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An Open Letter To The Class of 2016 (And Beyond)

Jason Barrett

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When you’re in a management role, you receive inquiries for employment on a daily basis. Heck, sometimes it’s on an hourly basis. Job seekers have many different approaches and strategies for getting the attention of a hiring manager, and depending on the style of the individual who’s making the decision, it may or may not work.

I’ve often been asked for feedback on what to submit on a demo, how to craft an email, and who to reach out to when chasing opportunities and I usually tell each person that there’s no particular formula and the results will vary. Some programmers prefer longer demos that are unedited. Others like shorter “best of” clips that get right to the point. One executive wants a quick one paragraph introduction, and the other prefers a cover letter, resume, references and extensive details about your background.

oneThese are important factors to remember when you’re pursuing an opportunity. All that matters is finding that one person and company who’s willing to give you a shot. Don’t take the rejections personally. Sometimes openings don’t exist, the fit isn’t there, or a manager doesn’t like you or believe in you. You can waste a lot of energy wondering why you’re not getting the nod, but that’s valuable time you could be spending on chasing the next situation.

It’s well documented that Michael Jordan didn’t make his High School basketball team, Tom Brady was drafted in the 6th round, and 24 players went ahead of Mike Trout in the 2009 MLB Draft. I think they all turned out alright. If you prefer an industry example, watch this video of Adam Schefter talking about his climb up the ladder. If the top NFL Insider in our industry had to go through tough moments, you likely will too.

There is though one misunderstanding that I do want to address. A number of young people today are of the belief that by going to college and pursuing a broadcasting or journalism degree, it will open up the door for landing an opportunity.

Newsflash – it doesn’t!

graduateYes education is important, and a degree has great value, but if you think you’re going to land a job on the air with an established radio station or produce one of their top shows simply because you went to college, received your degree, worked at the campus radio station, and are smart and love sports, prepare to be disappointed.

What a degree often does is help you get inside the building. But so does going to a broadcasting school, having a relationship in the industry, or knocking on the door and refusing to take no for an answer. It’s what you do once you’re in the building that determines whether or not you stick around and get a bigger break.

One person who has a great read on this subject is Matt Sammon, the Tampa Bay Lightning’s Director of Broadcasting and Programming. As you’d expect, working for a sports franchise attracts a lot of interest and Matt deals with it on a regular basis. There are certain things a college student or young person can do to stand out when trying to get their foot in the door and Matt’s taken the time to share his advice on the best ways to do it.

That Degree Alone Won’t Get You a Job in Sports Broadcasting

If you’re one of the handful of people who have followed my blog, you know I’m willing to offer advice to aspiring young broadcasters any day. You also know I’ve been very vocal in the past with some less than prepared intern candidates not once, but twice. Well I’m glad to say after a recent intern fair at Amalie Arena, the intern candidates were well-dressed and I even got a few samples of the lost art of a cover letter.

But with some candidates, I saw an issue I’ve seen not just in recent years, but one that has been around for as long as I can remember. A candidate is months away from graduating, and is solely counting on his or her degree to land a job. It doesn’t work that way, but I’m happy to provide some direction for you.

That Degree Is Valuable

degreeDon’t get me wrong, there is a value to having a college degree or even a broadcasting school certification. That piece of paper shows you were instructed on the basics, and I can tell you some things I picked up in college 20 years ago are still utilized today. Having a degree or certification from a reputable school can help you get a foot in the door, but make sure you have a major that puts you right in front of that door, and a minor that you can either “fall back” on or supplement that major degree.

I majored in broadcast communications, and minored in management, and thankfully that education paid off to where I’m in both fields. But if I ever needed to do something other than manage in broadcasting, or if I ever needed to do some management outside of broadcasting, I have the documentation that says I can do that. But more importantly, I have experience, and THAT is the key to accelerating your career.

ANY Experience Helps

experienceI know what you’re saying college students, “I don’t have 20 years of experience!” Guess what, when I was starting out, neither did I! But believe it or not, I didn’t just stay out late and sleep in late while I was in college (please believe it). I worked, and even though the broadcasting business has changed since I went to college, there are still opportunities out there. It’s hard to balance a school schedule and a work schedule, especially when a lot of that work falls in to the “volunteer” category, but nothing brings me down more than a college senior with absolutely no experience looking for that internship in the final semester. And I can tell you, I’m not the only person in this position who feels the same. Yes, the internship is the big link between college and the real world, but you can’t come in totally cold.

