Kaplan Careers In Communications and Entertainment


Succeed in the Communications and Entertainment Industries.

Find out what it takes to create your career in:

Book Publishing Radio
Movies Magazine Publishing
Newspaper Publishing
New Media ...

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Succeed in the Communications and Entertainment Industries.

Find out what it takes to create your career in:

Book Publishing Radio
Movies Magazine Publishing
Newspaper Publishing
New Media Television
Public Relations
Special Effects

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780684870175
  • Publisher: Kaplan Publishing
  • Publication date: 1/1/1900
  • Pages: 384
  • Product dimensions: 8.44 (w) x 11.04 (h) x 0.93 (d)

Table of Contents


Chapter 5 RADIO
Chapter 6 MOVIES
Chapter 10 NEW MEDIA


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First Chapter



In the individual chapters we give tips on how to break into specific fields of communications, media, and entertainment. Most of the information here relates to all careers.

1. A common misconception is that during an interview you will be evaluated on the basis of your background and not on the way you present yourself. When an interviewer first meets you, he or she will judge you by how you look and act. The first impression is usually lasting. Grooming, facial expression, and body language all affect your personal image.

A broad, friendly smile puts across an image of trust that will serve you well. Always look at the interviewer directly.

Watch out for nervous habits. Although you may not be aware that you are drumming your fingers on the desk or jiggling your knee, such actions are a dead giveaway to nervousness and a lack of confidence.

2. According to Holland Cooke, publisher of the Broadcast News Career Monthly, there are five stages to getting a job:

* Pre-approach -- deciding where to apply
* Approach -- making initial contact and/or sending a resume: flirtation
* Pitch -- meeting and talking: "the first date"

Once you successfully get past these stages, then it's time to:

* Negotiate -- talking seriously: courtship, and
* Close -- saying "I do!"

He says, "It takes six months.

"Anyone who waits till they could scream has waited too long.

"Learn how a company you're interested in hires. Then be politely persistent and when you've done something new they might be interested in, send it to them.

"Most people think getting a good job is a matter of luck and timing. But there are ways to beat luck and timing, by beating the rush."

3. What are the biggest mistakes most job applicants make?

* Not researching the job they're applying for
* Addressing resume package to "Dear Sir...."
* Poorly written letters accompanying resumes
* Failure to clearly state what job they want and why they are qualified
* Gimmick or cutesy resumes
* Calling when an ad clearly states "no telephone calls"

4. If you're responding to a help-wanted ad and it says "no calls," don't!

5. Keep your resume out of the wastebasket by using an effective one-page cover letter and a one-sentence first paragraph.

6. It is often difficult to get to the interviewer; don't blow it when you get there. It only takes the interviewer five minutes or less to gain a first impression of the candidate. Interviewers say that about 85 percent of the candidates they see should be better prepared. Bring two extra copies of your resume. Be on time. Dress for success, but not like a fashion model.

7. You may be asked why you left your present job. Acceptable reasons are challenge, locations, advancement, money, pride/prestige, security.

8. What will your references/coworkers say about you? Ask them before you use them.

9. If you were fired, don't lie about it. Never badmouth a past boss.

10. Follow up an interview with a thank-you letter within 24 hours, and keep it to one page.

11. Don't be disappointed if you're not hired after the first interview. In the broadcast business, a survey found that only one percent hired applicants during the first interview, and 55 percent after the second.

12. A common mistake in interviews is to discuss salary first, then the job description. Ask about overtime, benefits, chances for advancement, and even parking privileges.

13. End the interview on an upbeat note. Be gracious. Leave the interviewer with a positive impression of your demeanor and personality.

14. Be yourself on an interview. Don't try to alter your personality to what you believe the interviewer is looking for. Most interviewers are suspicious of a candidate who comes on too strong.

15. If the interview is going well, propose another meeting to further discuss the job.

16. If you are offered a job and the offer doesn't fulfill your expectations, don't be afraid to say, "May I think about it?"

17. Personnel expert Robert Half calls it "Resumania," referring to the irrelevant self-defeating comments candidates include in their resumes. Some don'ts:

"Please don't misconstrue my fourteen jobs as 'job-hopping. I have never quit a job."

