Help Wanted

by - November 11, 2010

I had an interesting conversation with some of my coworkers the other day regarding the process our station is going through to hire new people. We were talking about how college grads nowadays don't aggressively pursue careers.

I remember when I first started applying for a real job. I hadn't graduated from college yet. In fact, I still had about three months of classes left.

I started perusing a myriad of "help wanted" websites, sending my clips and resume as far north as Ohio and as far west as San Diego. I got in touch with every contact I had in the print business trying to sniff out leads on open positions and quite frankly, just to get my name out there.

If I saw anything that interested me, I threw my hat in the ring. It didn't matter if I didn't have the minimum years of experience they specified. It didn't matter if it didn't fit inside the parameters of my degree. If it caught my fancy, I applied. And that went against everything I'd ever been told.

Your best bet is to apply for entry-level positions. You need at least three years experience to deserve a second look from most employers. Stick to your field; the odds are better.

Excuse my French, but quite frankly that advice is bullshit.

I landed a handful of interviews, a couple of which I definitely did not meet the experience requirements for. But here's the thing, guys. I was a fresh-out-of-college, talented journalist who was actively pursuing what I wanted to do.

Experience is great, but it isn't everything. Think about it: just because someone has worked somewhere longer doesn't necessarily mean they do a good job. It also doesn't mean that a so-called newbie can't come in and blow the experienced worker out of the water.

Take me, for instance. When I got hired at the t.v. station I work for now, I had absolutely no experience in the world of broadcast whatsoever. You think I'm kidding, but I'm not.

I went to school for print, you know newspapers and magazines. I'd always thought I'd end up working for a prestigious magazine one day [and that dream still hasn't been ruled out]. I hadn't even considered broadcast as an option that was open to me, mainly due to the fact that I had no experience to even get my foot in the door.

So when my news director called and asked me to come in for an interview, I was astounded. My thoughts were something along the lines of, 'what can a print journalist do at a t.v. station?' But I wanted a job [and was curious], so I went to the interview and put my best stuff on the table. And I'll be danged if I didn't get the job.

So if you're out there looking for a job right now, here's my advice. Apply for EVERYTHING and anything that you think you'd like to do. Don't limit your options because you don't think you're experienced enough.

What's the worse that can happen? They could tell you no, that's true. They could put your information in a file that they come back to at a later date when there's an open position. Or they could see your potential to be a great asset to their company and hire you then.

The whole point is that to get anywhere in life you've got to put yourself out there. Go out on a limb every now and then. Sometimes taking a little risk pays off in the end. Just look at me!

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  1. You are absolutely right, Ashton! You must keep priming the pump to get water. One thing's for sure. If you stop pumping you will get no water. If you get lazy or lose faith in yourself and give up, you will never get where you want to go. You were very wise in the way you attacked your job hunt. You didn't wait till the last minute and you took massive action. Preparedness along with massive action yields success. I did the very same thing. I send out resumes like they were confetti, applying for producing jobs at stations across the sunbelt states all the way to California. I was offered an interview, took a sick day off, flew to Tampa, landed the job, and soon thereafter moved 1,000 miles from home. I never felt more scared or more alive.

    You are absolutely right when you advise people to apply for jobs requiring more experience or better qualifications. Life is about making a good first impression, selling yourself, getting people to like you, making friends, building relationships and networking. If you impress the right people they will go out of their way to help you if not immediately then somewhere down the road. If you don't fit the job currently available you will be the first one they call when an opportunity does become available. Through their own network of friends and business associates they might even refer you to another company where there's a position right for you. If you work hard, refine your craft, constantly update your reel and resume, and keep making yourself known to people, opportunities will keep coming your way. The more choices you have, the better your chances of finding the most fulfilling career.

  2. I'm so glad you wrote this post. Seriously. I've always been told, look at the minimum requirements. Just try to get experience first. Whatever. Most jobs require you to be trained in your first few weeks anyway, so, presumably, you still have skill sets for your job you need to learn, even if you have a degree in it. College teaches you theories, the work applies those theories. But, watch, I'll end up screwed when I go to apply for jobs. Maybe I can just skip the process and sell a novel soon. Lol. That'll never happen.