You know where you want to be, you know what you can do, so why is no one giving you the chance? You feel you have the skills, the right attitude and you are so hungry for success that you are acting like an excited X Factor contestant on four expressos, over analysing your journey and equally getting frustrated at not being given a shot! So what do you do? How do you get what you want? How do you give yourself the best chance that you can?
Those old sayings of “patience is a virtue” and the re-tellingly of the tortoise and the hair story can get on your nerves but they do have merit. In the rush of wanting everything now you can blind yourself to the bigger picture. You forget to stop, take a breath, sit yourself down and ask “is this really what I want” and “do I want it now?” When you are so consumed with getting your goal, your dream job, then all your energies go on the end goal and you forget to take baby steps. You need to start thinking what two things or three or four things can I do this week to get me there. It can be as simple as emailing four people, or researching four companies. Set yourself these goals every week and you’ll start to have a more planned step to success. You still need to be driven and focused but you need to be mindful that things may not change over night. That’s why you need to live in the moment, think what can i do today (in my head I can hear Heather Small singing “what have you done today to make you feel proud”). When you are feeling impatient and to quote the song from the original Charlie and the chocolate factory movie “don’t care how I want it now” all you think is why am I not there? Why is it going wrong? Shift your focus to what you can do right now and let the future unravel. The more you think why is it not happening then this transcends into the way you come across and can often result in a self fulfilling prophecy. So be kind to yourself, stay focused, grab a cup of tea and a custard cream, pat yourself on the back and get on with it.
It’s always good to have a plan, but remember plans don’t have to be rigid, they can change. Think about looking at where you want to be, then looking at where you are now. Right got me? Start thinking of two things today that can start you on your journey! Imagine you are running a marathon you don’t just jump from never running to running 26 miles the next day, you train and you start slow and build up. If it’s TV that you want to get into think why? What can I offer right now? What makes me stand out, where are my skills? If you are getting rejections,think why am I? What can I do better? What can I change? Is my CV good, does it sell my skills effectively? It’s easy to blame others “it’s a closed shop” “I wouldn’t have fitted in” “it’s all for posh people”. That may or may not be true but develop a thick skin and a f**k you mentality, determination and perseverance always stand you in good stead. It’s what I call the Alexandra Burke syndrome she didn’t get into X factor first time round but came back and won the show! You can do the same!
Do your research, find out the best people to contact, set yourself daily, weekly goals and track it all.. Learn and change stuff if it’s not working but keep at it.
Keep your eyes peeled and senses aware for any opportunities. We can focus on “I’ve got to get into the BBC” which is great but miss out on other TV and radio roles, maybe because we don’t know about them or we are being a bit snobby. All experience counts, it’s how you spin it,think about the skills you will develop, the involvement you’ll have in a creative project. If a lesser known company are offering to train you to film and edit then don’t turn that down, those skills are invaluable. Again if you are eyes are so focused on a narrow prize you can neglect to see the range of wonderful opportunities coming up around you. So be vigilant stick to the path but if a new and exciting twist turns up on the road than don’t be afraid to follow it. Jobs aren’t always in London so look at opportunities in other parts of the country or if you live somewhere else start closer to home. Competition is always rife in big cities but try local radio or local tv where you don’t have to uproot yourself and where you can gain new skills. Also if you are struggling with getting interviews start doing things yourself, film, right, blog, get involved in charity films, student work, what you can to plump up your Cv. Start thinking outside the box. Think about transferable skills, different ways in, it might not be what you want to do long term but it’s a foot in the door and that’s always good.
Don’t beat yourself up
If you are not getting interviews, or you are getting interviews but not getting jobs, or if you simply don’t know where to start, then stop beating yourself up. It’s easy to get into that vicious cycle of not being good enough which perpetuates itself into future applications. You can really sense it that someone’s given up or believes they won’t get a job. So switch your thinking, get feedback, think about what you can do differently, and keep your focus. Remember not to take it personally no one is saying they hate you, they are just saying you are not right for that job at that time. That is not your truth forever that’s just the truth for that moment. Be kind to yourself.
Keep in touch
If you meet someone at a networking event or you get invited in for an interview and don’t get a job but had a great experience then keep in touch with that person. Now don’t get all stalker ex on them, “hi I saw on Facebook you were at that club in Hoxton, I was there too”. That will just freak them out. Keep in touch about your progress, tweet them about projects you’ve been involved in. Let them know you watched one of their programmes and loved it. Be positive but not too over familiar, happy but not creepy, they are not your friends but you could be beneficial to them in the future and jobs can come up at any time so keep yourself on their radar.
Re-evaluate your reality
Is it still where you want to be? What you want to do? Are you being swept down a path not of your own choosing? Do you find that you are influenced by what family and friends say and that their good intentions are shaping your choices? Listen to your gut and your heart, what excites you, where is your passion, do you think you are good enough?
If it is no longer what you want to do then accept that and move on. Find where your true passions lie. If it is still what you want to do, ask yourself honestly am I putting the right amount of effort in to it. Your mind will be filled of 101 excuses and practical reasons you are not progressing, or it might be in your opinion everyone else’s fault. Stop that right now and take responsibility for yourself, develop a plan and get on with it! Keep your focus, only you know whether it’s all worth the effort.
Don’t be desperate
It’s great to be enthusiastic and keen but don’t go to far and become obsessed to an unhealthy extent. Don’t be complacent but also don’t be desperate, nobody got time for that. I used to get a lot of emails from people telling me how hard it was to get a job in TV well boo hoo, toughen up and deal with it. Ok now I sound harsh but if the first thing you read from someone wanting your advice or a job with you is a sob story of how hard it has been for them then it’s very off putting. At no point are you saying what you can do for the company just a diatribe of how can you help me.. Well businesses are not there to help you, so you need to up your game. Even if you think oh my goodness I’m never going to get there then don’t show it when contacting people. Keep it positive, keep to relevant and talk about what you can do, not what you’ve found hard. If you are going to talk about a struggle then frame it positively to show what you’ve done to make up for that struggle or what you’ve done to counter act it.
Everyone faces rejection, things don’t always come easy, but see this as a learning experience, a test of do you really want this. Be kind, be smart, be focused and keep that ambition and drive that’s so important. Get a mentor if you can, talk through stuff, open your mind to doing things differently and I know you’ll get there. Good luck.