Posted by: Andrea Day | November 6, 2011

Foot in the Door at the Radio Festival 2011

Another year, another Radio Festival. I have to jump on the band wagon with the rest in saying that it really was the best one yet. The choice of speakers and sessions that were available meant that you were often torn between which room you wanted to be in. Damn it.

Every year at the Radio Festival there is the “Foot in the Door” session on the Monday. If you want to know a bit more about the set up, check out my previous blog post.

I was ask to speak on the topic of “What can I do now?…” to get into the radio industry. I do quite a bit of  “extra curricular” work outside of my day job; Radio Academy, Community Radio and a bit of work for Radio Today amongst just general radio anorak-ery.

Now it sounds like a fairly easy topic, but these guys are switched on. Practically every person that was there was already volunteering at their student, hospital or community station and were still keen to do much more to advance their position.

My advise (in a nut shell) was this:

  • Contacts, contacts, contacts – make yourself known to the right people for the right reasons.  Make sure that you are the first person that they think of when an opertunity arises. It is all about who you know.
  • Stalk people (Digitally) – social media makes this easy. Twitter, FB and Linkedin means that you can easily find out what the people you are going to meet are into.  Get to know them, have a conversation starter ready for that moment that you plan to “casually” bump into them.
  • Research – this goes in hand with the stalking. Find out what the ethos is of the company that you are keen to work for.  Understand it, understand their competitors, understand what they are and what they aren’t.  If you are going for an interview for a travel job and you don’t know the name of the motorway in the station’s patch, then it just makes you look stupid.
  • Send emails / tweets / make contact – when you meet people, get their contact details and then make contact. Just a quick couple of sentences to say “Hello” and a recap of what you spoke about when you met.  It means that they will recall your meeting AND have your contact details.
  • Know the industry – understand the core differences between commercial and BBC, know the latest news, gossip, movers and shakers.  I was surprised how few of the delegates knew what DQF was – especially all the ones that said they were desperate to work for the BBC.  I would say this, but Radio Today really is the best way to find stuff out and keep track of everything.  Their daily 24 hours in radio emails are perfect.
  • Have a digital presence – if someone Googles you, can they can find you? – and is what they find the bits that you want them to find? (and not the pictures of you being sick at your mate’s party).  Creating a blog and having your own website is great for showcasing your skills.  Make sure it is kept up to date – this is your shop window for your talent.

And finally…….

  • Don’t give up – you will find that you doing all the leg work at first with little return.  Stick with it and all that hard work that you have invested will come back over time. Promise.
After all this advice, I had just four deligates ask for my card and nearly a week later, not a single email.  However, I did get a nice tweet from Fred Bradley (@fredbradley) who was speaking on the same topic with me.

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