The Media: Use It To Your Advantage

The Media With Career Incite

Have you ever been watching tv and have seen a commercial for the news? Often, they promote “the latest story.” Generally speaking, the quick promotional piece offers tidbits of information. As a result, the media uses this to intrigue its audience to tune-in. You watch the whole news show because that particular story is last; and then, it turns out, it is not exciting at all? Most often, reports in the media don’t tell the whole story. And, it is often one-sided. Everyone views things differently, and therefore, the press can be both helpful as well as a hindrance.

Another typical example of differing perceptions comes from popular events. Several reporters attend the same event to provide coverage. However, it isn’t uncommon for each person to report something different. Sometimes, it makes you wonder if the individuals really did attend the same event. Personal reflections of situations always vary to one extent or another. As a result, how can you trust what you see/hear in the media? In this blog, we will go over how the media can help or hinder you in the professional world.

Can the Media Help You?

When researching employers, the media can be hugely beneficial. It gives you insights into the company you are pursuing. Things like organizational structure, financials, and reputation are readily available with a quick google search. Are you looking to do some career research? The media can help with that too. First, you can search for reports on industry trends and the labour market. Secondly, there is tons of information regarding different types of careers, including – typical duties, requirements, salary range, and education. As a result, this will help to decide which position you may want to strive for. Lastly, staying current will allow you to keep ahead of the game. While browsing, you may find information regarding employers looking to hire. Alternatively, if a business is downsizing – the media will likely report it. But, remember, some stories are not always as they appear.

The Media is a Matter of Perspective

As we mentioned, read with caution. We cannot stress this point enough. Yes, the media can be useful. However, partial or distorted stories are not a complete picture and should not be your only resources. Besides, he media can “spin” stories however they feel will capture their audience’s attention (and thereby attract advertisers and generate revenue). Legally, they must tell the truth to the best of their ability. And still, that doesn’t mean that it is the whole story.

In today’s world, every little detail reaches the media.

Let’s look at an example:

A major tech company downsizes. Which means, many employees have now lost their jobs. An individual sees an article on this and now fears that the tech industry is unstable. Is this an accurate representation of the industry?

In short, NO. Before jumping to conclusions, investigate further. Look for information regarding the whole situation, not just a headline. Check to see if there are reports from different angles. You also want to be sure that content is current. Sometimes, especially on social media, we read articles without realizing that they are no longer relevant. By digging deeper, we can stay adequately informed.

A Good Example

While I was working with an MBA Co-op Program, an employer posted an accounting job for the summer. The position was for a large automotive manufacturer. Around the same time, media outlets reported that particular auto manufacturer was laying-off 50 employees. Out of the 82 MBA students, only two ended up applying for the job. However, neither got a call.

As a follow-up, I took the time to call the employer. When I spoke to them, I was told that they would not be scheduling interviews at our school. Unfortunately, due to the seeming lack of interest, the company chose to only consider students from another school, from whom they had received many more applications. The two disappointed students asked their classmates why they would throw away such a great opportunity? Many stated that they made their choice based on the most recent media content. Little did they know, the layoffs were all production line workers in an entirely different city. Ultimately, the student hires from the other school were offered full-time positions following graduation. As a result of the media, these students missed a spectacular opportunity.

An Inside Look at The Media

I have spent over a dozen years working in the advertising industry. Honestly, what I learned is that information can be presented in many ways. The media can choose to portray an aspect of a story. As a result, this can all be done without technically altering accuracy.

In Toronto, there are still many competitive newspapers. Currently, they have four major daily papers that circulate. On top of that, there are much smaller papers available. Every year, readership study findings are compiled and supplied to the various media outlets. The marketing team of each newspaper then finds a way to showcase how they are the best in the industry. For example, one may have the highest weekly paid subscriptions. While another has the highest number of copies sold per day. And, a third may have the readers with the most education or highest household income.

Media outlets want people to feel that their “product” is the best. Therefore, they showcase only what they want society to know. Through market research, organizations can find out who is the advertisers’ target market is, and how to reach them. As far as advertising goes, this means a lot. When it comes to job posts, employers want to advertise in a paper that is sure to provide quality candidates. Consequently, the media must conform to the demands of the employers looking to be featured, as well as appeal to potential job seekers, if they wish to capture advertising dollars.

Remember, Read Past the First Impression

The media is more involved in our careers than ever. So, we must constantly strive to see the complete picture. As individuals, we can easily be deceived since the media can choose to relay information as they see fit, and may not be obliged to give you the full story. As a result, it is on you to find the whole truth. When exploring career options and job searching, research thoroughly. Consult multiple sources and dig deeper when you hear of something regarding your industry. Never make assumptions. By allowing yourself to stay open-minded, you provide greater opportunity for yourself.

To summarize, the media can be a tricky space. But, it can also prove to be an essential tool. You must learn how to differentiate between fact and fiction. This skill will make you a stronger professional.

For all your job searching needs, Career Incite can help!


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