We All Are Fans of Sports, But You Need More Than That

knowSome of us are fans of the team we’re working for. But simply knowing a lot about our favorite team or favorite sport didn’t clinch the job. Knowledge of a particular sport or team you want to work for is helpful, but experience in any form of journalism or broadcasting trumps that. The encyclopedia-like memory, or collection of team memorabilia, is the icing on the cake if you can convince us you can carry out the simple tasks the job demands.

Utilize Your School’s Resources

resourcesYou (or your parents) are paying a ton of money for you to attend that reputable school. You (and not likely your parents) will be paying off student loans out the wazoo for the next 20 years of your life. While you’re in school, use those facilities you’re paying for and will continue to pay for. If you want to get into broadcasting, sign up to work at the student radio station or TV station. If you’re into print journalism, sign up to work at the student newspaper or yearbook. Yes, these are “old school” mediums in a digital age, but a lot of schools have made the shift to digital while continuing to teach the journalism basics that are sorely lacking from a lot of what’s out there on the digital playground.

The shift at the radio station will suck (my first shift was Sunday mornings from 1-6 a.m.). You’re going to be pulling cable at the TV station, and you’re going to get the less-than-desirable assignment for the newspaper. Take it. Take it and ask for more. This is where you’re going to learn, where you’ll make mistakes, where you’ll find your style and personality. Don’t turn down any opportunity, even if it’s unpaid or “just” for credit.

The Earlier You Start, The Better

earlyWhile this was titled for the class of 2016, it’s better suited for 2017 and beyond. One reason why I chose the University of Alabama for my college experience, was that I could work at the student radio station as soon as I got there (and as long as I maintained a good GPA which wasn’t an issue). You will learn a lot working for the school, but nothing replaces that real-world experience of an internship, which most are done for college credit. As soon as you make that fateful decision to go in to broadcasting (God bless you), check with your adviser on how the school does internships and how soon you can get one.

I was fortunate to work an internship the summer after my freshman year, and again the summer after my sophomore year. The second internship lasted 2 weeks before the station decided to hire me part-time. Those two summers prepared me to do some of my finest work at the school in my junior and senior years, preparing me to enter that real-world job search during my senior year. The time for an internship is not when you have 6 months left in your education, although all is not lost if that is the case for you. The time is heading in to your junior or senior year if possible, with the experience you have picked up working at a school facility.

Why Wait Until Graduation, When You Can Work Now?

whywaitIf you’re fortunate enough to find paid part-time work in your field while you’re at school, by all means take it. Don’t fret over the format, the network affiliation, the hours or the pay. I worked part-time in a classic rock station, a news/sports talk station, a public radio station, a hot AC station. Very little of my work then was in sports, but I can’t tell you how much that experience in different formats, doing various jobs on and off the air helped me do what I do now.

Now times have changed, and unfortunately a lot of the entry level jobs I had while in college have dried up, especially in large markets. There still are opportunities in fringe markets and smaller markets. And while entry level jobs in traditional broadcast outlets have dried up, there are new outlets with new opportunities including website writing, video production, and podcasting. You want to work with a legitimate company, but don’t get wrapped up in how big the company is or if the job pays you enough. Work is work, experience is experience, and even a part-time wage buys you plenty of ramen noodles (and I’m told, beer).

If You Can’t Land That Official Job, Make Your Own Work

createTechnology is amazing these days– portable, affordable, and for the most part durable. If you can’t get that gig at your college calling basketball games, go find an open area in the seats and record your call in to an mp3 recorder. Ask the local high school if you can cover their football team, or call up the nearest minor league baseball team to see if they have a spot for you in the press box. You’re probably doing this for free, but nine times out of ten these teams will be thrilled someone is showing interest in their product. You’ll get a seat in the press box, and game notes, and support. Suddenly that turns in to interview opportunities with coaches and players, and more importantly you build up contacts and connections who undoubtedly will be helpful down the line.

