Making a career in media is harder than it looks. You might think you’re the next big thing on TV – and maybe you do have the talent to make it – but you can’t stumble onto a soundstage and hope that someone will hand you the script you need to make your career. Whether you’re interested in pursuing your dream to become a political commentator, your hopes of being a radio DJ, or your ambitions for Instagram influence, the path to success will be fraught with obstacles. One day, you might even find yourself wanting to follow your parents’ advice and drop off the screen in favor of a nice, stable job in marketing. But if you truly want to make a name and career for yourself in media, you need to push past those doubts and embrace your ambition. Not everyone can make it; but with enough hard work and tenacity, you just might. Here are a few tips.
Decide On What You Want
Working on a film set is very different from manning a desk in a newspaper bullpen or prepping guests for a radio show. Before you dive into a career, you should take some time to consider professions that interest you. After all – if you hate Instagram, you probably don’t want to invest time and money you need to become an influencer. Once you have a long-term goal in mind, you can begin planning out the milestones and shorter-term objectives that will define your career path. Keep your mind and eyes open to new opportunities; you never know what paths might open for you if you do!
Embrace Social Media
Social media is everything in the digital age. At some point down the line, you’ll find yourself competing with high-powered media professionals for career breaks – and you need to have your skills and experiences on display when you do. Make sure to hit the basics when you begin building your social media foundation: Linkedin, Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram. If you plan to create and promote written or multimedia content, you should also take the time to build out a website that can readily display your projects to potential employers.
Never underestimate the power of having connections. Employers tend to hire those they know and like over equally qualified strangers – so make yourself known! Go to networking events and mingle after work; try to step outside your comfort zone when you can. Having a positive connection with a producer or company talent could give you the leg up you need to stand above your competition during the hiring process.
Be Enthusiastic and Flexible
Working in media – any kind of media – is vastly different from working a nine-to-five job. You can expect long days, little sleep, and incredibly rewarding experiences. Done right, a career in film, television, or radio is simultaneously exhausting and thrilling. But you can’t afford to be lazy or unmotivated: producers want their staff to be flexible and work hard. If you aren’t willing to go above and beyond for your projects, your supervisors might just trade you in for someone who is.
Don’t Undervalue Your Worth
Being a starving artist is a cliche – and one that you can’t afford. The value of free exposure only goes so far when you have bills to pay and a career to make. Never, ever offer to work for free. After all, what company will bother to pay you by the hour if you already finish projects on your own time? Know your worth – and stick by it!