someone in the market who can give me the inside scoop.

Just as important, I know the names of some cylon NDs to avoid, as well as some companies that treat people like dirt.

Each of you needs someone you can trust (not in your own station) who might serve as your networking expert. If you have a mentor or a reporter who took you under his wing during your internship, it might be a good idea to let that person know where you're applying.

Many times I've been able to pick up the phone and get my client's tape to the top of the stack, or simply put in a good word with the ND or someone who works at the station. An unsolicited personal reference from someone who is not an agent can often carry a good deal of weight.

But remember, the person in whom you confide must be trustworthy, which is why I suggest you not tell anyone in your station where you're looking. Sure, there are trustworthy people in your shop, but a slip of the tongue can cost you.

The old adage of, "It's not what you know, it's who you know" is very true in this business. You should make use of every contact you have when job hunting, whether it is laying the groundwork for you or waving a red flag when it's needed.

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