Accidentally Networking


I can’t believe how much I’ve learned at my internship the past month and a half!

One of my photos won Photo of the Week and was displayed on the photo department’s bulletin board!

I’m getting so many great opportunities to hone my photo and video skills. The past couple of years at college I felt like I was in a rut with my photography. I felt like I wasn’t getting the opportunity to mix things up, and I was stuck taking the same photos. I wasn’t inspired. But my internship at the newspaper has given me the chance to cover all kinds of events and develop my vision.

I’m really lucky to have one of the photo editors as a mentor at the paper. She sits down with me when I go through my photos and points out which shots are my best and explains why. I really respond well to such feedback. The other photographers at the paper have been great too because they’re all amazing visionaries and are also willing to sit down with me and look through my photos.

One thing I have realized is how willing people are to help young people like myself succeed. You just have to put yourself out there. Recently, I was shooting the May Day marches with a couple of the other photographers, and I was chatting with them as we walked through the streets of Portland. I was talking about my plans after this internship, a.k.a. find a job, and one of the photographers was giving me some helpful tips. Then, a few days later, he forwarded an email to me about a full-time job opening at a paper in California.

This simple act really made my day because he remembered our conversation and wanted to help me out. I didn’t even realize I was networking in a way by talking with the other photographers. Now, I know how important it is to be friendly and let people know you’re looking for a job because they’ll think of you the next time they hear of something. In the end, it’s all about networking.

Alysha Beck

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15 Responses to Accidentally Networking

  1. Great informal networking, Alysha! The job search seems to be on everyone’s mind now. I’ve had multiple people in different industries tell me the same thing: it’s all about who you know. Making those connections and knowing about jobs that might be out there, but not necessarily posted in the usual places, is a great advantage. I hope you applied for that position. It sounds like you’re well equipped to be a great photographer and any newspaper would be lucky to have you!

  2. asharonson says:

    It sounds like a great opportunity, Alysha! Once again, I am extremely jealous of your internship, it sounds amazing! Obviously you are doing well and impressing your co-workers, otherwise they would not be recommending you. Keep up the great work, it sounds like you have a very bright future!

  3. michelletag says:

    Networking is definitely the name of the game! And, not just at this point in our lives, it will always be crucial to our careers and others that we will one day mentor. That’s great that your co-worker sent you a link for a job! It goes to show people do want you to be successful, and believe that you can.

    P.S. I came across the story about the 114-year old woman and her daughter who took care of her until her last day. And, then I saw your name as the author! That’s really cool. Have you written others/did you shoot the video and photos for that?

  4. Bringing it full circle, way to go, Alysha! I think the reason why people are so willing to help us succeed is because they remember what it felt like to be in our position: lives totally up in the air after graduation and how intimidating the job search can really be. Networking is key because sometimes, there are job opp’s that are only shared through word of mouth- not Monster or Craigslist, etc. I really really really hope you applied for that position! 🙂

  5. It’s so fantastic that not only great that you feel your photography is inspired again, and that you are getting feedback from mentors you respect, and perhaps a potential job is amazing. So great to hear that those at your internship are taking the time to help you grow with your photography. They obviously see your potential and that you are appreciative of their feedback otherwise they would spend their time helping. You must’ve made a great impression on the people you work with if they are looking out for jobs for you. Sounds like a great place to be!

  6. McKenzie Ingram says:

    I think the best asset you that have is your ability to extract inspiration from the people around you. An inspired employee is surely going to produce better work than one who is working just for the paycheck. It sounds like you are radiating inspiration, which I’m sure that future employers will definitely be able to see. Good work!

  7. shannonsloan says:

    I am so glad you found your passion for photography again. I’m sure it’s challenging to be creative when you are working with strict outlines for school. It sounds like you’re really enjoying your internship and setting yourself up for a great career. Keep up the positivity and informal networking!

  8. rkaapu says:

    It must feel so great to realize the relationships you have created without even trying. To me, those are the best and most rewarding connections to have in life. Networking is so important in the journalism world, and to be able to build a true friendship without effort is priceless. I am so happy you found the joy in photography again. Keep up the good work!

  9. pdxsx says:

    Nice work, Alysha! See, you never know when a casual conversation might just change your career path!

    ~J

  10. Allyson Will says:

    It is so nice that you are able to have someone directly help you! I was able to have the same experience with an editor standing over my shoulder. At first, it was extremely intimidating. But after a few times around it was the most helpful feed back I had ever received. Often times in college when I would do poorly on an assignment I would toss it to the side. Now, when I know my work needs improvements I have no choice but to listen to my editor and be able to recognize everything I could do differently! It is such an amazing opportunity. I hope the job in California works out for you!

  11. zolfaghari says:

    I think my favorite part about this post is how you mention your “mentor”, not supervisor. This is seriously something that every one of us in this program are dying to have, whether we acknowledge it or not. I remember one of the first things I told myself when I moved down to Eugene (beginning of my junior year) was that I wanted a mentor who was in the industry I wanted to be in, doing the things i wanted to be doing. The fact that you may have found one at this stage in your career is going to work wonders for you. Love the photo. Love the post. Best of luck in landing that job in Cali!

  12. shannonkluss says:

    I think you are on point by saying how willing people are to help out young professionals. I have had several people tell me how impressed they are that we (as pdxsx-ers) are ahead of the curve, and to already have this internship experience under our belt. Participating in this program tells professionals that we are ambitious and pro-active, and I believe that they genuinely want to help us be successful.

  13. codynewton says:

    That’s one of my favorite things about my internship also, the support I get from my supervisor. He’s a really busy guy, but about once or twice a week he puts aside what he’s doing to give me advise on what I’m doing. I’ve received a lot good wisdom from him, that has been very helpful. It’s important to listen to what they have to say, because if they didn’t know what they were doing, they wouldn’t be where they are today.

  14. From the one networking event I’ve attended I have decided that formal networking events are awkward. I much more prefer an organic approach like you write about when a normal conversation became a networking opportunity for you and hopefully a reciprocal relationship for both of you down the line. Like you said, it’s just important to be friendly and let people know what you’re looking for which is, in most of our cases, a job.
    It’s so awesome that your career goals were reaffirmed at this internship and especially that your supervisor is so willing and eager to help you succeed. Also, congrats on your photo of the week!

  15. agavette says:

    I hate to say I told you so, but…(I’m just kidding!) I’m really glad that you have found the same thing I did–that networking is super important and can really happen at any time. I even talk to people in the break room when I’m waiting for the microwave, and find that people are actually interested in listening to what I’m doing here at the company, and after graduation, and in the future. Plus, I’ve found that people are very open to giving advice or a few tips to a young journalist. Also, props to you for going out into the May Day protests–they looked pretty intense at times, from what I saw out my window!

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