I will give an intern or a job candidate a second look if they have 6 months of “freelance” work with the Capital City Capitals compared to nothing at all. At the very least you’re showing initiative to make something out of limited opportunities. And the same can be done if you want to host a show– start your own podcast. I don’t care if 4 people listen to it on average… you’re working out the kinks. If you want to do video work, shoot your own stand-ups. Make your own feature stories. Edit your own 30-second highlight videos (note I said 30-second, not 8 minutes and 47 seconds set to your Limp Bizkit megamix). Your iPhone camera work won’t be perfect, but again it’s something to get your feet wet.

NOTHING Is Given

givenI can’t stress this enough. Unless you know someone who knows someone who owes someone a favor, and that is very rare, you’re not just going to suddenly wake up one day and have that dream job. In fact, you won’t just be dropped on to the path of the dream job. You have to work for it, and that includes less than glorious work, little or no pay, and forget about 9-5 hours Monday through Friday. There is sacrifice to get to where you want to go, and it doesn’t happen quickly.

And I’m going to break this to you right now: you’re not good enough to turn down any good opportunities. That also goes for those of you who are a few years removed from college. Just because you’re 28 doesn’t mean you can put your nose in the air because the job isn’t 100% perfect.

You got this far, GO DO some of the things I suggested, and gradually get to where you want to be. Don’t just sit across from me with a resume full of summer wait jobs, telling me how big of a fan you are of the team I work for. I’m not a big fan of your prospects.

Matt Sammon is the Director of Broadcasting/Programming for the Tampa Bay Lightning. You can reach him on Twitter @SammonSez or by email at MattSammonSez@Gmail.com.

Barrett Blogs

Barrett Media Announces 3 Additions, Social Media Changes

“Luckily, I’ve been able to assemble a stellar group of people, which allows us to earn your attention each day, and I’m happy to reveal that we’re adding to our roster yet again.”

Jason Barrett

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It’s taken years of hard work, adjustments, and a whole lot of trial and error to turn this brand into a trusted source for industry professionals. It’s been exciting and rewarding to tell stories, highlight the industry, and use my decades worth of knowledge and relationships to help the brands I work with make progress. But while I may prioritize the work I do for others, I’ve also got to balance it with making sure BSM and BNM run smoothly.

Each day, Barrett Media produces nearly fifty social posts, one to two newsletters, and twenty to thirty sports and news media stories and columns. I didn’t even mention podcasts, which is another space we recently entered. Making sure we’re delivering quality not quantity is vital, and so too is promoting it consistently and creatively.

Today, we have thirty people on our payroll. I never expected that to be the case, but as needs have increased and deeper bonds have been formed between the brand, our audience, and our clients, it’s allowed us to find new ways to invest in delivering insight, information, and opinion to our readers. Writing, editing, and creating content for a brand like ours isn’t for everyone. I just spent the past three months interviewing nearly forty people, and there’s a lot of quality talent out there. But talent for radio and journalism doesn’t always mean the fit is right for BSM and BNM. Luckily, I’ve been able to assemble a stellar group of people, which allows us to earn your attention each day, and I’m happy to reveal that we’re adding to our roster yet again.

First, please join me in welcoming Garrett Searight to BSM and BNM. Garrett has been hired as our FT Brand Editor, which means he will oversee BSM and BNM’s website’s content M-F during normal business hours. He will work closely with yours truly, our nighttime editors Arky Shea and Eduardo Razo, and our entire writing teams to create content opportunities for both of our brands. Garrett joins us after a decade long stint in Lima, OH where he most recently worked as program director and afternoon host at 93.1 The Fan. He also programmed classic country station 98.5 The Legend. His first day with us is August 1st, but he’ll be training this month to make sure he’s ready to hit the ground running.

Next, I am excited to welcome Alex Reynolds as our Social Media Coordinator. Alex’s creativity and curiosity stood out during our interview process, and we’re excited to have him helping with social content creation and scheduling for BSM and BNM. He’s a graduate of Elon University, a big fan of lacrosse, and he’ll be working with Dylan Barrett to improve our graphic creation, schedule our content, and further develop the social voice for both of our brands.

