Get a job before getting a (broadcasting) job

Many times, parents or guardians will grill their recent college graduates about their job prospects in the competitive world of broadcast performance. I tell the grads to answer, “My job now is to meet people.” That is, doing whatever networking is necessary to make as many contacts in the industry as possible. And while the task of reaching out to news directors, newscasters and sportscasters is very time-consuming, I also urge these grads to get a job while trying to develop their broadcasting careers.

There are many reasons for this. The first is your living arrangement. If you want to be on your own or with a roommate, unless you’re living rent-free you’re going to have to come up with a monthly payment, let alone money for food and other expenses. But even if you were living at home, I would think your parents or guardians would appreciate having you help out with those expenses, even if you’re welcomed with open arms. It’s the right thing to do, plus it’ll leave you with some weekend spending money and a little self-respect. 

Taking a wage-earning position will also give you a break from the arduous task of trying to meet people, crafting cover letters and sending out CD’s and DVD’s. This is especially true of the most devoted, those who spend eight to ten hours a day trying to break into broadcasting. You need—deserve—a break. It’s not an easy thing to re-start yourself time and again after so many “no’s.”

There are probably more job options than you think. Make a list of your skills and interests to see if there’s not an opportunity that matches up. You might reach back to a former employer to see if they have any openings. And there’s also the tried-and-true option of food server. In fact, that often allows you to do your broadcast networking during the week, during the day while you work at a restaurant at nights and/or on the weekends, hopefully making some nice tips.

Of course there is the chance that you could be working, say, at some nice steakhouse one evening and in walks somebody in the broadcasting business. You exchange information and perhaps this person turns out to be a key to you launching your career as a broadcast performer. It’s certainly not a probability, but it is possible. Just ask all of the servers working in Hollywood. Sometimes dessert turns out to be extra special.

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