We all make resolutions at the start of a new year. Go to the gym, eat healthier, spend more time ‘unplugged’, etc…usually these things fall by the wayside Jan 15th when work is starting to pile up and the initial boost of the New Year has worn off. This article won’t get you the shredded abs you might be looking to get in 2018, but it might just help you get your career pointed in the direction you want it to be headed in. Writing down a few goals or aspirations for the new year or posting on Facebook how “2018 will be your year” isn’t a bad idea…but it’s what you do next that counts!
Look At Yourself
One of the hardest things to do is to evaluate yourself. But it’s really one of the most important things you can do, in my opinion, if you want to succeed. Are you living up to your potential? Are you doing the job you really want? Why or why not. Ask yourself these questions and ask yourself why you might not be where you want to be in your career. Have you played it too safe and not taken risks when you should have? Have you been complacent? Not worked hard enough or not said ‘yes’ at every chance you could have? Evaluate your work. If you are On-air or behind the scenes…it doesn’t matter. Ask yourself, if your own work is up to the level you want it to be? If it isn’t…change that. Ask for help. Ask for advice…one thing I have learned doing the Shold Media Group is that people really want to help others. They want to share their advice. A lot of people find it really flattering that you even want their help. Take advantage of that…in good way. If someone offers advice, take it to heart. They are where they are for a reason…you can be too.
Another thing, take a look in the mirror, literally. Are you dressing the same way you did in high school? Is your hair a mess? Do you present yourself to the world in the way YOU want to be seen? This is especially true if you are trying to make it on air. If you’re demo reel is old and outdated, update it, freshen it up. But make sure what you are wearing isn’t too trendy or bold. You want to make sure you can re-use some of your best work down the road. Think simple. Think classic. If you work in a newsroom or office setting, sure you won’t be wearing a suit or tie everyday to work…but for starters, ditch that hoody and hat combo you wear everyday. Start wearing what you’re comfortable in, but what shows you both respect your work and yourself. The old adage is, dress for the job you want, not the job you have.
It’s not all about how you look or how you dress. You need to make sure you preform. On-air or behind the scenes, you need to make sure your work is the best it can be everyday. You want to stand out in a good way. Sometimes the best way to evaluate how you are doing is to look around and see what other successful people are doing. How do they present themselves on-air, on social media or around the office. Take traits that you see and can emulate and add it to you own workflow. If you work in production, what do the best producers do that make them so good? Learn from them, take in how they do their job and try and build upon it. I know that when I got my start working at Hockey Night in Canada, I got extremely lucky. I was surrounded by some of the best in the business. I learned A LOT from them. I took it all in and tried my best to bring that same professionalism and work ethic to other workplaces. You can do the same. Ask a lot of questions to the people you admire in your own workplace. Try and get up to their level so that when the next promotion comes up, that you are right there in the running.
My friend, Alanna Nolan wrote a great article with her advice to someone trying to make it in this business. Read it…take it to heart because it’s chalked full of useful tips. Always think to yourself…would YOU hire you?
It’s one thing to show up everyday trying to do your best or to get that new job you’ve been eyeing. You need to be prepared. That means keeping your cover letter and resume (or demo reel) updated and current. You never know when that dream job may come up or when you may be let go from the job you have now. You need to be ready to hustle. I wrote an article on how to write a great cover letter (you can read it here) and one of my main points was that you need to be memorable. From your initial email to a potential employer, your cover letter and resume, you need to be memorable. Make them give you a reason to bring you in for an interview.
Make sure you are building your contact base. It’s been incredibly important in my career thus far. The last few jobs I’ve gotten have been based on strong recommendations from those I’ve worked with in the past and kept in touch with. Your cover letter and resume might be top notch, your skills might be exactly what an employer is looking for, you might have loads of experience, but sometimes a personal recommendation is what puts you over the top. It takes time to network and keep in touch with people, I know that first hand, but it’s worth it. Building and maintaining relationships is vital. This business is VERY small…your reputation spreads fast…make sure you have a good one.
This is something that you cannot control. Sometimes you need all the stars to align and breaks to go your way. If you had asked me at the start of 2014 if I’d be back working for Hockey Night in Canada I probably would have said no chance. Hardly anyone saw what was about to happen in the broadcasting world and 7 months later, I’m getting hired by Rogers to work on the biggest hockey contract in history. The stars just aligned right for the door to open. Even getting hired was lucky on my end…a lot of things within Rogers shifted and people moved around within the hockey department for my spot to open up. One thing that is often overlooked is TOMA. My pal Gavin Seal talks about it HERE. Get ‘Top Of Mind Awareness’. Be on the mind of a hiring manger or producer. Post great things on social media, be in touch…maintain your networks. Sometimes you get the breaks…sometimes you don’t. But when a small shed of opportunity opens up, jump on it. You’ll have to make sure that you are in the right position to earn that new spot though. Be prepared, be someone that is impossible not to hire. You hear it a lot in sports, You gotta be lucky to be good and good to be lucky…but it’s very true.
While a lot of this advice or whatever you want to call it may seem pretty elementary or that you’ve heard it all before, take it to heart. Make sure this year that your ‘Give-a-Shit’ meter is at 100% and the words “I don’t care” or “it doesn’t matter” never come out of your mouth when you are referring to your work or building your reputation. Let me tell you, it does matter.
One last thing, Elliotte Friedman said this on air and I really liked it: “A lot of what makes people successful is confidence”…be confident in yourself and your abilities and with a little luck, you’ll get where you want to go. Happy New Year.
You can follow me on Twitter @tshold
Here are a few other articles that I encourage you to check out:
RELATED: So You Want To Be On TV?
RELATED: Advice from Those Who Know
RELATED: Fashion and the Young Media Professional
RELATED: Bennett – Advice from a Veteran
Join Shold Media Group
Joining the Shold Media Group and getting connected with other young media professionals is simple. All you need to do is ‘LIKE’ SMG on Facebook and ‘Follow’ SMG on Twitter. Once you do that, you’ll have all the great articles, videos, event invites and much more delivered right to you. Click the links below to Join.