Speaking of our two brands, though we produce content on the website for both sports and news, how they get promoted on social is changing. When I started this company, the website was known as SportsRadioPD.com. That worked perfectly with my Twitter and Instagram handles, which were also @sportsradiopd. But since we switched our URL to BarrettSportsMedia.com and started ramping up content for both sports and news it’s become clear that we needed dedicated brand pages. It’s harder to expect people to share an individual’s content, and the mix of sports and news often feels off-brand to the two different audiences we serve. It feels even stranger if I’m buying social media ads to market content, a conference, and other things, so it’s time to change things up.

Starting today, you can now follow Barrett Sports Media on Twitter @BSMStaff. You can also follow Barrett News Media on Twitter @BNMStaff. Each brand also has its own Facebook page. Moving forward, we will promote sports media content on our sports accounts, and news media content on our news accounts. We started with that approach for BNM when the brand launched in September 2020, but expecting people to read another site and follow other social accounts was a tall order for a brand that was finding its footing. We made a choice to promote both sports and news under the same social accounts for the past year in order to further grow awareness for the content, and as we stand today, I think many would agree that BNM has made great strides. We’ve built a kick ass team to cover the news media industry, and I’m hoping many of you will take a moment to give BNM’s pages a follow to stay informed.

One thing you will notice is that the @BSMStaff account has replaced the @sportsradiopd account on Twitter. Let’s face it, most people who have followed me on Twitter have done so for BSM or BNM’s content, not for my NY Knicks and pro wrestling rants. I am keeping my @sportsradiopd handle but that is being developed as a brand new personal account. That said, if you enjoy sending DM’s my way, give the new @sportsradiopd account a follow so we can stay in touch. The only account we will use to promote content from both brands under is the Barrett Media account on LinkedIn. Instagram is not a focus right now nor is TikTok or Snapchat. I realize audiences exist everywhere but I’d rather be great at a few things than average at a lot of them.

Now that we’ve tackled the social media changes, let me share another exciting piece of news. I’m thrilled to welcome Jessie Karangu to our brand as a BSM weekly columnist. Jessie has great energy, curiosity, and a genuine love and passion for the media industry. He’s worked for Sinclair television, written for Awful Announcing, and has also hosted podcasts and video shows on YouTube. His knowledge and interest in television is especially strong, and I’m looking forward to featuring his opinions, and perspectives on our website. His debut piece for the site will be released this Wednesday.

With all of this happening, Demetri Ravanos is shifting his focus for the brand to a space he’s passionate about, audio. His new title is BSM’s Director of Audio Content. This means he will be charged with overseeing the editing, execution, and promotion of our various podcasts. He will also work closely with me in developing future Barrett Media shows. We have 3 in weekly rotation now, and will be adding Seller to Seller with Jeff Caves next week, and The Jason Barrett Podcast the week after that. The goal is to increase our audio library in the future provided the right ideas, talent, and interest are there.

Another goal of mine moving forward is to grow our advertising partnerships. Between our website, social media channels, podcasts, and newsletters, we have many ways to help brands connect to an affluent, influential, and loyal industry audience. We’ve enjoyed working with and helping brands over the years such as Point to Point Marketing, Jim Cutler NY, Steve Stone Voiceovers, Core Image Studio, Skyview Networks, Compass Media Networks, ESPN Radio and Harker Bos Group. That doesn’t include all of the great sponsors we’ve teamed up with for our annual BSM Summit (2023’s show will be announced by the end of the summer). I’m excited to add to the list by welcoming Backbone as a new website and newsletter partner. We’re also looking forward to teaming up in the near future with Quu and the Sports Gambling Podcast Network, and hope to work with a few others we’ve had recent dialogue with.

When it comes to marketing, I try to remind folks of our reach, the value we add daily across the industry, and the various ways we can help. I know it’s human nature to stick with what we know but if you work with a brand, I invite you to check into BSM/BNM further. Stephanie Eads is awesome to work with, cares about our partners, and our traffic, social impressions, and most importantly, the quality of our audience is proven. To learn more about what we can do, email Stephanie at Sales@BarrettSportsMedia.com.

Yes we continue to grow, and I’m happy about that, but just because we’re adding head count doesn’t mean we’re guaranteed to be better. It takes every person on a team holding up their end of the bargain, creating killer content, setting expectations, and paying attention to the follow through. We take pride in our work, value the support of our partners, and are extremely thankful for the continued readership of our material. That consistent support is what allows me to add to our team to better serve fans, partners, and industry professionals.

