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Getting a Job in TV after a Career Break

Recently I was asked to give a talk at a session run by the Royal Television Society on Update TV. The day-long event was focused on people who already had experience in the media but may have taken time out for some reason and needed ideas on what skills they may need to update in order to get back in.

One thing is for sure, as we have been discussing in the past few articles, things are moving fast in the media world thanks to the Internet and the freedom of ideas it has brought with it. Both the experienced and the inexperienced in television production need to make sure they are ahead of the game in terms of how people are consuming their media.

We have focused a lot on media graduates and school leavers on this blog but it was never intended to be purely for the newcomers. Having said my piece at that session it occurred to me there must be very many other people out there with good CVs in television production who need help to get back into the media market after a career break.

Sorry media graduates, it seems you have competition from the more experienced who are also out of work!

Here’s what I recommended to those attending that RTS event. It may cover some of the ground from my last article but keep reading because I have added some useful links for you to follow.

As we said before you can’t afford to do nothing while looking for work and waiting for replies. You need to be proactive and creative – and anyway, it’s fun trying new things, learning new skills and meeting new people online. So here are my tips for:

 

Helping Yourself by Doing it Yourself

Learn new skills – employers want people who can work across different media platforms:

• Complement your traditional skills with digital ones (ie If you can already write, learn how to write some basic code and include hypertext links in your work).

• Set up a website (do it yourself, no need to pay; and learn along the way! I started with wordpress.com who make it really easy for you).

• Get into Social Networking if you are not already (and be active; opening an account is not enough – you have to use it and learn how others use it). You can follow me @shurichmond, check out who I’m following and see if any would be useful to you – and you can send me any questions you have.

• Learn how to market yourself on-line (you can’t afford not to use every available method to sell yourself – LinkedIn, Twitter, Facebook groups – try them all).

 

Develop your own creativity & express it online – it shows initiative as well as creativity:

• Write a Blog on an area of your expertise (you need to find your niche. Check out this site for step-by-step instructions on how to set up and moneterise your blog: Blogging Case Study ).

• Publish your own book (here’s one blogger giving advice on formatting your book for Kindle: A Writer’s Blog ).

• Broadcast your own TV (The royal family have one – why shouldn’t you? The Royal Channel )

• Start finding local stories and writing features for local press or online magazines. There are plenty of small online news and magazine-style websites who need content.

 

Learn about the audience & how they consumer media today – your insights could be useful to your next employers or when you develop your next proposal:

• Talk to others, especially the youngsters if you’re over a certain age, about their media habits

• Join a forum (Mumsnet isn’t the only forum in town!) and see what people are talking about. Hang out at the TV forum The Watercooler and ask for advice.

• Read some good blogs and get an idea of what works (the list is endless but here’s a feature to get you started: 50 Most Powerful Blogs

• Wander around the web and listen in!

 

Have confidence & count your assets – what you learn outside of a formal job can be valuable:

• Volunteer your services to someone who needs them. Using your skills will be a confidence boost and make you realise they are not as rusty as you think they are. If you have a few years media experience under your belt then the Media Trust need you: Media Trust and its an excellent way to polish up any rusty skills while being useful to someone who needs you.

• Get some fulfilment out of new creative ventures even if you don’t make money from them. Setting up this blog has given me a steep learning curve and I love every minute it – even when banging my head against the brick wall of unforgiving plug-ins, widgets and analytics! Don’t see today’s tips as a chore – you can have great fun on-line!

• Remember that whatever you have been doing whilst out of formal employment will be useful to someone. One series producer got a job after taking a break to have children on the basis that she would understand the mentality of the stay-at-home mother – which was the topic of the programme.

Summary:

—If the Internet is changing the way we consume media then learn enough to become part of the change.
—Don’t wait until you get a job to start working – make the most of unemployment by learning new skills.
—Use and display your skills on-line to help market yourself to employers.

 

There’s a lot more where this came from and if you’d like updates sent direct to your inbox, along with free newsletters (once I get around to them!), simply subscribe to the site – just leave your email in the box on the right.

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