Two posts today highlight the importance of getting started early if you want a job in journalism…the advice here could apply to any media industry, though.

Clay Duda at Center for Sustainable Journalism writes that “my biggest regret is letting graduation sneak up on me as quick as it did….the earlier you can start networking the better.”

So if you’re heading back to J-school (or any school) this fall, start thinking about making those connections. You don’t want to wait until graduation.

Mindy McAdams, a journalism professor at the University of Florida, saw Duda’s post and concurred. “From my observations as a j-school professor, a lot of students have this problem. Graduation seems to sneak up on them suddenly, and then they feel a terrible panic.”

What can you do? Besides networking, she says, get in the habit of checking job boards (she names Journalismjobs.com, Poynter.org, and mediabistro.com–woo hoo!). Try to notice patterns in what skills are listed as requirements for the jobs. Then go and get those skills.

Don’t wait til next spring, folks!