It may seem small, and unimportant but those retweets, comments, and mentions on the air about our content makes a difference. To all who take the time to keep our industry conversations alive, thank you. This is an awesome business with a lot of great brands, people, content, and growth opportunities, and the fact that we get to learn from you, share your stories, and help those reading learn in the process makes waking up to do it an honor.

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Barrett Blogs

Barrett Sports Media To Launch Podcast Network

“We will start with a few new titles later this month, and add a few more in July.”

Jason Barrett

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To run a successful digital content and consulting company in 2022 it’s vital to explore new ways to grow business. There are certain paths that produce a higher return on investment than others, but by being active in multiple spaces, a brand has a stronger chance of staying strong and overcoming challenges when the unexpected occurs. Case in point, the pandemic in 2020.

As much as I love programming and consulting stations to assist with growing their over the air and digital impact, I consider myself first a business owner and strategist. Some have even called me an entrepreneur, and that works too. Just don’t call me a consultant because that’s only half of what I do. I’ve spent a lot of my time building relationships, listening to content, and studying brands and markets to help folks grow their business. Included in my education has been studying website content selection, Google and social media analytics, newsletter data, the event business, and the needs of partners and how to best serve them. As the world of media continues to evolve, I consider it my responsibility to stay informed and ready to pivot whenever it’s deemed necessary. That’s how brands and individuals survive and thrive.

If you look at the world of media today compared to just a decade ago, a lot has changed. It’s no secret during that period that podcasting has enjoyed a surge. Whether you review Edison Research, Jacobs Media, Amplifi Media, Spotify or another group’s results, the story is always the same – digital audio is growing and it’s expected to continue doing so. And that isn’t just related to content. It applies to advertising too. Gordon Borrell, IAB and eMarketer all have done the research to show you where future dollars are expected to move. I still believe it’s smart, valuable and effective for advertisers to market their products on a radio station’s airwaves, but digital is a key piece of the brand buy these days, and it’s not slowing down anytime soon.

Which brings me to today’s announcement.

If you were in New York City in March for our 2022 BSM Summit, you received a program at the show. Inside of one of the pages was a small ad (same image used atop this article) which said “Coming This Summer…The BSM Podcast Network…Stay Tuned For Details.” I had a few people ask ‘when is that happening, and what shows are you planning to create?’ and I kept the answers vague because I didn’t want to box ourselves in. I’ve spent a few months talking to people about joining us to help continue producing quality written content and improve our social media. Included in that process has been talking to members of our team and others on the outside about future opportunities creating podcasts for the Barrett Sports Media brand.

After examining the pluses and minuses, and listening and talking to a number of people, I’m excited to share that we are launching the BSM Podcast Network. We will start with a few new titles later this month, and add a few more in July. Demetri Ravanos will provide oversight of content execution, and assist with production and guest booking needs for selected pods. This is why we’ve been frequently promoting Editor and Social Media jobs with the brand. It’s hard to pursue new opportunities if you don’t have the right support.

The titles that will make up our initial offerings are each different in terms of content, host and presentation. First, we have Media Noise with Demetri Ravanos, which has produced over 75 episodes over the past year and a half. That show will continue in its current form, being released each Friday. Next will be the arrival of The Sports Talkers Podcast with Stephen Strom which will debut on Thursday June 23rd, the day of the NBA Draft. After that, The Producer’s Podcast with Brady Farkas will premiere on Wednesday June 29th. Then as we move into July, two more titles will be added, starting with a new sales focused podcast Seller to Seller with Jeff Caves. The final title to be added to the rotation will be The Jason Barrett Podcast which yours truly will host. The goal is to have five weekly programs distributed through our website and across all podcasting platforms by mid to late July.

I am excited about the creation of each of these podcasts but this won’t be the last of what we do. We’re already working on additional titles for late summer or early fall to ramp up our production to ten weekly shows. Once a few ideas and discussions get flushed out, I’ll have more news to share with you. I may consider adding even more to the mix too at some point. If you have an idea that you think would resonate with media professionals and aspiring broadcasters, email me by clicking here.

One thing I want to point out, this network will focuses exclusively on various areas of the sports media industry. We’ll leave mainstream sports conversations to the rest of the media universe. That’s not a space I’m interested in pursuing. We’ve focused on a niche since arriving on the scene in 2015 and have no plans to waver from it now.

