When it comes to finding a new job or advancing in the industry — whether you’re a soon-to-be graduate or an eager-to-move-up-employee — who you know more often trumps what you know.
Few understand this better than professional organizations set up to introduce their members to just the right people.
“This is exactly how people get jobs,” said Assistant Professor Gary Gottlieb, the advisor of Webster’s chapter of the Audio Engineering Society. “They don’t get jobs through ads in the paper.”
At Webster, invaluable connections are made through active student chapters of professional organizations such as AES, thePublic Relations Student Society of America and the Radio Television News Directors Association.
“It gives the students the opportunity to mingle, meet and interact with professionals in their field,” said Assistant Professor Gary Ford, the PRSSA advisor. “It gives them an idea of what the real world is like, what the profession is like.”
Current AES Treasurer Elena Pahl echoed Ford’s comments.
“AES seemed like a good way to network, first of all with other students but also with professionals, and to see what’s going on in the industry,” she said. “I have learned how easy it is to deal with other professionals with a professional attitude.”
Public Relations Senior Amanda Gomez joined the PRSSA last year after transferring to Webster from St. Louis Community College. What she found was a great opportunity to get involved on campus and network with professionals.
“I feel like I’m one step ahead in the game,” said Gomez, who through PRSSA last fall traveled to Salt Lake City for the organization’s national convention.
And for recent graduates, these organizations provide a way to connect with colleagues in the field and locate fresh talent to fill industry vacancies. Freelance audio engineer Joshua Hearst (BA, Audio Production, 2006) attends AES meetings near his home in Los Angeles, if anything, to stay abreast with what’s going on in the industry.
“It’s just a great way to get involved, to meet other people and to share ideas,” said Hearst, a former president of Webster’s student chapter of AES.
They’re some of the largest student groups on campus and, with the networking opportunities they provide, it’s not a surprise. In recent years, these organizations have conducted resume reviews, brought prominent guest speakers to campus and sent students around the country to national conventions.
“There’s so many lessons to be learned through these groups,” Gottlieb said. “They’re great.”