The Number One
I find myself feeling extra grateful that people come to me for advice. I’m no expert and I’m far from perfect, but I have a lot to give, so thank you for trusting me with your questions and for supporting my work!
In the spirit of graduation season, it felt right for this to be my very first post of a series where I answer questions my followers have sent in.
Allison asks, “What advice do you have for someone feeling discouraged by the difficulty of finding a job after graduation?”
Ahh, that feeling of trading in your books and homework for your dream job. You did it! You’ve put in four hard, long years of studying, cramming, interning, planning, and if you’re like me probably crying because what even is life after college? You’ve totally earned your stripes. You are absolutely ready to crush it in the real world.
But then, reality check.
You apply for job, after job, after job, to get no responses, very few to no interview opportunities, or you get a “call us in a few years when you have some more experience under your belt.”
Soul crushing, I know.
I’ve known what I was put on this earth to do since I was 17 years old. I got an opportunity to cover high school football in my hometown in Florida. They stuck me on the sideline to take notes and I was instantly hooked to the adrenaline rush I felt. I was IN the action. So, I went to Florida State University, double majored in Media Communication and Sports Management and got as much experience as I could.
I voiced sports updates for our college radio station, I covered local high school football, I interned at a local news station and radio station, I was a part of the ESPNU Campus Connection program, and I took every on-camera, writing, editing class they offered at school. I felt like I did everything I could to land my dream job after graduation.
But then, reality check.
I made a reel based on the little on-camera experience I had, made DVDs (even printed sticker labels for them #nerd) and mailed them out to several TV stations all over the country, in hopes someone would call. But, they didn’t.
It wasn’t until the end of the summer (I graduated in May) that I randomly applied for a part-time on-air position for IMG College. I was hired as their first female Studio Host, producing and giving live updates during football, basketball, and hockey games for Boston College. #ACCPride
Because I needed more than part time work, I eventually got a full-time job with a very small, family owned radio station near my hometown, as the Assistant Editor of their website. Within one year of working there, I was promoted to Managing Editor, I had my own radio show on Monday nights and after nailing an audition I was extremely nervous for, I worked as the In-Stadium Host on game days for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.
From there, I was hired as the Jacksonville Jaguars Reporter and Co-Host of the afternoon drive show for the radio affiliate of the Jaguars.
I was also a Co-Host of their all-female radio show (which I miss dearly). I interviewed players on a daily basis, wrote segments, recorded commercials, shot, edited and produced on-camera features for the website, and held a role as the lone female on a daily radio show with three men (SO FUN being a little sister to guys who quickly became family to me).
While in Jacksonville, I was also the sideline reporter their NASL soccer team, and hosted online TV segments for an entertainment publication.
Then, I got a message on LinkedIn that, long story short
(long version here), moved me to New York City where I’m currently sitting at my desk, in a building attached to Madison Square Garden.
I tell you this story because I didn’t get to sit in this seat just because I graduated college. I had to put my time in, and I still do.
It’s so easy to get discouraged when you know you have what it takes, you just need someone to give you a chance. So, here’s my advice to you, Allison-- start small.
All of my experience as a fresh-faced 22 to 25-year-old came from part-time gigs and very small companies. It was those experiences that enabled me to do everything from writing, editing my own work, calling strangers for interviews, giving presentations, going live for the first time, asking for critiques, putting myself out there, and failing A LOT. That’s where you want to make your mistakes and grow—in a small space where people are eager to be a part of your story.
This is a quote that has stuck with me from my beginning (not even sure where I got it from): “Never underestimate the power of ANY opportunity.”
Oh, how true that is. Every single opportunity I may have once viewed as small or potentially insignificant, has led me here.
And truthfully, there are many ways you can create your own opportunities until you find the job you want. Start a blog (oh, heyyy), tweet about hot topics in sports, engage and interact with like-minded people (hi), start a podcast, intern, and attend networking events. You never know who is watching you... (not creepy)
Keep dreaming big, Allison. But remember, it’s okay to start small.