"Work skills: strong on interpersonal relations, typing, filing, and reproduction."

18. Provo, Utah; Bremerton, Washington; and Bryan, Texas; may be the "three best places to live" according to Money magazine, but they're not the best if you're trying to make it in the ten subject chapters of this book.

19. In a study of top-level executives conducted by Korn-Ferry (with the University of Southern California), it was determined that one of the single most important traits for making it to the top was the ability to get along with others. That's true in life as well.

20. When you phone a prospective employer, do not open the call by telling him/her about yourself, your resume, goals, etc. All that information should be communicated in a brisk, upbeat cover letter, concise resume, and an effective in-person interview. Plan your telephone call.

21. Sound bite from Holland Cooke's Broadcast News Career Monthly:

"Forget about money! Forget about hours! Work all the time! I've left behind (at past jobs) people far smarter than I am. I was willing to outwork them."
--Sam Donaldson, TV news personality

22. What to do if you don't get the job: Ask what you can do to be their first choice the next time. Ask where else you might apply. Write a thank-you note or letter. They'll file it with your resume.

23. Want to make it as a writer? Send for the 1998 Writer's Market from Writer's Digest Books. Price $27.99. You will get Make Money Writing free. Write to: Writer's Digest Books, 507 Dana Avenue, Cincinnati, OH 45207-1005.

24. Paladin is one of the nation's leading interim staffing firms placing marketing, advertising, communications, and creative professionals for short or long-term jobs. Contact them by phone in Chicago (312) 654-2600, Los Angeles (310) 826-6222, and New York (212) 545-7850.

25. Many colleges offer fine undergraduate and graduate programs in journalism and mass communications. Although it is not our policy to rank one program over another, we recommend that before you make a decision about attending a particular school, consult the Gourman Report, the only qualified guide to American institutions of higher education.

26. Let the local college in your area be a research tool, even if you didn't attend that school. Go to lectures and seminars to improve your knowledge and assist you in your job pursuit.

27. Read the industry's trade publications for the field you're interested in; for example, Publishers Weekly for book publishing and Broadcasting & Cable and Electronic Media for TV and radio. Others are listed in the individual chapters.

28. Become acquainted with your local librarians, especially the people who work in the reference section. Research self-help audiotapes and other business-related tapes in your field.

29. Although we've said it before, it bears repeating here. Exploit any personal contact, whether or not the person is on top. A college friend or a relative who works in the media department of an ad agency may be a good source for ideas and leads about magazine sales jobs as well as in advertising.

30. Contact the various industry associations for your chosen field.

31. Contact your college's alumni association. There you can track people from your school who have gone to work at a company that interests you.

32. You'll probably get your first job by cold calling, letter writing, and networking. Make sure you're adept at each.

33. A graduate degree in business is important if you want to reach for the gold. It may, however, be a good idea to first work in a particular field and then take a leave of absence with your company's permission. Many companies encourage this practice.

34. Beware of phony employment agents who promise jobs and can't deliver. Concentrate on the handful of executive recruiters who specialize in the industry that interests you.

35. Be prepared, even on the first interview, to speak to an individual at a much higher level than the first interviewer. At one very large publishing company, with almost 3,000 employees, the president insists on personally interviewing each sales candidate for an hour-and-a-half, after he or she has been interviewed by four or five other people.

36. Be prepared to ask hard questions about the job and all its duties.

37. Don't be afraid to ask about perks, benefits, tuition reimbursement, and vacations.

38. When applying for a specific job, ask about the pecking order in that department.

39. When negotiating for a job, keep your mind open and be flexible. Take note of your job priorities and be prepared to compromise on non-essentials.

40. Expect that the interviewer will go down the line on your resume and ask specific questions about your education and previous jobs.

41. On your resume include names, addresses, and phone numbers of two or three references. Don't say "References available."

42. Be sure to list all your computer skills on your resume, particularly if you have desktop training and are applying for a magazine or newspaper job.

43. Your resume should have eight parts:

* Name, address, and phone number
* Position desired
* Summary statement including your background and tie your immediate job hunt to your long-range career goals
* Education
* Practical experience
* Professional affiliations
* Awards and honors
* References

And keep it concise.

