by Tracy Johnson
Admit it: You’ve been frustrated that the same folks keep getting the great gigs over and over. And many aren’t more qualified or more talented than you. In fact, they’re often simply overrated. How does that happen? The truth is, most jobs are awarded to someone the hiring manager or decision maker already knows. That’s why a key part of he Get That Gig strategy is to network to get work.
It’s really common sense, isn’t it? Even if a candidate makes a strong impression, it’s common to finish second because of a powerful force: familiarity. That’s why we recommend Constantly Marketing as part of the career-building strategy. You never know when a relationship will pay off.
Impressing management is usually not that difficult for most personalities and programmers. WIth years of experience working with clients and listeners, most excel in these situations.
But, it’s hard for management to judge how well an unknown personality will fit a new culture. How will they get along with the existing staff? How will this person react to coaching and direction? These are real concerns. It’s natural for managers to place candidates they know at the top of the list. Even if not the most important consideration, it’s a tiebreaker. A
nd with so much competition for great gigs, you need to win those ties.
That’s why networking is critical. It takes time, but it isn’t expensive. There are many ways to reach out and make connections. A good place to start is radio conventions like Morning Show Boot Camp, where personalities, programmers, talent coaches and consultants gather.
At conventions, the Exhibition Hall isn’t the best place to make connections. It’s too crowded, and after a while it’s all kind of a blur. The best way to make an impact? Participate in sessions.
Ask questions and don’t be shy to let people know you’re available.
Air Personality Krystina Ramey knows how to make an impression. She has networked toward a great future by being bold and taking the initiative to make things happen instead of waiting for gigs to come to her.
In the weeks following Morning Show Boot Camp, three program directors asked me about her for a potential opening. One of those managers wasn’t even at Boot Camp. He heard about her from others who were there.
She managed to make an impression by being prepared, asking questions and participating in the sessions.
Here’s how she did it.
Boot Camp is a great place to put your name on the map. It’s an investment in the future and it’s not that expensive if you follow these tips.
But being involved at conventions is just where it begins. That alone won’t get that gig. Now it’s time to network to get work.
Out of site is out of mind. And decision makers have short attention spans, just like listeners.
Armed with new connections, seal the new relationship by following up.
Be sure to exchange a business card that links to your personality website. It’s ideal if the card includes a photo as a reminder of the initial contact. And make sure to get their card as well to remind you to get in touch a few days later.
Each new connection is a lead. Once contact is made, follow up on the lead to stay top of mind with a personal email that shows how engaging you are. But don’t stop there. Also send a personal thank you card via good old fashioned snail mail. This will stand out as personal and thoughtful.
But don’t send a demo or resume yet.
Krystina makes it a point to make a personal connection:
Conventions are terrific, but what if it’s still weeks or months to the next conference? There are other ways to network to get work.
It’s not that hard to expand a personal network. Just use existing contacts from pros who already know and love you. Everyone has a program director, former boss or instructor that knows folks you don’t. Most will be flattered to help spread the word to decision makers.
Ask for a personal introduction via telephone, video conference or email. This establishes a new contact and expands your network. I met Krystina through KRBE/Houston’s Eric Rowe, one of America’s best producers (Roula and Ryan show). Eric introduced us and Krystina took it from there.
She talks about how she networks through her circle of influencers:
Each new contact expands your network. Stay in touch with contacts by reaching out regularly. Chances are, you’ll hit it off with one or more. This could turn into a mentoring relationship, and will become a resource when they hear of an opening.
Maybe you don’t have a personal contact that can open those doors. That’s okay. Start knocking. Some doors will open.
Media Talent Pool: Networking is why we started MediaTalentPool.com. It’s a free resource to be discovered and for managers to find talent. Everyone should have a listing there, if for no other reason to get on the radar of Tracy Johnson Media Group. When clients are looking for talent, this is our go-to resource.
Consultants & Talent Coaches: We’re always looking for exciting, fresh talent, and most consultants will respond to an inquiry. It’s easy to find an email address. Mine is [email protected] Make a contact. Start a relationship. Get recommended.
Professional Help: Want to get an advantage over the competition for a gig? Consider a private coaching session with one of the TJMG talent coaches. We can help build your demo package and point you in the right direction. We’ll even edit audio and video demos for you. Each coaching client receives special designation in the Media Talent Pool listings and is guaranteed to be top of mind for future recommendations. Get details and book a session at www.aircheckcoaching.com.
Look, radio is not exactly a growth industry. There are fewer jobs every year in this highly competitive business, with more highly qualified candidates out there than ever before.
According to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics there will be a five percent decline in the number of radio and TV announcers in the next ten years. It’s easy to get discouraged, but that’s exactly the emotion you must fight.
Nearly every client has remarked that “There’s nobody out there”. In reality, there is. They just haven’t met you yet.
Decision makers are looking for confident, positive and optimistic personalities. I’ve been on many interviews with clients that start with a great first impression. But the candidate is eliminated in the first conversation because they don’t inspire confidence. Or they just aren’t fun to talk to.
Why would any decision maker be interested in an air talent that brings them down on the phone or in a video conference?
It’s hard to recommend air talent that complains about the lack of opportunities, makes excuses or suggests that radio “isn’t as much fun as it used to be”. Maybe that’s what you believe deep down. Okay. Keep it to yourself and suppress those negative thoughts.
A humble confidence with a positive outlook is contagious. Figure out how to project that attitude, even if you have to fake it.
Need a pep talk? Krystina’s got that for you:
Maybe it’s not obvious, but there are great opportunities in radio. There many not be as many jobs, but it’s just as difficult (or maybe even more of a challenge) to find the right fit than ever.
Gigs are out there. What will you do to network to get work?
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