We addressed the broadcast news business specifically in Part 1 sharing PEW Research from 2017 looking at some alarming trends. Clearly recent events reflect an industry contracting. Think about the acquisitions of stations/brands or agencies Napoli and 3Kings cashing out and selling to a private equity firm. In the Apollo/Cox case, the ability to consolidate creates an opportunity to survive in a down market. In the case of the agency sales to a private equity group, they will be 'optimized' or 'rationalized' and repackaged for sale in 3-5 years or as soon as valuation hits the right multiple.
Congrats, you are now a drag on that multiple, meaning they will ultimately right size the number of agents and actually fire unprofitable clients. Enough on the TV space. Think about what's happening in the retail world or higher education before we move on to addressing resumes, reel, LinkedIn, and elevator pitches.
From Robin Lewis in Forbes: "Since 1995, the number of shopping centers in the U.S. has grown by more than 23% and GLA (total gross leasable area) by almost 30%, while the population has grown by less than 14%. Currently there is close to 25 square feet of retail space per capita (roughly 50 square feet, if small shopping centers and independent retailers are added). In contrast, Europe has about 2.5 square feet per capita." Square footage has ballooned over the past 30 years and the costs associated with operating them. What happened to online business over the same time? From www.seekingalpha.com:
As mentioned in an earlier post, other industries in contraction include higher education:
Bad deal if you are an university employee in facilities, maintenance, administration or any other support position. Even worse news if you are an educator.
Professors and associates that are highly dependent upon enrollment and class size will be seeing contraction of 30% or more depending upon major. The good news here is that there will be less J-school grads headed for an industry in contraction. Public universities around the country are feeling similar pressure.
So, what to do next? You actually need to slow down and start to prep for a transition. You need to begin to package yourself and improve your marketability. You may need to move to a stronger organization in the same industry or you might need to jump from Education to a corporate position in a Training Dept. Maybe from a Reporter to a Communications Manager. Let's get into best practices around Resumes, Reels, LinkedIn profiles and Elevator Pitches.
Although the availability of online profiles have slighting minimized the importance of a resume, it's still a critical document to the career transition process. Your resume represents you in your absence. Immediately before or long after a live interview, your resume is floating around an organization and people are either opting you in or out without even meeting you. A computer and software, not people, might even be the first screen. If you are lucky enough to get human eyes on your resume it's probably a recruiter or someone in talent acquisition. That screen gets ..... wait for it ..... 17 seconds. On average, the first pass gets only 17 seconds of human eyes. You might only get 17 seconds and you better make an impression.
It's important to move up any information that might tell the story of why your competencies and skills are transferable to the position you are applying to. It's not your education or job experience that is going to lead. It's your career summary, competencies, and accomplishments.
The most frequent question I get on resumes is the length. How long should it be? Can it be more than one page? The answer is, it depends. In the example above the first page is completely focused on relevance and doesn't even get into education or job experience. If you've been in the workforce more than a year or two, you should have enough relevant experience to push into a 2 or 3 page resume. Some other quick rules of thumb:
Take address off. Not needed and you can't control where the document goes. Additionally, many of us post our resumes on our websites. If you are a young reporter or news anchor, do you really want your address posted online? Employers know how to find you, trust me.
Use clear easily (machine) read font and format. Calibri or Arial, 11 or 12 point fonts in black on a white background works exceptionally well despite how bland or boring it looks. Listen, color or size of print isn't what is going to get you hired. It's your interview (Part 4 in this series).
First, when it comes to LinkedIn you can't think of it as a dump of your most recent resume. It's wired completely differently than a blank sheet of 8.5 x 11 piece of paper. It's highly interactive with media and links that tell your story. In fact, you should probably consider it "My Career: The Movie". The most important thing about LinkedIn, other than being your new virtual Rolodex and professional network, is that it is going to be the most searchable platform you can use to promote your brand.
There are three pieces of advice I always give my clients related to around LinkedIn. First, the title bar below your name is the second most searchable field after your name. You can't waste those very valuable characters on your current role and company name. The exception would be if your title and company name are critical to your next role. Even then, it's best to incorporate other searchable fields.
