How do I get my dream job? The million-dollar question above has been asked for years and many people provide different answers depending on their experience. Like many, I’ve grappled with the idea of how to get from Point A to Point B in a timely fashion.
Many of us in the broadcasting industry try to network as often as possible, handle as many responsibilities and work for less than we believe we’re worth for a sniff of the industry. I’m no different than you. I grew up watching sports and would ‘do anything’ to broadcast sports for a living.
Countless nights were spent on the internet trying to figure out sports on a deeper level. How do contracts work? Why would a player accept less money? What are the true intricacies of a sport that help a team win a championship? Why is it important to preserve timeouts?
Once my eyes started to shut—3 hours later—I decided that was enough ‘research’ for one night and I’ll look up more stats and analysis on whatever topic I was viewing for the next night.
In college, I made it my main objective to get involved early and often to ensure I would get to be behind the mic for the biggest games for our student radio station. Although there were bumps along the way and people in my path, it didn’t deter my main goal; getting the job of my dreams and breaking into the sportscasting industry. By the end of my four years of undergraduate schooling, I felt I put together an impressive portfolio that would be hard to match by many of my peers. I called the games I wanted I wanted to call. I had the experiences I felt I needed to help me get to the dream job. Well, that’s where this story takes a turn.
When applying to jobs, so many of us look to the people next to us and say, “I’m the best option,” or, “I have more experience than (candidate x).” Although confidence is needed in any field, the truth is, you’re competing against every single person who is looking for a job, including people who are already employed in the field. Not only are you up against graduating seniors, you’re competing for jobs against minor-league broadcasters who were recently laid off, people who have worked in TV through news station and are looking for a new direction, interns who may already be out of college and are getting their first repetitions to name a few of your competitors.
Think of yourself in terms of an athlete (wouldn’t that be nice). There are plenty of high-profile athletes who come into the NFL, NBA, NHL, MLB and struggle out of the gate. For the first time in their career, they’re going up against the best of the best. Sam Darnold threw a pick-six on his very first pass attempt in the NFL as a member of the Jets. Imagine a worse start than that. But give Darnold credit, he hung in there and the Jets still won the game.
Comparing that to you as you apply to your next job, don’t be discouraged. You’ll deal with rejection. You’ll deal with people picking other candidates who aren’t as qualified as you. You’ll deal with bosses abusing their power and making you do more than you want to do. But the dream job is within you if you keep pushing yourself to be your best.
I know, you just read 650 words to have me say the secret is you, but it’s true. Here’s why. If you don’t fail and learn from those mistakes—like Darnold’s pick-six—you can’t improve. Never think of yourself as better than anyone else in the industry. Even if you’ve had more practice than someone else, ask for their advice. Ask how they’d call a specific scenario within a game. Always bounce ideas off others and continue improving.
Practice really does make perfect. It doesn’t happen overnight. You must stick with the process and believe when you get laid off or receive that rejection email, another door opens. When you’re feeling down on your luck, do you complain and think, “why me” or do you offer to help fill-in somewhere when that station or team needs help to get back on your feet and back in the industry? Complacency truly is the enemy in this field.
That’s how you get to the dream job or Point B.