Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Control freaks

Ever buy a lottery ticket? If you have, you realize that you have absolutely no control over winning or not. If the universe chooses to smile on you, you win. If not, you're out a buck.

But you have controlled the only part of the equation that you can control: buying the ticket. You've done all you can.

In some ways, job hunting is a lot like buying a lottery ticket. But the problem with many of you is that you think you can control more of the process, when, in reality, much of it is out of your hands.

Many people reach a point in a job search at which they ask themselves, "There must be something else I can do. I'm not doing enough or I would have found a job." But in most cases, you're already doing as much as is humanly possible.

Things you can control in a job search:

-The quality of your tape. Granted, most of us will overthink this to death, but you are responsible for the work that goes on your tape. If you've done solid work, it will come through.

-Sending your tape. You're really playing the lottery if you knock out a great resume tape and then fail to put it in the mail. You control where your tape goes. If you have an agent, you work with the agent to determine what desks on which your tape will land.

-Cover letter. All on you. You control whether or not your letter is a standard I'll-be-a-team-player-and-work-hard piece of bull, or if you've put on your creative hat and dazzled the News Director with your writing ability.

-Hunting for jobs. It's not enough to simply read the job postings. You have to work the phones, send tapes to stations even if there aren't any openings.

-Following up on positive responses. If a ND sends you a nice note and says, "Keep in touch," it's up to you to send him a new tape every two months.

Things you can't control:

-What a News Director is looking for. He needs a woman and you're a guy. He needs someone who is a great ad libber and you're not. He needs a feature guy and you're an investigative type without an outgoing personality. He needs young and you're old. He needs older and you're young. He needs a certain demographic and you don't fit. He can't afford you. He needs someone who is local and you're not. The list is endless.

-What the GM or corporate wants. See above. Many times a ND is overruled.

-Timing. A ND needs a reporter right now and your contract isn't up for three months.

Get the picture? Remember, while you are responsible for your own career, certain things are, and always will be, out of your control. All you can do is continue to knock out good work every day and hope the stars align. And also keep in mind that the best person often does not get the job. The person who gets the job is often the best fit. And that's something you can't control.


No comments: