Cracking the world of media is tough – take it from Sikander – one of our most determined Go Think Big event attendees. Sikander is currently doing an MA in International Journalism at City University but knows the importance of getting ahead with internships and work experience, and networking. Sikander did a work experience placement at Channel 4 through Go Think Big, and has since attended numerous Go Think Big and O2 events where he’s networked and put himself out there, turning his career around in just under two years. After becoming particularly interested in Radio, he networked with Jess from Radar Radio at our Careers Unlocked event and we’re happy to report he’s just started his first shift there last week! (Side note, we’re running a break into radio event this month with Swarzy from Kiss FM, Ross from Radio X, Veronica from Roundhouse and Reece Parkinson and DJ Ace from 1Xtra – sign up here!)
Sikander is also an assistant producer at Talk Radio, and he says that one of the things that made him stand out to them when applying for a role there was the fact he’s gone to all these events in his spare time. He explained; “it shows that at least you’re out there and making an effort to learn about the industry you want to go into.” Below we ask Sikander some questions about his placements – and how he ensures that he stands out from the crowd…
So Sikander how did you hear about Go Think Big?
Sikander was studying law when he realised he wanted to get into media, but made the decision to drop out of his law course and choose to do an MA in International Journalism to pave the way into a career he felt passionate about. “I had initially applied to do law, and was supposed to do a law conversion course, even though it was not actually what I want to do” he said. “I initially thought if I could do work experience in media, then I would be able to get it out of my system. I applied, on a whim, for a place at a Channel 4 pop-up day which I saw on Go Think Big – I didn’t think it would lead to anything.” After enjoying the day, however, Sikander was invited back for Channel 4′s Rising Stars event. He exchanged a few numbers with some useful contacts and then applied for a job with the channel where he got to the final stage interview – in the final 6 out of 250. Although he didn’t get it, Sikander went back to Go Think Big and attended even more events like Careers Unlocked and our Get 2018 Ready event. “In a year and a half I managed to change my entire career to what I actually wanted to do and that’s all because of Go Think Big” he said. (You’re making us feel so proud, Sikander).
What do you get out of Go Think Big events?
Sikander explained why he loves the opportunities and events we offer saying; “I just wanted insight at first, just to gain a good enough understanding, but then I also get the networking side, too. At every event, I’d get a few numbers and so many good contacts.” He explained how meeting BoxPlus’ head of music wouldn’t have been possible if he didn’t attend the Music Unlocked event we ran in 2017. “I also spoke to two people from FRUKT at the music event” Sikander explained. “One of them offered me his email and then that led to an offer of work experience. I always make sure to drop them an email the next day after speaking to them”. So important, we reckon. “During my MA, the one thing they constantly drill into you is the importance of networking and Go Think Big is the best place for that.”
Do you reckon other people should attend Go Think Big events?
“The events give you an insight into an industry which is usually closed off. You don’t get a lot of opportunities in media, Go Think Big gives you the chance to go into an industry and really learn from them” Sikander said. “You’ll find something you didn’t even know you’ll like – which is something that happened to me with radio. It’ll help guide your career a little bit more.”
What wisdom could you pass onto other people who want to change careers or get advice?
As well as networking like crazy, Sikander noted that people wanting to stage a career change or make the most of their placements should just dive in. “Try everything” he said. “It’s so easy to think of one thing and specialise in that, but you should be open to trying a variety of placements. Also be persistent, and actually follow up after the event with the people you meet. Don’t stay there for three hours and then leave, make the most out of that day or evening and take that opportunity.”
So… what are you waiting for? If you put in just a few hours a month attending our events, or networking with professionals, you might find a career you could really fall in love with. And if you’re interested in radio don’t forget our panel event that’s coming up soon, too.
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