Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Advice for getting the job that does not exist. Bowl them over. Do something epic

Lemn Sissay poet and Mark Cousins, film maker behind The Story of Film

Get that job by doing something epic

I love this story,  This link shows you an amazing feat. Do something epic!

It might be common place now and its perhaps not the same person as I can't find the original link. But the story is he emailed a surfing competition to enter as an exhibitor and was turned down.

Then he sent them one of his pics.

The organisers wrote back immediately.. when can you come? They couldn't get him fast enough.

We are conditioned to tell people "er maybe". "No, there is no job", "let's have a chat and see", when you go for a internship, speculative visit, or answer an invitation from a contact.

Where possible I try and recommend ex students to employers and I know from my long experience. If YOU BOWL THEM OVER, they have no choice but to want to employ you.

So I coach people on what to say; not tell untruths, because if they had nothing to offer I wouldn't be able to recommend them in the first place.

I know from my own experience it works, and also to my cost as I came closer to a BBC reporters job, after meeting for lunch the BBC head of foreign news in 2002. He acknowledged I had a diverse and interesting CV, and I learnt you can't afford to be anything than persistent.

The question you must ask yourself then is what can you do to bowl them over.

As Eminen says, you only have one shot at this, so rehearsals, preparation, visualisation are crucial. You should know what's going to be asked. The usuals. Hello, how can I help you, what have you done, what would you like to do?

DO SOMETHING EPIC ( loved this too during my sxsw presentation)

Firstly then you drive the interview. Patiently but with determination, stack up the approach. I had one friend who got a job at sky. She got the job, not me. But I was able to steer her so she drove the 30 minute slot. She had one film we worked on that she made for my magazine It was a premiere of a film with Beyonce et al - the sort of thing the client would love. 

So I said to her as soon as the pleasantries were over she needed to show the hirer the video and let it do the talking. because on that video, she fantastically demonstrated a plurality of skills.

1. Chasing the interviewee. Have you seen how on the red carpet reporters have to hail and scream, There's a way of doing this. A colleague of mine made it an art form to the extent rival cameramen and women would reserve a spot for her because they knew if she got them close by, they'd get the shot as well.
2. She had done her research so the interview came across as a warm engaging chat.
3. She demonstrated she could go toe to toe with the professionals, because to her left was the BBC and to her right was Sky.

So firstly you need to leave an impression with them which is so profound they talk about you in the next meeting. Secondly ask yourself what you've done that is profound?  A film, a website, and your attitude!

Film impression

Your film should not be garden variety ie normal, but something truly exceptional and short enough to hold their attention with the possibility that its long enough to want them to see more.

Website impression

It should have functionality and content pertinent to the person you;re talking to. By the time you finish with them, they'll say can you make a site like this for us. This happened to a working colleague of mine who picked up an award from Channel 4, only to be stopped by another exec requesting if she could build one for them.

Attitude impression

What makes you exceptional?  Don't suck up to them. Your independence, but likability, and warmth must suggest you'll be a great asset. Do you know how to get interviews? You need to demonstrate this with a story... What's the most exceptional thing you've done? A friend of mine could blag a helicopter to fly his guest. I once did the same in South Africa covering Miss World I had a helicopter pick me up for free and they brought me back 

I'm about to post some interesting things on, I'm picking from what won't be going into my PhD submission early next year. It's been five deep years and its been illuminating.

David Dunkley Gyimah was voted outstanding lecturer by the National Union of Students at the University of Westminster. He is an award winning videojournalist, Knight Batten winner in Innovation in Journalism and a trainer consultant specialising in:

  • Creativity
  • Media cognitivism and semiotics
  • Videojournalism and online branding and web building

As a broadcast journalist he's worked for the BBC, ABC News, Channel 4, WTN  etc.

Artist in Residence, Southbank Centre
Academic & Videojournalist
Twitter: viewmagazine