How I Landed My Role At The Weather Channel

Networking Tips

By: Melody Smalls @MelodySmalls26, VP Head of Human Resources for The Weather Channel

The definition of the word “network”( v.) is to interact with other people, to exchange information and develop contacts especially to further one’s career. The two keywords of the meaning are “exchange information.” You can always learn from someone no matter how senior, junior or less experienced they are. Everyone brings a different perspective.

Professional networking is one of the most critical aspects of someone’s career vitality. Most of what we do and how we get things done are based on relationships. Networking is a true cornerstone to building and maintaining relationships.

Through networking you can:

  1. Be of assistance to someone else — Think about how can you help others with their career aspirations
  2. Connect with those you don’t regularly come in contact with — You can always find common ground with someone who is not in your professional circle

Several years ago, I wanted to move to Atlanta while continuing to work in the media industry and human resources. I targeted different companies that were media related in Atlanta — The Weather Channel and Turner were two that I researched. I landed my job at Turner through an organization called NAMIC. I was very active in the New York chapter, and one of my clients introduced me to the head of affiliate sales and marketing — what we now know as distribution. There wasn’t an open position, but I reached out and mentioned, “Next time I’m in Atlanta I’d love to grab coffee with you, learn a little bit more about what you do, how you operate and share my experience with you.” I did exactly that. After staying in contact, six months later, I got a call about an position open. I ultimately landed the role and have been in Atlanta 11 years!

Networking also landed me my current role at The Weather Channel. A former colleague of mine was also in the market for an HR position. We got together to help each other in the job search process and several months later, I received a text from that colleague with the job position from The Weather Channel. The text read, “You can do this job. You should apply.” Through networking and asking someone how I can help them, I found success.

My Networking Tips:

How to get over that awkward introduction?

As I mentioned in my last article, networking can often feel awkward and opportunistic. It’s going to feel awkward because you are talking about yourself, but you have to get over that. That’s why I suggest offering how you can help someone. It’s an easy way to begin a conversation.

How often should you network?

Networking should be a normal course of business and take place regularly. I would recommend having at least two coffee meetings per month. I don’t recommend networking only when you need something. People can sense your need right away, and while they may entertain you for the moment it may be short lived.

Which tools should you use?

Reach out to colleagues to see what’s new in their world. LinkedIn is a great connector and provides updates and reminders about work anniversaries, new positions or promotions. Commenting on a LinkedIn update is a perfect opportunity to connect. For example: “I just saw the update on LinkedIn, congratulations.” Again, it’s reaching out for their benefit versus yours.

Don’t forget you’re building your brand. The more people you are authentically connected with — not just by a social media click — the more your name will stay top of mind.