Position Yourself for Success

Position Yourself for Success
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By Will Nimmow
Recently MMI hosted a Media Communication Association-International (MCA-I) panel discussion on how to position oneself for a rewarding career in the media industry after graduating college.  The panel of industry professionals included: Michael Graf of Spot Filmworks, an award winning national television commercial director, Georgia Roeming of the GEO Group, also the original founder of MCA-I of Madison, and Jim Stiener, president of ProVideo. A handful of VMG students attended the event, hearing first hand from the people who one day may be their employer.
So, how do you position yourself to succeed in this industry ridden with constant change, due mostly, to technological advancements? Is there some new approach that will catapult you to the top of the applicant pool? How do you stand out in the crowd, when you have just graduated college and still have much to learn?
The truth is, even though our world is changing and technology is increasingly becoming a major component of our lives, the basics of a successful career have remained the same. People who are successful in the media industry are hard working, honest people with good communication skills.
More specifically, the panel identified honesty as the applicant who does not lie on their resume; during the interview they don’t use fancy industry terms and claim to have experience with nearly every piece of gear.  In contrast, the honest applicant demonstrates their abilities, but is also humble, they are not afraid to admit they have much to learn. The honest applicant does not try to make what experience they do have sound like a motion picture movie that they had directed. The bottom line – every panel member at one point was a college graduate looking for a job. They know what it is like and they know the business, so don’t try to BS your way in the door, be honest, the truth shall set you free and hopefully land you the job!
While at work we all know it is important to be on time, dress appropriately, ask questions and take the initiative to move forward on a project or idea without being asked to do so. The panel had many things to say about being a hard worker, but of the most important was the concept of being resourceful. This word can take on many meanings, but in this context it basically means don’t ever use the words “I can’t,” “we can’t,” or “it can’t be done.” Being resourceful in this business means that you must learn how to use what you have available and get the job done. No matter what the situation, the client is counting on the company you are working for (or you directly) to finish that project on time, within budget and exceed their expectations. Therefore, the mindset of “I can’t” does not cut it. “I will” find a way, must be the approach you take.
What are good communication skills? It’s a term we hear all the time. I’m sure many of you have seen “must have exceptional oral and written communication skills” within a job description you found on the Internet. Communication takes on many forms today: email, texting, phone conversations, instant messaging, Facebook, Twitter, etc. According to the panel, good communication starts with your resume and cover letter. First and foremost, your resume and cover letter should contain zero spelling and grammar errors. Proofread, proofread, proofread! In addition, it is very important that your cover letter set you apart from the crowd.  All three panel members agreed that the best way to do this is to make sure you convey the passion for your career. In regards to internships, the panel had this to say…Prove that you want the job, be persistent, and call them back up to three times if needed. Business owners are busy running their companies; show them you are serious about your career.
Closing remarks from our panel…If you are selected for an interview, arrive early, sit up straight and look everyone in the eye, nonverbal communication matters. Be confident, if you made it to the interview, you have the qualifications for the job!