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HOW NOT TO APPLY FOR A RADIO JOB

radio broadcasting jobs

A while ago I received an unsolicited e-mail from a stranger.  It included two attachments — a large PowerPoint file and a smaller Microsoft Word resume.

Here’s the text of the e-mail message….

“Dear Dan,

“As the industry evolves, consultants are becoming increasingly important to the overall station’s ability to win and have a unified sound and marketing mix. With this e-mail, I hope to pin point an area most people in my industry fail to access in seeking a new position — the consultants behind the winning sounds. I am hoping that I can provide one of your stations a valuable skill set that would match my expertise. I would also welcome any leads from your counterparts that you may be aware of in the industry.

“Flip through my presentation and look at what I’ve accomplished as the producer and talent for the Radio X morning show. Then take a moment and imagine how my talent can be applied to the stations you represent. As you know, the position of producer is being discovered as a vital component to winning in this competitive market. No longer is it just a great voice, but the ability to access information, lock into the community and correctly market the show in content. My ability to build media and public relationships and target audiences can help a station achieve its goals. In addition, I have worked under some of the most successful people in the industry — Person #1, Person #2, Person #3 and Person #4; and many more — all who would be more than happy to give a recommendation of my abilities.

“Look over my packet. If you believe a tape and resume is warranted, e-mail me with an appropriate address or call with your request at 555-555-5555. You may also contact me in confidence at Radio X here in (CIty) at 555-666-6666 . I look forward to speaking with you soon.

“Sincerely,
“Ed Jock”

In my opinion, two things are missing from that e-mail:

1.   Courtesy
2.   A reason for the recipient to act on his requests.

He’s asking a stranger to take the time to read his e-mail message and review the attached presentations. But there’s nary a “please” or “thank you” to be found. Instead, he instructs the recipient:

“Flip through my presentation and look at what I’ve accomplished…”

“Look over my packet…..”

And the automatic internal response of the recipient is, “Why? Why should I flip through the presentation? Why should I look over the packet? Because some stranger is telling me to?”

“I would also welcome any leads from your counterparts that you may be aware of in the industry.”

Why should the recipient forward “leads” to a stranger with whose work he is unfamiliar?

He is asking (actually, telling) a stranger to donate his one irreplaceable resource: time. And the tone of his message implies he thinks he somehow is entitled to that stranger’s time. But why should that person donate his time to him?

He also is sending unsolicited e-mail attachments to strangers, which is not a strategy likely to win him friends. Sophisticated e-mail users do not open unsolicited attachments from strangers.

Finally, he is trying to B.S. the recipient:

“As the industry evolves, consultants are becoming increasingly important to the overall station’s ability to win and have a unified sound and marketing mix.”

Excuse me? Perhaps that would score points in a high school term paper. But is he really sharing a keen insight in telling me that consultants are important to a station’s sound & performance?

“As you know, the position of producer is being discovered as a vital component to winning in this competitive market.”

It’s “being discovered”? Maybe 20 or 25 years ago.

“No longer is it just a great voice, but the ability to access information, lock into the community and correctly market the show in content.”

Again, this might earn him a B+ on a school paper. But he might as well point out that disc jockeys no longer select their own music, too; he is stating what is painfully obvious to programming professionals.

What could he have done differently?

1.   Send a short e-mail, introducing himself, explaining that he’s looking for a job, and offering to send his tape & resume.

2.  Say something to indicate he knows something about the person to whom he’s sending the e-mail.

3.   Ask what form the recipient prefers for such a package — e-mail, snail mail, etc.

4.   Drop all the B.S. phrases and, instead, writing plainly, simply and honestly.

5.   Say “please” and “thank you” where appropriate.

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  • Dave Savage June 3, 2010, 3:02 am

    Agree with all you’ve said, Dan. Another thing he forgot is that successful radio stations are entertaining and he is not. At about half way through the first paragraph if I hadn’t jumped to where you started parsing it, I would have been asleep. Entertain me, Brutha. Entertain me.

  • Chris Wienk June 3, 2010, 3:55 am

    Dave is right! I fell asleep reading that email. Yikes! No wonder I didn’t get those first ten jobs I applied for back in my opening days in radio.

    Impress me less with jargon and BS, and more with your direct language and some understanding that you have asked for some of my time to consider you.

    Thank you, Dan! Love the posts! Keep on rocking!

  • Bill McKubby June 3, 2010, 7:21 am

    I think when people get into lengthy long explanations about themselves and their situation when pursuing a job they come across as a little too desperate. If your talented and have the goods, be confident. Brevity says your confident. The best airchecks are when your confident and in your audio you can tell your having a good time and enjoying your present gig.

  • Brian Nicholas June 3, 2010, 7:44 am

    Thank you for pointing out the biggest thing missing from that e-mail. Professional courtesy. It amazes me that people forget to say please and thank you. The sender is asking someone to give up their valuable time to listen to you. The VERY least you should offer is a thank you.

    This reads like a boring form email that this guy has sent to hundreds of other people.

    Finally, if the sender is such a slick producer. Why the lengthy email? Why do you need to offer a laundry list of the big names you’ve worked for. Let your work speak for itself. If the people on your reel are that big, the listener will probably recognize their voice.

  • Crystal Darche June 3, 2010, 10:44 am

    I’m still confused as to whether he wants a job as a consultant, or as a producer! Great example of what NOT to do, Dan!

  • Roger Bernier June 3, 2010, 5:06 pm

    I’d like to hear his TAPE. Unfortunately I have nothing with which to play it on!!!

  • J. Christopher Dunn June 5, 2010, 3:15 pm

    Entitlement. It’s a generation thing. Manners are thing of the past and this is a clear example. Saying please or thank you is not an edgy, hip thing to do. He told you what he wanted instead of asking. That is so BOLD! Ha!

    “Thank you” for sharing.
    -JCD

  • Robin Solis (Bobbie West) June 8, 2010, 2:28 pm

    It really truly sounds as if the writer used that B*llsh*t generator from the Web. Nah, like Chris said I tried the “assumptive approach” once and got myself thrown out of the offices of *YUU (really diguised it there!). And yes, I do see that using that approach makes an Ass out of ump and tive.

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