44. The hiring process may include written tests in spelling, grammar, and usage, particularly if you're trying for a newspaper or magazine job. Make sure you know the right spelling of Rwanda, Forrest Gump, and Sarajevo, the difference between affect and effect, and the difference between who and whom.

45. Want to be an editorial writer for a newspaper? Go to college, broaden your knowledge, and vary your college curriculum so that you are familiar with science, history, and the arts.

46. The top media companies are in many communications businesses: newspapers, magazines, broadcasting, and books. There's a great deal of mobility for a talented individual in these organizations. The top five are Time Warner, Disney, Tele-Communications Inc., CBS (Westinghouse), and Gannett.

47. Read The Wall Street Journal's National Business Employment Weekly. It lists regional as well as national job opportunities. Pick up a copy at your newsstand.

48. Study, explore, and read about new media. It's the medium for the next century. That's why we have devoted a whole chapter to the subject.

49. Take advantage of TV, radio, and the Internet. Many cable channels offer home-study courses. Check out National Public Radio for Marketplace, a nightly program with ideas and job leads. Surf the Internet for job opportunities.

50. If you're looking for your first job, you'll probably need to use an employment agency. Once you have experience, go the executive-recruiter (headhunter) route. You will still have to do cold-calling, letter-writing, and networking.

51. Interviewing is a fine art. Some college placement offices set up role-playing situations to give you experience in handling an interview.

52. Before you go on an interview, do your homework about the company's products and services.

53. If you can't attend an MBA program full-time, many are given at night and weekends. It takes longer, but it will pay off in the big picture.

54. Add to your computer training all the time. Night courses may be the best approach. Many colleges offer business and degree programs through the Internet. For a list of these courses visit http://www.caso.com/iu/courses/business.html.

55. Beware of "no experience necessary" ads. These ads often signal low wages, poor working conditions, or straight commission work.

56. When you are feeling depressed, remember that there are always new jobs being created, someone is always leaving a job, and someone is always being hired.

57. Don't be afraid to "temp". Aside from earning money when you're between jobs, a temporary job offers networking capability, development of new skills, and the possibility of turning a temp job into a full-time career.

58. Visit in person the technical or professional society relating to your field in order to get leads and advice.

59. Get attractive personal letterhead stationery printed.

60. Ask the Alumni Association of your college for a list of graduates in your target city.

61. Many companies are now conducting job interviews via video conferences. Executive recruiters use them as well. How do you think you would fare in a video interview?

62. Some of the finest companies in an industry have paid for summer internship programs. Seek them out early in your college career.

63. The top recruiting firms reject resumes fast. If you want your resume to be taken seriously, pay attention to these two "don'ts" and one "do."

* Don't omit dates of past jobs or college degrees. It looks like your are hiding something.
* Don't use a highly ornate, unprofessional resume. Avoid slick paper and bright colors that may imply you emphasize appearance over content.
* Do show internal promotions. The lack of progress on a job suggests that you're on the market because you can't get ahead in your present job.

64. Where to go first? Identify the dominant and growth-oriented companies in your geographic area or discipline.

65. According to the authoritative Los Angeles Times, jobs in entertainment are expected to soar as film, cable, and TV studios expand. Interested in these fields? Make the move to L.A.

66. Career opportunities abound in the interactive industry, especially in games. But the hours may be long and the starting pay is notoriously low.

67. If you're still in college, check out the Managing Your Career publication put out four times a year by Dow Jones' National Business Employment Weekly.

68. Shortly after you've started a new job, plan to have a conference with your employer to redefine the objectives of your department and how your responsibilities can help to meet those objectives.

69. On the first day at a new job, arrive a half-hour early and plan to stay a half-hour late. Observe communications preferences at the company: memos, voice mail, email, one-on-one, daily conferences, small group meetings, etc. Note how people dress, how long they take lunch. Adapt to style of the new job.

70. Don't discuss salary (yours or theirs) with your co-workers. It's unprofessional.

71. Remember to thank the people who were instrumental in helping you get the job. A note or phone call is always appreciated.

We are indebted to Holland Cooke for some of the information in this section. Unfortunately, he no longer publishes his excellent newsletter, Broadcast News Career Monthly.

Copyright © 2000 by Leonard Mogel

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