Top Media Job Search Tips to Get the Job You Want

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A media job search involves more than just introducing yourself through a memorable cover letter and creating the perfect media resume. You have to get your materials in front of the correct people in order to get hired. These top media job search tips can be combined to give you the best shot at getting the job you want.

Targeted Applications

Some media pros have, on at least one occasion, blanketed the country with resumes. If you're looking for your first media job, or if you're sitting at home after becoming the victim of a media layoff, you likely have the time to create these mass mailings.

It's true that if you apply to 200 companies, you technically have a better chance of getting a job than if you apply to only 20. There's a major flaw to this strategy, though.

If you're applying to 200 companies, you're not going to be able to effectively personalize your cover letter and resume to each of those employers. It's better to concentrate on the 20 companies, research their needs, and write targeted letters specifically to each one. If you don't get a phone call from those 20, then move on to the next 20.

Contacts in a Company

Use contacts within a company to get information about job openings. While the advertisement for a job opening might say "no phone calls," that normally applies to the manager doing the hiring.

The best scenario is to contact someone you know in a company. If you don't have a friend at a place where you'd like to work, try to get through to someone who can be of help. For example, for a TV news reporter opening, call the newsroom. Find out about the person leaving the station, the reason why they're going, and what kind of experience they had. Also, ask about the news director who's doing the hiring. Learn what skills they want in a news reporter and when they're planning to fill the job.

This knowledge will help you write a cover letter specifically for the opening at this station. If the hiring manager or HR employee asks you in an interview how you were able to create such a closely targeted cover letter, tell them about the phone call you made. They should be impressed with your willingness to do the necessary legwork that got your foot in the door.

Headhunter

A headhunter can help in your media job search. There are two types of headhunters who are common in the industry.

The first kind is paid by the media company to find qualified candidates for job openings. You can send your materials to this kind of headhunter in the hopes they will pass them along to clients. The downside is that you'll likely never know if or when your resume is being sent out.

A second type of headhunter charges you for their services. Because you're the client, you'll get much more feedback about your work and how you're being marketed for job openings.

With most headhunters, their focus is, understandably, getting paid by someone for their services. That means it's likely that your resume is always going out with dozens of others. However, the second type of headhunter might know about unadvertised openings and could increase your job prospects in a very meaningful way.

Agent

Using a talent agent may make you feel like a Hollywood hotshot. However, there are many cons as well as pros to hiring an agent to help in your media job search.

A talent agent works for you, but be prepared to pay. You may have to pay upfront fees, but it's more common to pay part of your salary if an agent finds you a job. If they also negotiate your media contract, you'll probably pay even more, possibly 10 percent of your salary.

You should do a great deal of research before committing to an agent who you believe is the right one for you. After all, you'll be forking over money, so you shouldn't sign with just anybody.

Some agents have dozens of clients. The best agents will find out about an opening and concentrate on marketing the client who's best for the job. Others will market several clients, not caring which one gets hired as long as they get paid for their representation.

Social Media

Using social media sites wisely can help you get hired. Your top priority should be to maximize the impact of your LinkedIn profile. Make it as comprehensive as possible and ask current and former colleagues and bosses for recommendations and endorsements of your skills (and, of course, return the favor). Join media industry-related groups and contribute content; you never know where connections you make through these LinkedIn groups will lead you.

Also join specialized social media sites such as Behance for visual artists and Medium for writers. Use them to get more eyeballs on your work—and get paid for it.

Finally, you should have your own website that shows off your media bona fides. Provide examples of your work that demonstrate your skills and range of experience. And use your professional social media accounts—including Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, and Glassdoor—to drive traffic to that website.