Figuring out what you want to do career-wise for the rest of your life can be tricky at times. There are plenty of individuals that don’t have their life completely planned out. If you’ve dabbled around with the idea of a career in the media industry, read below to see what you should know before committing to this career.
To get the ball rolling, I think it’s important to discuss what the media industry is. In basic terms, the media industry consists of film, print, radio and television. There is a wide range of jobs in each one of these branches. However, they all have these ten things in common that you need to understand if you want to eventually work in this field.
Experience Is Essential
In any professional field, having previous experience is crucial when looking for your first adult job. That being said, it’s important to pick a college that has the tools available for you to learn and gain experience relevant to your field. If you want to be a journalist, start writing for your school newspaper or magazine. If you want to work in radio, see if you can intern at a local radio station near you or better yet, see if your college has a radio station you can work for. For those interested in television and film, see if you can help your university create their short promotional films for sports, education, arts, and more. Any bloggers and social media lovers out there? Search your local city for companies that need writer and social media interns. If you look hard enough, you will find an opportunity to gain inside experience.
Showcase Your Work
It’s important to have a strong resume in the media industry. Depending on what job you’re going for, the media industry can get pretty competitive. As you intern, shadow, or work for any company during your college years and even after, make sure you keep up to date with your resume so you can have it on hand at given time. For the more competitive positions, I have heard of many stories where resumes are given out and they just get thrown on desks without a second glance. Do not let that discourage you from keeping up with yours.
Network All Day, Every Day
A common piece of advice in the media industry is that it’s all about who you know. While this is true, don’t think that pure talent won’t get you anywhere. It will. You just need to have the right person notice. With that being said, it is extremely important to get your name out there. The perfect way to do that is by attending as many networking events you can. Many universities have networking events for their students to meet real professionals in the fields they are interested in. Take advantage of those! Once you make a connection with someone, make sure to follow up on it via LinkedIn or email if they gave you a business card.
Have An Online Presence
Those in the media field should familiarize themselves with all social media platforms. You can use these platforms to build your personal brand and showcase any work you do. If you are a journalist, blogger, news anchor or producer, having an online presence can give you a platform for your work. Gaining a following on any platform in today’s world is great for gaining new opportunities because it gives you a higher chance of being discovered by someone higher up in the industry.
Be Willing To Go The Extra Mile
No one wants to just get by in their career. To be successful in this industry, you need to put in the work. This is the time to explore your creativity and make sure you’re putting out good quality content. Doing this may take more time, but it will also catch more people’s attention. Getting people’s attention is important in this field because there are many individuals that are unoriginal. Bland ideas will ultimately go unnoticed and blend together. Put in the work and be innovative with your ideas. This will help you stick out.
Don’t Burn Bridges
This goes for any career, but I think it’s especially true for a career in this industry. Sometimes people tend to get power hungry and they will ruin a professional working relationship as they climb up the latter. There will be a time when that power hungry person needs something, but they will find themselves unable to get help from their colleagues. Maintaining good relationships with your peers will be beneficial in the long run. There will always be someone that knows more than you do.
Many jobs in the media industry are built on trust. As a person that is creating a piece of work to communicate something to an audience, being truthful is very important. Once you break that trust, it can take a long time to get back. You may not even get it back at all. For example, as a journalist or news reporter, lying may be easy to do, but if you are caught, the people that support your career will lose respect for you and find someone else to get their news from.
You never know when a crisis will take place. That being said, if you are in journalism, public relations, or any sort of news media, you MUST be flexible when it comes to time. Big events like a crisis never occur at a convenient time, so you must be willing to drop what you’re doing and go cover a story or fix a problem.
Keep An Open Mind
As a figure in the media industry, it is beneficial for you to ask for others opinions on your work so you can create something even more significant. That being said, staying open-minded will help make that happen. Not all of your ideas may be the best ideas. That can be hard to accept at times, but don’t let it be that way. You are in a line of work that has creative people pouring out of its seams. Take advantage of that. Bounce your ideas back and forth between others — you might come up with something completely new and unique.
Have A Passion For Your Industry
The media industry can be pretty grueling at times, and those that are not passionate about what they are doing will have a hard time keeping up. If you are truly passionate about what you are doing, others will see that and be excited to work with you. Your passion will show in the content you put out there for the world to see. If someone doesn’t like your ideas, don’t get discouraged. Keep trying and showing how bad you want to be a part of the industry. Your creativity will be seen.