WHAT A FUN MORNING. So Darren Rovell is tweeting some insanely troublesome career advice and it's incredibly frustrating. ALTHOUGH I KNOW HE'S JUST TRYING TO HELP AND GIVING HIS OWN EXPERIENCE, I still disagree with what he's putting out. Basically he's telling people to work for free and doing so will make you stand out in the future. THAT WILL NEVER HAPPEN. The world is cruel and most people will take advantage of all the hard-work you're putting in and cast you aside. I KNOW I WAS THERE AND EXPERIENCED IT. Here are the tweets and I'll let you know how I, a college drop-out, became a Director of Audience Development plus some BETTER CAREER ADVICE. IT'S A FUN STORY
WHERE DO I START. How bout I just do cliff-notes of my job experience in Major League Baseball and my current gig at Jukin Media
- I got outta high-school and was like "I WANNA BE A RADIOLOGIST!", I studied pre-med and was like "MAYBE THIS ISN'T FOR ME". Then I moved around from Business Management to some other dumb idea and finally landing on writing and comedy. I was doing stand-up and said "HEY THIS IS WORKING OUT I GUESS I'LL QUIT SCHOOL". I stopped going to college. Very dumb decision.
- Around that same time, Major League Baseball held a contest for an insane marketing venture called the MLB Fan Cave. It was ahead of it's time and honestly, wish they still had it today. They opened up this ridiculous online campaign to get a spot and I worked my ass off to be creative and show MLB that I should be in there. I MADE IT IN. A COLLEGE DROP-OUT MADE IT IN. GREAT
- Once I was in, I knew I had to take advantage of the opportunity. I didn't have a background in sports aside from watching it. I knew I wanted to be involved in PR and Marketing so I did what you should always do is TALK TO THOSE CURRENTLY IN THE FIELD. I asked them how they got to where they currently were and learned more about their day to day. I asked questions you normally wouldn't ask someone. I didn't ask about school cause I was past that point. I wanted to know exactly what it takes to run social media and PR. I wanted to knew their day to day.
- I'm incredibly thankful that a few people at MLB took me under their wing and introduced me to a bunch of various people in the industry. NETWORKING was incredibly huge. A year later, they offered me a PAID INTERNSHIP in PR. I did it all without DOING THINGS FOR FREE.
- Once my time at MLB was done, I had another opportunity to present digital strategy to the Angels. It was a dream come true. That all happened thanks to one of the greatest people in the business, Tim Mead, and I was incredibly fortunate that a college-drop out was given a chance to present digital to a very traditional team. Unfortunately it didn't work out but that is life.
- NOW THIS IS HOW I GOT MY CURRENT JOB. Thanks to social media, a friend of mine I only knew through twitter reached out to me when I tweeted I was looking for a gig. He told me that there was a position opened with a company called Jukin Media. He was able to get me a phone interview and that eventually landed me an in-person interview. THIS IS HOW YOU GET THE JOB!
In person interviews are the worst. It's nerve wracking. It's tough to not sound like the cliche applicant. And again, it's the worst. I knew that. I'm sure they knew that and I wanted to make sure this wasn't going to be another boring in-person interview. I did a ton of research to see if anyone pulled off the same stunt before and I couldn't find anything. I'd like to say I'm one of the first to do it, but I don't have those facts. I decided to stand out in that interview by letting Twitter inform my potential employer why they should hire me.
While I sat in that interview, I answered all those cliche questions with enthusiasm and joked around a bit when needed. I actually made them a viral video flow chat showing them why they should hire me. Again, being creative stands out. I noticed their phones were buzzing (probably cause of tweets) so I told them that I had a bunch of people tweet to them why they should hire me and I would read those live (good or bad) during the interview. These are just a few of the responses I got:
73 tweets came in and we were just laughing at every response we got. It was insane. I left pretty happy about it and if I wasn't gonna get hired well, on to the next. 3 hours later I got a phone call that the job was mine.
Flash forward 2.5+ years later, I'm now a Director of Audience Development. A chubby little Mexican with immigrant parents who dropped out of college was able to work at Major League Baseball for two years, almost land a gig at the Angels and is A DIRECTOR AT ONE OF THE LEADING UGC COMPANIES IN THE WORLD. On top of that, I made this happen without giving away work for free.
SO HERE ARE SOME CAREER ADVICE IN A WEIRD INTERNET WORLD FROM SOMEONE WHO LITERALLY GOT EVERYTHING THANKS TO THE INTERNET AND STRANGERS:
1. NETWORK NETWORK NETWORK - I don't mean like "OH I SHOULD JUST ASK EVERY SPORTS AGENT HOW THEY GOT THEIR JOB" NO. Make friendships. Be nice on Twitter. THEN ASK about the job. People LOVE talking about their job. If a friend or an acquaintance (that I'm used to talking to) wanted some info on a gig, I will go 100% out of my way for them as opposed to someone I don't know or someone that just sends me a box with a resume in it.
2. BE CREATIVE - Think outside the box. Everyone sends resumes. How you get yours to stand out is tough to do. Darren mentioned the box thing but that's like the bare bones and honestly, offices have a ton of boxes and it's just more trash for us. Instead, put your resume on a bed of fortune cookies and when we eat the cookie THE FORTUNE HAS YOUR NAME AND NUMBER OMG. (I think a friend of mine did that already but she got an interview immediately). Also, call us. If you think your resume doesn't speak for who you are, give us a call and be like "Hey I think I'm a really good fit and would love to see if you can talk to me for 5 minutes). Not gonna say it will work every time but that once little ounce of effort does wonders. When you're in an interview, do something that makes you stand out. Ask them questions. Play a game. READ TWEETS IDK. Just do something that makes you stand out and personable.
3. DON'T DO STUFF FOR FREE - The internship thing is so weird. I know a lot of companies don't pay interns (lucky to be at a company that actually pays em) and that's TECHNICALLY working for free, but I don't think that's what Darren was mentioning. Don't just send stat reports to teams. Don't just start tweeting random marketing strategies to people cause 100%, someone is gonna read your tweet or pitch then go to their boss and be like "HEY I CAME UP WITH THIS". IF you REALLY want to send stuff to people, MAKE SURE THEY CREDIT YOU. The world is RUTHLESS. Instead, start a blog or site. Be active on Linked-In. I hate that I'm about to say this but you gotta build your brand instead of building others for free. God. I hate myself.
4. NETWORK NETWORK NETWORK - I literally can't stress this enough. Talk to people. I know I already wrote about it but being active on social is HUGE. The sad truth now is that interviews are half who you know and half experience. JUST BE A NICE PERSON AND NOT OVERBEARING. Landing a job in sports and digital is extremely hard cause everyone wants to get in, but if you can meet people currently in the field and develop relationships, that's gonna go a long ways
ALRIGHT, that's it. Network. Get Creative. Be a nice human and talk to those in the industry. I gotta go to work. I AM LATE