Additionally, you may have noticed that we now refer to our company as ‘Barrett Media’. That’s because we are now involved in both sports and news media. That said, we are branding this as the BSM Podcast Network because the titles and content are sports media related. Maybe there will be a day when we introduce a BNM version of this, but right now, we’ve got to make sure the first one works right before exploring new territory.

Our commitment to delivering original industry news, features and opinions in print form remains unchanged. This is simply an opportunity to grow in an area where we’ve been less active. I know education for industry folks and those interested in entering the business is important. It’s why young people all across the country absorb mountains of debt to receive a college education. As valuable as those campus experiences might be, it’s a different world once you enter the broadcasting business.

What I’d like to remind folks is that we continue to make investments in the way we cover, consult, and discuss the media industry because others invest in us. It’d be easy to stockpile funds and enjoy a few more vacations but I’m not worried about personal wealth. I’m focused on building a brand that does meaningful work by benefitting those who earn a living in the media industry or are interested in one day doing so. As part of that process I’m trying to connect our audience to partners who provide products, services or programs that can benefit them.

Since starting this brand, we’ve written more than 18,000 articles. We now cover two formats and produce more than twenty five pieces of content per day. The opportunity to play a small role in keeping media members and future broadcasters informed is rewarding but we could not pay people to edit, write, and host podcasts here if others didn’t support us. For that I’m extremely grateful to those who do business with us either as a consulting client, website advertiser, Summit partner or through a monthly or annual membership. The only way to get better is to learn from others, and if our access to information, knowledge, relationships and professional opinions helps others and their brands, then that makes what we do worthwhile.

Thanks as always for the continued support. We appreciate that you read our content each day, and hope to be able to earn some of your listenership in the future too.

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Barrett Blogs

5 Mistakes To Avoid When Pursuing Media Jobs

“Demetri Ravanos and I have easily done 50-60 calls, and it’s been eye opening to see how many mistakes get made during the hiring process.”

Jason Barrett

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I recently appeared on a podcast, Monetize Media, to discuss the growth of Barrett Media. The conversation covered a lot of ground on business topics including finding your niche, knowing your audience and serving them the right content in the right locations, the evolution of the BSM Summit, and why consulting is a big part of our mix but can’t be the only thing we do.

Having spent nearly seven years growing this brand, I don’t claim to have all the answers. I just know what’s worked for us, and it starts with vision, hard work, consistency, and a willingness to adapt quickly. There are many areas we can be better in whether it’s social media, editing, SEO, sales, finding news, producing creative original content or adding more staff. Though there’s always work to be done and challenges to overcome, when you’re doing something you love and you’re motivated to wake up each day doing it, that to me is success.

But lately there’s one part of the job that I haven’t enjoyed – the hiring process. Fortunately in going through it, I was able to get to know Arky Shea. He’s a good guy, talented writer, and fan of the industry, and I’m thrilled to share that he’s joining us as BSM’s new night time editor. I’ll have a few other announcements to make later this month, but in the meantime, if you’re qualified to be an editor or social media manager, I’m still going through the process to add those two positions to our brand. You can learn more about both jobs by clicking here.

Working for an independent digital brand like ours is different from working for a corporation. You communicate directly with yours truly, and you work remotely on a personal computer, relying on your eyes, ears and the radio, television, and internet to find content. Because our work appears online, you have to enjoy writing, and understand and have a passion for the media industry, the brands who produce daily content, and the people who bring those brands to life. We receive a lot of interest from folks who see the words ‘sports’ and ‘news’ in our brand names and assume they’re going to cover games or political beats. They quickly discover that that’s not what we do nor are we interested in doing it.

If you follow us on social media, have visited our website or receive our newsletters, you’ve likely seen us promoting openings with the brand. I’ve even bought ads on Indeed, and been lucky enough to have a few industry folks share the posts on social. We’re in a good place and trying to make our product better, so to do that, we need more help. But over the past two months, Demetri Ravanos and I have easily done 50-60 calls, and it’s been eye opening to see how many mistakes get made during the hiring process.

