MTV was a wonderful learning experience from start to finish. I honestly could have spent the whole day there. The office was modern and open concept with lots of colorful accent art. The huge windows showcased a beautiful view of Times Square. The space screamed MTV.
We began the visit by learning about MTV as a whole and their vision for the future. MTV hopes to reach a 60-40 distribution of content by the end of the year, with 60 percent of their content being reality-based and the other 40 percent being music-focused. MTV obviously wants to stay true to their music roots and this latest effort is proof of that.
Our host and Gamecock alumna, McKenna Porter, was able to give our group some amazing insight into New York life and the media industry. She is currently on contract with MTV, working as a production assistant. A lot of entry-level jobs in New York are contract-based, which is one major thing I learned. Some contracts are as short as three months and others are a bit longer. Contracts do get renewed but it all depends on the situation. This set off several red flags for me at first. I immediately got stressed and wondered if I would be able to have any feeling of job security in this setting. What if I am not able to find another job when a contract runs out? How could I pay my rent and other living expenses? However, contracts actually allow a lot of flexibility. Short contracts let you try different things in the industry. You can gain experience in multiple areas and figure out what you like without being locked down in any one position for too long. Temporary agencies can help fill in the gaps between contractual work, and after some quality experience, companies will begin to offer full-time positions.
Porter also explained to us how important it is to write thank you notes. Thank you notes are such a simple thing to do but they create a lasting positive impression. A thoughtful note to an employer after an interview or meeting could be the difference between you getting a job or not. It sets you apart from all the other applicants and can help bring your resume to the top of the stack. Porter told us that when she initially interviewed with MTV, she did not receive the position but she still sent a thank you note and she was offered another job soon after!
We also discussed the importance of portfolios and personal websites. It’s so easy now to create a clean, professional and eye-catching website with programs like Wix or Squarespace. You can display your experience and all your creative work in one place. We talked about how it is expected for college graduates to have these kinds of websites to showcase your portfolio, which should be full of work relevant to your industry. Everyone who graduates with a college degree does classwork, it is those extra experiences and that extra work that give you an edge over the competition. Things like working with student publications, volunteering your skills to non-profits, basically anything you can do to practice your craft and show off your ability. These things will demonstrate your ambition and dedication and initiative, all of which are very attractive qualities in new hires.
The MTV visit taught me so much about the media industry and how it operates in New York. I also gained insight into what it would be like to live and work in New York after I graduate. This trip as a whole has only made me more passionate about communications and more excited to one day live in New York.