It’s summer, a time for the newly graduated to fill out scores of applications in hopes of landing that first full-time job. For those who worked in student radio and television, don’t forget to add that role to your resume. Regardless of your major or career plans, your student media experience has taught you a lot of things you might not realize.
How to take criticism
Whether you’re a DJ on campus radio, a reporter for campus television or have pretty much any role in student media, your work is on display for the public to love or hate. Student media will teach you to take criticism, adapt your performance as needed and ignore non-constructive feedback.
How to work with minimal supervision
The ability to work with minimal supervision is an often-overlooked skill, but one that is necessary to survive in student media. Your student managers don’t have time to hold your hand on every assignment, so you will need to learn to figure some things out for yourself.
How to talk to important people
Reporters regularly talk to important people, be it famous musicians or the college president. My students have interviewed actor Danny McBride, comedian Colin Quinn, and former U.S. attorney general Eric Holder. Working in student media gives you the opportunity to meet regional and sometimes national celebrities and learn (most of them) are just regular people. When the chairperson of your new company strolls into a meeting, you won’t need to be awestruck. Just smile and introduce yourself.
How to be a team player
On the first day of training every semester I show a photo of an iceberg as a metaphor for student media. What the public sees or hears is the finished product, but there are many other people who make it all happen – writing scripts, running cameras, programming music, editing audio and managing the staff. Working in student media teaches you to be part of a team that relies on all its members to make the media outlet succeed.
How to handle pressure
The computer with your meticulously crafted playlist just died. Your heavily hyped guest is stuck in traffic and won’t make it to the studio before the end of your broadcast. It’s pouring down rain for your outdoor event. Student media is fraught with last-minute changes that will teach you to handle pressure. (Hint: For outdoor events, always have a rain location.)
How to promote yourself and your media outlet
Speaking of that heavily hyped guest, student media teaches you to promote yourself and your media outlet. How many times have you posted on social media about your upcoming broadcast or an event hosted by your media outlet? The answer is probably tons. Those promotion skills will carry over to your full-time job, too.
How to document procedures
One of the greatest legacies you can leave your media outlet is to document what you do in your position so when it’s time for you to leave your successor isn’t as clueless as you might have been when you took the job. They’ll know who to contact for ticket giveaways, the right format to export videos and how to get funding from Student Government. Knowing how to document procedures will also impress your future bosses, as it’s important for many jobs.
How to use Google Drive
My media outlet uses Google Drive for everything from those training documents you just created to sign up for shifts over the winter holiday to managing underwriting orders. You’ll be a Google Drive guru in no time.
How to speak into a microphone
Maybe this skill isn’t one for your resume, but it’s still important. How many times have you attended an event where people stand too far from the microphone and no one can hear them? Have you ever noticed student media people never have that problem? That’s because we know how to speak into a microphone.
How to be self-confident
Finally, and probably most importantly, working in student media helps you build confidence in yourself and your unique talents.