Taylor Shold: Tell us a little about yourself, who are you and what do you do?
Where Have I Been
My name is Rachel K Rappe and I was born and raised in Wisconsin. I went to college at Northeastern University in Boston, MA and it was my goal as of freshman year in highschool to go to the city of Boston, I convinced myself that’s where “smart” people went. During college, I was active in four full-time internships: Boston Red Sox Accounting Intern, ESPN Technology Intern, MPIRIK Project Employee, and New Orleans Pelicans & Saints Business Analytics Intern.
What I Do Now
I am a Business Analyst at Disney and ESPN media networks (DEMN). I am a technical project manager for the advertising implementations and implications with our distribution partners. An example of my job function would be: Youtube TV signed a contract to include Disney and ESPN networks. My team will work with YouTube technology along with all applicable DEMN teams to ensure the file deliveries of entertainment and advertisement assets are cohesive to both companies’ operating systems. This process typically includes compiling notes, requirements, and action items weekly and hosting calls/meetings (with up to 40 people) regularly. There can be many projects going on at once.
Why I Am In This Industry
I started in this industry because I couldn’t get myself to turn down the Boston Red Sox as an internship when I received my offers during my first co-op. It was in that opportunity I feel in love with the team comradery that rallies around supporting the team on the field. It was a unifying experience amongst a group of strangers. The sports industry is smaller than you think and the opportunities rolled one to another through connections and building relevant experience.I want to work for something that can bring strangers together on a Friday night that would otherwise never bond. I want to ensure that the public has access to entertainment to escape from everyday stress and to talk about something at the water cooler or holiday dinner.
Taylor: SMG is all about networking, how has it helped your career?
Rachel: Networking is why ESPN gave me a shot. I was an intern here a few years ago but when I was sending applications in for a full-time position, I had to have sent ten applications without so much as an interview. I was baffled. I had worked there prior and gained so much relevant experience to this industry. It was then that I reached out to a connection I had made during my ESPN internship. This connection was not even in the department that I had worked in but was someone I met during a Monday Night Football truck tour and had asked to learn more about Remote Operations. I had sat down with him about once a week to shadow his role and from there I was able to suggest an improvement to an operational process they used. I served as a liaison to IT and project managed the modification. One email to this connection and I was in the running for a position that was not even public yet. I interviewed and the rest is history. That is how I networked my way into a full-time position at ESPN.
Creating and Maintaining your Network
– Remember one unique or connecting fact about the person
– Remind them in follow-up, where you spoke and what you spoke about. Make sure they actually recall who you were.
Example: Hi Bob, it was so great to speak to you at the NY Knicks game this past Thursday in the corporate suite. I agree that the hotdogs have definitely gotten better with the new vendors and thank you for sharing about your recent trip to Italy.
– Check in with them about every 6 months. No one likes someone that only speaks to them when they want something
Taylor: What is the decision making process you go through when you make career moves?
Rachel: I think an important question to ask yourself is, “what am I good at and what am I interested in?”. You can take a job that you are good at, but just despise the work and don’t resignate with the company mission. This is a setup for low motivation. You can take a job that you are interested in but your skillset doesn’t naturally flow into your responsibilities. This is a setup for frustration. Take time to be honest with yourself in terms of your talents and what would make you excited to go to work. It is that intersection that I believe you find joy in your career.
In Exploring New Opportunities
– Will this help me grow?
– Will the skills I would utilize be transferable to other opportunities?
– Is this a location I can envision my lifestyle in?
– Who can I consult with that has made a similar move to what I am considering?
Taylor: What cover letter or resume tips do you have that would give people the best chance of success of landing a media related job?
– This first one is a little wonky. I include the logo and company name directly next to my name on the cover letter. I’m convinced this is a psychological push that my name belongs within the company. It also shows pride for the company. Take that one as you may.
– State why you would succeed in this role. Why the company itself excites you. I’ve heard from hiring managers that they will encounter candidates that do not state to them that they want the position. It seems like a no brainer since you applied, but your enthusiasm and drive needs to show throughout the process.
– Include company logos next to the name of the company or in place of. It creates a nice visual and appreciation for branding
– Be as specific as you can on “personal interests”. If you put sports and travel…. Ok, so has everyone else. But if you put Cleveland Browns and deep sea diving, I PROMISE someone will want to ask you more and thus creating a more organic interview conversation.
– Differentiate your wording. Media is an industry of storytelling and no interviewer wants to see 50 different ways you ‘organized’ something.
Taylor: Our industry is ever changing and shrinking, what tips do you have for people to be irreplaceable at work?
– In all aspects, see where you can save your company money. Whether it’s a big picture cheaper software or parking in a cheaper lot when you park at the airport. Expenses will typically be the first thing departments want to lessen in order to keep their current headcount so be part of the solution not the problem.
– Bring new opportunity for revenue. Challenge yourself to bring a new idea to your manager. Do not be stagnant in where your company currently stands because you know your executives are always looking forward and so should you.
– Ask how you personally can be better. It’s tough to hear why you aren’t perfect but it’s worth it. An easy way to do so is to ask for the job description of the position above you so you have the goal and standard of how the company expects you to grow
Taylor: Where do you think the future of media is going and how can people best align their career path or skill set in that direction?
Rachel: Attention-spans are shrinking and asking someone to sit down for an hour program is becoming a hard ask. I say that in regards to mastering your quick hit approach. Whether it be how to summarize a novel of an email or to summarize a 3 hour baseball game into 30 seconds. It is a skill set to be able to condense your message as to why someone should care to what you’re saying. If you are on a path that includes being in front of the camera, I would suggest that you try to explore each format of consumer views. This could be Twitter, web, Snapchat, TV, Facebook… whatever is available to you. Each platform has their own style and demographic of audiences so to be able to find your voice in a variance of situations is attractive to hiring managers.
Taylor: Finally, what is your best advice for someone trying to be successful in the media field?
Rachel: Don’t let the competition of this field harden you. Lend a hand to others and collaborate well. The Media Industry will always be a team sport at the end of the day.
– Hold on to what makes you unique. There is no one mold to a perfect reporter or a way to analyze information.
– Remember why you started. What fires you up. What you want to tell your grandkids one day. Then go get it. No one is going to do it for you, so no excuses and execute.
You can find Rachel and follow her adventures on Instagram @raykayrappe
MUST READ: So You Want To Be On TV?
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