The Top Challenges of Growing a Career in Media

What to Expect from Careers in Media

A picture of a man studying various media
Careers in media can be successful for you, if you plan how you'll overcome the many challenges the industry presents. Photo © Colin Anderson / Getty Images

Careers in media require you to adapt to fierce competition for jobs, occasional job losses and the constant need to stay on top of changing technology. Plan for the top challenges of growing a career in media so you can be one of the lucky ones who find success.

Facing the Constant Competition for Jobs

You may dream of being the top TV news anchor in your city. What you'll find is that a station may get hundreds of applications for entry-level TV news reporter jobs, which means the competition to sit behind the anchor desk is even more intense.

That either means the station sifts through hundreds of anchor applications, or turns to a TV agent or TV news consultant to find the right person. You might be out of the running before you even get started.

The solution is to investigate and target the specific needs of the TV news director, who's the person in charge of the news department and will have a huge amount of input into who gets hired. Find out his background and what he wants from his news team. Watch his station's newscasts to find out what makes them different from the competition, or make contact with someone at the station to give you insight into what kind of person he's looking to hire. Sure, that takes some digging, but that's what it will take to put yourself above the other job candidates.

Then you can make sure your resume meets the basic qualifications. In this type of work, your printed resume must be accompanied by professional video clips.

Avoid haphazardly putting clips together just to get it done. Find someone you trust to critique every aspect of your resume, even if that means taking some criticism.

Preparing to Lose Your Job

Media companies don't make promises to keep you on the payroll for life. These days, you can expect to be fired, laid off or have your position eliminated as economic and changing business needs dictate.

Don't worry, it's not a career-killer. When you're offered a media contract to sign, look beyond the salary to see what type of security you'll get if you're terminated. You need to know up front about severance pay and other benefits.

Review the top reasons for getting fired from a media job. Try to keep your reputation squeaky clean, so that when you're out of work no one can point to bad behavior as the reason.

You can survive media layoffs by using your sudden free time to your benefit. You now have the time to fine-tune your resume, check out life in other cities and work your network of contacts.

There's no need to be embarrassed when you lose a media job. Chances are, the person considering whether to hire you has been out of work himself and remembers the hunger he felt in needing to get back on his feet.

Learning New Skills as Technology Changes

You may have received your college degree yesterday or decades ago. That doesn't mean your education stops, especially with all the new technology involved in careers in media.

Newspaper reporters who used to carry only pens and notebooks to cover stories are now shooting video. That requires a crash course in producing professional video.

Most people who work in print or broadcast media have to be able to post content to the Internet. Managers expect employees to know the basics to a successful media website in developing and publishing content that will boost website traffic.

Social media skills are also a must. You can learn the social media trends to live by from the Hollywood celebrities who have millions of fans, then apply that knowledge to your needs. Remember that building successful careers in media involves more than using social media to post party pictures or announce your love for cheese. Follow social networking rules for media pros so you build your career as you build followers.

Today's media industry is more challenging and competitive than ever. But thousands of people are entering careers in media, destined for success. By preparing yourself for these challenges, you can be one of them.

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