Mizzou-Rah! Alumni!

Another great facet of any Homecoming is that it brings together the alumni.

You know, those graduates who have moved into the professional world?  Those people who you can talk to or ignore.

You’d be well-served to badger, pester, and otherwise cajole them into sharing useful information, funny stories and a host of networking contacts.

J-school alumni visited the newsroom and shared their experiences today.  I had the privilege of speaking with the dynamic Mark Russell, managing editor at the Orlando Sentinel.  Among several successes and missteps he shared, Russell also provided us with plenty of applicable tips for getting ahead in the industry.

On Facebook content: If your grandma wouldn’t want to see it, why would I want to see it?

On being a generalist: There’s not much room for them.  Specialize.  Whether that’s multimedia, video, or business, science.  Have a niche.

On submitting a blog post for a clip: If you’re in a serious beat, social work, city government, education, and you want to show you have a funny side, sure.  And say so in your cover letter, explain why that’s in there.  I’d accept that.

On cover letters: Be original.  Be cocky.  Take a risk.  Stand out. Personality is always better than long, dull, boring.  If crossing that fine line [between confidence and arrogance] gets you noticed…

On standing out: Here is my business card.  Pretty standard.  (folds it in half)  Here’s my new business card.  Do you remember me a little more?  Now what if you put blue on one side, red on the other?  When you opened it, there was a fortune inside?

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