Credit: Tama66 – Pixabay
With life, you are always rethinking, rethinking and redeveloping your approach to whatever comes your way. If there are things that are not working or you are being rejected for every opportunity, it can be one of the best things to happen in your professional and personal career development.
As a Journalist who has been freelance for eight months, it’s fair to say I have had several challenges. Learning to know my value when negotiating for paid work while constantly being able to build relationships and expand my network has been difficult, but a necessary part of building my self-confidence and self-worth.
It’s also made me realise that while I love the freedom that comes with freelancing, I now know that I’m more suited to working in a full-time staff position. Being freelance is great as it’s helped me to continue getting my work published to different outlets but at the cost of not having a specialist beat.
Stop doing everything, focus on a few things and do them well
In the early months of going freelance after being let go from my job in January, I made the most common mistake of trying to do many projects and jobs without thinking things through.
It was not until I had a chat with Diane Kemp from my Alma mater at Birmingham City University that I really needed to refocus myself on who I was as a journo. It’s great covering multiple beats but if you’re doing it because you’re desperate to get a byline or two, you’ll end up with poorer-quality pitches and story ideas.
Now, I cover sports and data while occasionally dipping in and out of technology. I run Snooker Data Junkie to help me learn R and continually develop my data skills while covering snooker stories with a data focus. Also, I have my YouTube channel where I’ll be using it for interviews, VLOG’s and filming news pieces.
It’s better to focus on a few things and do them well rather than be a jack of all trades.
Redeveloping your resume and brand
I have lost count of how many times I have redeveloped my resume and my brand but unless you have a clear idea of what you do and what your brand stands for, people are not going to come to you.
That’s where the resume comes into it. Often, I will spend hours redesigning and tweaking my CV because it’s important when given feedback, you can use it to improve what you have got.
The feedback I have gotten from industry professionals such as Paul Bradshaw, Jem Collins and David Spencer, as well as careers consultants such as Alex Carroll have turned my CV around from being good to great.
Even with my website, I have made subtle changes to ensure that professionals within the journalism and media industry know what my trade is. Communicating that brand through a portfolio website effectively can be incredibly powerful to future employers and professionals.
Rethink your networking strategy
Networking is a great way of finding tips and leads into freelance and staff opportunities. However, the main aim of networking is not using industry professionals to get you a job, but to build that relationship long-term.
You have to think about how you network with a professional. Remember, you are not asking them to find a job for you, but you are there to build that relationship and trust between yourself and the person you are meeting.
The people I have met in 2019, which includes Adrian Goldberg, Adam Smith, Gurdip Thandi, Marc Reeves, Sian Elvin, Jim Rosenthal and Rod Studd, I have built a level of trust between them by giving more than what I’m taking in terms of advice and guidance.
Never assume that when you meet someone for a coffee that they can offer you a job, in many ways, it makes you look desperate and unprofessional.
If you’re struggling to find something whether if it’s finding more freelance clients, a staff position or getting back into work, remember, it’s always good to take a step back and get yourself back into shape mentally, psychologically and physically.