That career advice thread...
It's been a rollercoaster few weeks! From presenting and producing in Salford for BBC Sport to getting out and about for 5 Live and Sky Sports. In amongst it all, I found a few moments to do what, I guess was the precursor to this blog and made a thread with some advice, written spontaeously whilst sat on the sofa and it blew up!!
It was inspired by a load of positive interractions - particularly at Rochdale, where I returned after two years away but this time with 5 Live Sport and not BBC Radio Manchester. My reception was lovely and the staff that I'd known from what felt like a lifetime ago, where just as warm and welcoming as always, despite the club on the vergue of League Two relegation.
The other inspiration were some, perhaps less positive interractions. Nothing too bad - maybe the way a couple of people carried themselves that just caused me to reflect on how they had come across and re-affirm my own outlook of being positive and respectful as a journalist.
Brilliantly, somebody got the Thread Reader App to put it all together for me, so here it is below!
Three and a half years into this #journalism broadcasting malarkey, I thought I’d share some tips. ?
1/ Don’t be a d*ck.
This one’s obvious right? Well, you’d be surprised. Being decent and courteous with everyone you meet can only be a good thing. And people remember.
2/ You aren’t the story.
99.9% of the time the reporter is not the story. In fact, most people don’t know who you are, no matter how good you may be. So spending your energy trying to steal the show, as opposed to using it to be better is, in my opinion, futile.
3/ Be better.
Watch & listen to your stuff back. Think about how you could have improved it. Ask for proper and specific feedback. Share your work and receive criticism with an open mind. Understand the ‘why’ in the feedback and act on it.
On the way to the Leeds United presser, listened to four podcasts on my drive. I’d already watched all the goals, made notes and spent an age on what I’d ask the manager and why. And here’s my match notes for updates for @5liveSport - written as if I was commentating. twitter.com/i/web/status/1…
5/ Prepare more.
Yes you don’t have to do all that, it’s unsustainable in some respects BUT the habit means that when asked at short notice to report, your brain is wired to quickly work on the most essential prep you need. At Rochdale last Tues for example. twitter.com/i/web/status/1…
6/ Put in the time to hone your craft.
I still have a long way to go on this front. And I’m grateful for what I’ve had so far. But I’ve also shadowed for free, written for free, worked at a loss and worked in sport after a full day of my previous day job. Take all opportunities.
7 / Loyalty.
It’s cut-throat and fast-moving I know that. But respecting who you work for is important. Especially as they are investing in you and giving you the chance to develop. Be honest if opportunities come along. Think about whether you are ready or need more time.
8/ Get out of your head.
The double edge sword of being a reflective learner is that it’s easy to get full of self-doubt. Parking that is a skill in itself. I’m still working on this.
9/ Ignore the haters.
As a journalist, you may have to make peace with being disliked. As a broadcaster, it’s almost inherent that you want to be liked. It’s hard to juggle those two! And it’s a competitive industry. Try to ignore rumour and rudeness. Not a vibe.
10 / Say Hello.
You are not too busy or too important to not be decent enough to say hello to people. Whether it’s in the office or in the press box. Some of my opportunities have come along just by merely making that initial connection of saying hello!
10 Say hello pt2.
Use LinkedIn, share your work, make connections on Twitter. And if you see one of your Internet connections in real life, say hello, and introduce yourself! Even if it’s just to put a body to your floating head. And you never know where it may lead.
11/ Don’t pull the ladder up.
I’m not a spiritual or religious person really. But let’s say it’s good karma to help others if you can. And you never know when one day, you might need a good word putting in. This is a random photo.
12/ Graft - and don’t be a flake.
It’s hard if you’re working for free, experience or extra but it will pay off. Don’t flake. Be reliable. Don’t let people down. Being consistently there will help you get better & automate skills. Easy to say no - you’ll be better with yes.
13 / Get qualified.
I went and retrained and have an MA @UoSJournalism & @NCTJ_news gold credits in all bar shorthand (still working on it). These qualifications really help both in skills and pushing you up beyond entry level. Respect the work involved and get LOADS of work exp.
14 / Say Yes!
Going back to 12/ going the extra mile and saying yes to those extra requests can really pay off. Especially with experience for you to help you develop. About 70% of the stuff in my SJA showreel was extra bits! Crazy really!
15/ And finally… enjoy it and appreciate it.
I won’t stop taking snaps or selfies of where I am. What a job and what a privilege to be doing it. It could all end tomorrow! Who knows?! Appreciate the moment - because especially in sport, my inner 10-year-old would be amazed!
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