Landing a job in the media world is hard. Like really hard. It doesn’t matter if you want to make it on-air or behind the scenes, you are probably applying for a job that is coveted by a lot of people. You need to stand out from the crowd and get your foot in the door…I’ll explain how you can do that using some tried and true methods as well as some creative ones.
1. Apply Online
I know this sounds painfully obvious. How many of us have applied online to dozens of open applications without hearing back? I bet almost all of us. For all we know, our resumes are just going into virtual paper shredder, lost forever. Here’s the thing though; you can get a lot of information when you apply online that you can use to your advantage. A lot of job postings on job sites or Linkedin you’ll find the name or email address of the HR person who does the hiring for the company or department you want to work in. You can use this information down the road when following up or when using the tips below. Plus, you never know…this method might just work. You need to get your name in the hat somehow, online might just be the way that works for you.
2. Work Your Connections
For me, this is the most effective way to get your foot in the door. Personal recommendations from friends of the hiring manager or supervisor are key when trying to get in for a meeting or interview. If you’re applying for a media job, you’ll already be the type of person who can dig for information about who knows who. Find out who has a good relationship with this person and use that to your advantage. Ask as many people as you can who you think might be able to help to send a quick email or text on your behalf. Those doing the hiring will be more likely to take stock in what people are saying about you if it’s coming from someone they trust and have a relationship with. That brings me to my next point, tailor the references on your resume to people who you think would have the most clout with the person you need to get in touch with. If possible, I know it may sound a little shallow, but try and use a little star power. Have you worked with someone who is recognizable in the industry or appears regularly on TV or the radio? Ask them if you can use them as a reference. It never hurts to ask people in high places to help you out.
3. Get Online
Make sure you are on Linkedin. Get on Twitter. Follow and connect with those you want to meet or work with online. It might help when you send your cover letter and resume in and they recognize you from a great twitter chat or discussion you’ve had with them on Linkedin. Get your name and face in front of theirs as much as possible. Then, when you send them an email they wont just glaze over your message.
If you don’t follow the company you want to work for online…do it. You’ll learn who their audience is by what types of things they post. As a bonus you can use anything you learn from their social media posts to better familiarize yourself with the company which will make you sound great in an interview. Also, follow the HR coordinator or hiring manager on Twitter or try and connect on Linkedin. You’ll be amazed about what you can learn about them on social media and can use their likes and interests to bring up and make friendly conversation with in a meeting. A lot of times it comes down to who a hiring manager likes personally if your resume is close to someone else. If they think you’ll be fun to work with or get a long with others in the office, you’ll have an advantage for sure.
Also, use the internet to post relevant work or demo reel so you can show off what you can do. You can get your name as a domain for uber cheap and it’s really easy to get a WordPress site up for a limited cost. There are also a lot of free resources out there like about.me. It makes you look professional and passionate about your craft. If the hiring manager likes what you do and can see it for themselves visually, not just on a resume, it’ll give the place you want to work for a reason to bring you in.
4. Be Persistent
If you really want something, don’t give up. If you don’t get the job that is posted, try and keep your name around for the next time there is an open position or any freelance work that may come up. I know this can be tricky. You want to stay connected and in touch with these people as much as possible but you do not want to be annoying. Do not call people. No one calls people any more and this could put you out of favour with them pretty fast. Limit your emails to once every couple weeks.
If there are no job openings right now. Try and schedule an informal meeting. No agenda, no asking for a job, just 30 minutes at their office or over coffee to get to know the hiring manager or supervisor. You’ll be very surprised how often these kind of meetings happen and how much info you’ll be able to learn about the company, what they are looking for in an employee and best of all you’ll be on the top of their mind the next time something opens up.
TIP: Buy some awesome business cards. There is so much you can do with a business these days you might as well get creative with them. You can create mini business cards or business cards made out of wood, metal, plastic and 3 layers of paper. Don’t let your business card get thrown in the trash because it’s boring and look like everyone else.
5. Get Creative
If all else fails…it’s time to get creative! I wrote about a guy who bought google ads targeted at those he wanted to work with here…now that’s creative. You can think of all sorts of things to try. Two stories I tell all the time are creative methods that I think are genius as well. Deliver a pizza to the company you want to work for with your cover letter and resume attached…that’ll get their attention! Maybe try FedEx’ing a shoe to their office with your resume and a note attached: “Just trying to get my foot in the door”. Your resume will get a read for sure! You don’t want to look desperate, but you want to stand out. In this tough job market…do get your foot in the door any way you can.
Let me know how if these tips help you, find me on Twitter @tshold
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