As the old saying goes, you are only as good as your last job. Everybody enters the broadcasting and TV industry wide-eyed with stars and nerves, enthusiastic as heck, and brimming with ideas, convinced they have got what it takes to be the next Michaela Coel or Tim Davie.
The reality for most, though, is that they will plug away in the shadows, and carefully hone every area of our craft until their reputation speaks for itself. Here are some tips for standing out in an already crowded crowd:
Make Yourself Indispensable
When managers are hiring for a new project, they look for experience, core skills, and a good dose of common sense. TV and broadcasting are fast-paced beasts and need people who can work well in a team but also get on with a task alone. Budgets are squeezed so much now that staffing and delivery are pushed to their max; two people have become one. If you can learn ‘extra’ skills in your field and make yourself quietly indispensable, you will be remembered. It is worth its weight in gold!
Consider a Different Route in
Just like broadcasting itself, career progression is no longer just linear. People move up, down, and across as their life situation flexes. Roles used to be more clearly defined: production or technical. But as self-production has become the norm, the edges have blurred, and people can move from one area to another with relative ease.
To start in production, you would usually get a foot in the door as a runner or production assistant, then progress through the researcher-AP-producer ranks. The starter roles can be tricky to get, though, as they are oversubscribed and often not advertised. Consider whether your skills would suit a different type of company, such as Red Bee Media. They are an end-to-end managed media services company who work with some of the world’s biggest brands and are on par with BBC and ITV for the breadth of career opportunity and development.
Be Confident but Humble
You have done your first couple of jobs, and they’ve gone really well – now what? Everybody might tell you that you are great, and it might be true, but don’t wear it like armour. The media is full of over-confident people. If you want to stand out, it is important to be humble, show your brilliance quietly, and don’t make people feel stupid. Being over-confident will make you stand out from the crowd – but not in a good way.
Some people are fantastic at schmoozing, aren’t they? For others, it is a nightmare. Unfortunately, it is necessary, since so many jobs are word-of-mouth. Make sure you sign up to all the Facebook job groups, LinkedIn. For a small monthly fee, you can post your CV, access their jobs board, and be contacted directly by hiring managers.
As more and more content is commissioned, standing out in this increasingly competitive world is crucial. But ultimately, people want what they have always wanted – a solid, dependable, and hard-working team around them. And there is no magic secret to that!
Do Your Homework
Before you attend any interviews for your dream job in the TV / Broadcasting industry, it is worth doing some research into each of the companies that you are successful in the application process. If you have an interview it is your one chance to make a great first impression but also to prove to them that you specifically want to work in their company.
Research who are the key players in the business and research the work that they have been involved in. Find a piece that you are interested in and perhaps bring it up in the interview as something that as forced you to gravitate towards their company in particular.
You could also look at what work the company is most known for. Within this industry there is normally a TV program, documentary or series that the business is proud of being involved in. Take that information and use it to your advantage in the interview process. I guarantee not all candidates will have done the homework so this is an important method to get your foot in the door.
Hopefully all the tips above will help you get the job you want in the TV / Broadcasting industry and start the career you are looking for.