Next, images are very important. The photo's really turn into the 'hook'. Love the Murphy Lee song "Wat Da Hook Gon Be" and in this case, it's your profile photo. Smiling, inviting, approachable, and solo. No couples, no action shots, no animation, etc. Think company headshot, yearbook, annual report, not Facebook, Instagram, or Snap.
Finally, writing a great summary that tells a story and catches attention is key. This is a place for a compelling elevator pitch followed by relevant media clips and links. These first three elements; photo, title bar, and summary can be deal breakers. Once you get them right, look at your experience and recommendations and polish it all. Company logos/icons correctly placed, responsibilities and roles briefly highlighted. Recommendations should support where you are going, not where you've been.
IMPORTANT Concept: This is as much a looking forward document as a historical representation of your career.
I'm not going deep into reels in this article because quite frankly, it's not my area of expertise and if you follow me, I believe we leverage our strengths not development weaknesses. I outsource most of my media client reel work. That said, I have reviewed hundreds of reels from TV, film, music video's, and DJ talent over the years.
IMAGE IMAGE IMAGES ..... strong images and your best work are critical. Forget about cramming everything you've done into a reel. Listen, I had a client win an anchor job in a top 25 market with a 2 minute reel.
Here's what I'll tell you about best practices as I see them:
Make sure you understand your brand, what differentiates you from everyone else in the industry. What is your value proposition to the viewer? YOUR story is THE story.
Start big and end big. First and last impressions are key. In the news biz, this means great stand ups and an attractive slate.
Make it 4-5 minutes in total length. Stand ups sandwiched around a short package/story works best. A long package and you lose the viewer. They'll click away in 20-30 seconds.
Incorporate streaming video clip if possible. A short Facebook Live clip could be very helpful. Listen, that's the way the business is headed so you need to embrace it and be recognized as progressive.
Directors want to hire people that can interact with others. Your reel should have some strong interaction with interviewee or anchors. I was recently sent a reel and it was VERY obvious that the reporter and anchor didn't like each other. Not a strong impression. In fact, I immediately thought "Deee-Va".
Enough on reels. Need help with a reel, I know plenty that can inexpensively lend you a hand.
This is one of the very first things I focus on with my clients and your most important networking tool. The best thing you can do is check out this article on topic "Your Elevator Pitch in 3 Simple Steps". The three steps are simply:
1. Who You Are: This is a very brief overview; "I'm a University of Missouri-Columbia grad and I've been working as multimedia journalist at WXYZ TV since 2014"
2. What You've Done/Your Skills: "My ability to develop a story from concept to camera has been recognized as Emmy Award winning and along the way I've built a social media audience of 30k followers."
3. Where You Are Going/What's Next: "Having reached my goals of being the lead reporter in ___ (market), I'm ready to expand the scale and scope of my stories to a larger audience, specifically a top 10 market."
You need to use this pitch every time you get the question "So Susie, what are you up to these days?" or when you get an opportunity to introduce yourself while networking. Sometimes this can also be called a "reason for leaving statement" or "my reason for change" if you have recently left a job or company.
In summary, resume, reel, LinkedIn and elevator pitches are the foundation for a career in impending transition. The brief notes above are the tip of the career management iceberg. The next part of this series will focus on creating and articulating transferable skills to make you timeless.
In the meantime ........ Be Bold. Be Great. Be Timeless.
About Mike McNamara:
Mike has held C-Suite, Executive and Senior Sales, Marketing, Business Development, and General Management roles with Equifax, Cox Enterprises, WW Grainger, and Federal-Mogul Corporation. Mike has led sales, service and operations organizations of over 1,500 associates and accountable for P&L responsibility in excess of $250M.
Dedicated to giving back, Mike formed The MBAR Group in 2009 with the sole intent of providing pro bono career and business consulting services to the underprivileged and underserved. Today as founder and CEO of TalentBlvd, he coaches a number of high profile business and media personalities as well as holding advisory board positions guiding a number of multimedia and small business startups.
Mike earned his MBA from the Kellogg School of Management, Northwestern University and holds a Bachelor of Science degree from Michigan State University. He is a past chapter President of the American Marketing Association. Mike and family split time between their adopted state of Missouri and family home in NW Michigan where their philanthropic causes include The Kingdom House – St Louis, BACN in Benzonia, MI., and Samaritan’s Purse, Boone NC.