Receiving applications from folks who don’t have a firm grasp of what we do is fine. That happens everywhere. Most of the time we weed those out. It’s no different than when a PD gets an application for a top 5 market hosting gig from a retail employee who’s never spoken on a microphone. The likelihood of that person being the right fit for a role without any experience of how to do the job is very slim. What’s been puzzling though is seeing how many folks reach out to express interest in opportunities, only to discover they’re not prepared, not informed or not even interested in the role they’ve applied for.

For instance, one applicant told me on a call ‘I’m not interested in your job but I knew getting you on the phone would be hard, and I figured this would help me introduce myself because I know I’m a great host, and I’d like you to put me on the radar with programmers for future jobs.’ I had another send a cover letter that was addressed to a different company and person, and a few more applied for FT work only to share that they can’t work FT, weren’t interested in the work that was described in the position, didn’t know anything about our brand but needed a gig, were looking for a confidence boost after losing a job or they didn’t have a computer and place to operate.

At first I thought this might be an exclusive issue only we were dealing with. After all, our brand and the work we do is different from what happens inside of a radio or TV station. In some cases, folks may have meant well and intended something differently than what came out. But after talking to a few programmers about some of these things during the past few weeks, I’ve been stunned to hear how many similar horror stories exist. One top programmer told me hiring now is much harder than it was just five years ago.

I was told stories of folks applying for a producer role at a station and declining an offer unless the PD added air time to the position. One person told a hiring manager they couldn’t afford not to hire them because their ratings were tanking. One PD was threatened for not hiring an interested candidate, and another received a resume intended for the competing radio station and boss. I even saw one social example last week of a guy telling a PD to call him because his brand was thin on supporting talent.

Those examples I just shared are bad ideas if you’re looking to work for someone who manages a respected brand. I realize everyone is different, and what clicks with one hiring manager may not with another, but if you have the skills to do a job, I think you’ll put yourself in a better position by avoiding these 5 mistakes below. If you’re looking for other ways to enhance your chances of landing an opportunity, I recommend you click here.

Educate Yourself Before Applying – take some time to read the job description, and make sure it aligns with your skillset and what you’re looking to do professionally before you apply. Review the company’s body of work and the people who work there. Do you think this is a place you’d enjoy being at? Does it look like a job that you’d gain personal and professional fulfillment from? Are you capable of satisfying the job requirements? Could it potentially put you on the path to greater opportunities? If most of those produce a yes, it’s likely a situation to consider.

Proofread Your Email or Cover Letter and Resume – If the first impression you give a hiring manager is that you can’t spell properly, and you address them and their brand by the wrong names, you’re telling them to expect more mistakes if they hire you. Being detail oriented is important in the media business. If this is your introduction to someone and they have a job you’re interested in, you owe it to yourself to go through your materials thoroughly before you press send. If you can have someone else put an extra set of eyes on your introduction to protect you from committing a major blunder even better.

Don’t Waste People’s Time – You’d be annoyed if a company put you through a 3-4 week process only to tell you they didn’t see you as a viable candidate right? Well, it works the other way too. If you’re not seriously interested in the job or you’re going into the process hoping to change the job description later, don’t apply. If the fit isn’t right or the financials don’t work, that’s OK. Express that. People appreciate transparency. Sometimes they may even call you back in the future when other openings become available. But if you think someone is going to help you after you wasted their time or lied to them, trust me, they won’t.

Don’t Talk Like An Expert About Things You Don’t Know – Do you know why a station’s ratings or revenue is down? Are you aware of the company’s goals and if folks on the inside are satisfied or upset? Is the hiring manager someone you know well enough to have a candid professional conversation with? If the answers are no, you’re not helping your case by talking about things you don’t have full knowledge of. You have no idea how the manager you’re talking to has been dealing with the challenges he or she is faced with so don’t pretend you do. Just because someone wrote an article about it and you read it doesn’t mean you’re informed.

Use Social Wisely – Being frustrated that you didn’t get a job is fine. Everyone goes through it. Asking your friends and followers for advice on social of how you could’ve made a better case for yourself is good. That shows you’re trying to learn from the process to be better at it next time. But taking to social to write a book report blasting the hiring manager, their brand, and/or their company over a move that didn’t benefit you just tells them they made the right move by not bringing you in. Chances are, they won’t be calling you in the future either.

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