Tuesday, February 14, 2023

A Career Shift: To Marketing and Communications I go!

 I wrote back in December that I was pounding the virtual pavement trying to figure out my next move in the marketing and communications space--as that's where I envisioned my next full-time role. 

And, to be perfectly honest, the job search has been a mental grind. Those of you who've embarked on a job search over the past few years can attest to that grind. It is exhausting searching for jobs, tailoring a cover and resume to different job specifications, filling out online portals etc.

And if you're not able to get past that first stage of the application process, the majority of companies don't even respond with 'Thanks, but no thanks' to your application. You're just applying into the ether.

I ran the numbers and, since October, I've applied for over 100 communications positions and made it to an interview round for about a dozen roles. So my success rate in just achieving an interview was approximately 1 in 10.

I have no idea if that's a good batting average or not. I'm giving out these details because I know just how mentally draining the job search can be. And it can leave you with a crisis of confidence. 

Will I ever get a job again? What's wrong with my skill-set? What am I doing wrong? 

There have been some admittedly dark days over the past few months.

But if sharing my application numbers and being honest about the process can provide some solace to other people looking for work in a highly competitive job market, then it's worth it.

And speaking of that competitive job market: the influx of remote and hybrid jobs out there are fantastic for people looking to improve their work-life balance.

However, that also means the competition is even more fierce. You're up against dozens, sometimes hundreds of applicants for each role. How do you stand out in that environment?

I found myself applying for jobs I thought I was way overqualified for, at steep pay cuts to what I've become accustomed, just to hopefully snag an easy interview and build up some confidence.

Then that plan didn't even work and I was ghosted by jobs I didn't even want!

And the holiday season is not fun during a job search. Most companies shut things down for the month of December, postings are scarce and your stress level just continues to build.

But I do have good news to share! It took me awhile to get to this part of my post, but I prefer sharing my honest preamble to this process, rather than just happily post that I have a new job.

Scratch that: I have a new career! This week, I started a full-time, permanent position at Stantec, a global engineering and architecture firm.

I am a senior content specialist. Here's a 30-second elevator pitch of a portion of what I will be doing:

I will be researching and interviewing the top engineering minds at the company to learn about the innovative products and services they have developed/will be developing. And I will be taking these technical and complex processes and creating engaging and informative written content to promote them across a varied array of multimedia platforms. 

It's a fully remote position, I am part of a team of smart, capable and interesting people, and the compensation/benefits program and opportunities for career advancement at Stantec easily surpass every other job I've applied to over the past four months.

I could not be happier with this role. I wish I could go back in time and tell Mike from December 2022 that everything was going to work out. And that I was stressing for nothing. 

When I was in the midst of my job search, a former colleague, who had embarked on a similar journey the previous year, said that the career change was going to be the best thing to happen to me.

I had a hard time believing him at the time. But he was right. And I want to echo that advice. And I know others currently in a job search will have a hard time believing me, but it's true. It may take longer than you'd like, but it will happen.

 I have seen the light at the end of the job search tunnel. And for those of you feeling like you're in the darkness of the search, keep grinding and try your best to stay positive (I know it's easier said than done).

And now I'm sounding too much like a Batman movie, so I will wrap this up now.

Thanks for reading!

Friday, December 9, 2022

Navigating that freelance life

 Well, it's almost been three months since my previous post, where I delineated the biggest job change I've had in almost a decade.

I've been pounding the proverbial pavement (i.e. spending a lot of time on email and Zoom calls) figuring out the next moves in my content creation career. 

The biggest one thus far started in October, when I signed a freelance contract with Rogers Sports and Media. It's actually to work three different roles on an on-call basis: weather radio anchor for CityNews 680, sports radio anchor for CityNews 680 and weather TV anchor for City TV Toronto.

Since I am able to perform three different roles, it's actually been really busy being plugged into their weekly schedule at different shifts throughout the week. I've really enjoyed my time at Rogers thus far and the ability to do all three of the jobs remotely from home has been great from a work-life balance perspective.

I've been averaging around 2-3 shifts per week and will continue that amount through the end of the year.

In November, I picked up another freelance job, this one in marketing and communications. I am working as a content creator for Stock Marketing, where I produce, write and host marketing and communications video content to raise brand awareness and the communications profiles of publicly traded Canadian companies.

And it's marketing and communications where I see myself transitioning to my next full-time job. The experience I've had over the past decade, plus the experience that I'm currently gaining are all strong tools to add to my communications toolkit.

I mentioned last time that I had signed a representation agreement with AAB Talent for on-camera film and television work. I've submitted audition videos for a lot of roles, had a number of callbacks and holds and finally booked my first gig. I got a role in a Genesis car commercial that was shot in Toronto at the beginning of the month. That will air in March.

It was a great experience and I'm hopeful to pick up some more roles into 2023.

Writing-wise, I had a non-fiction feature published by the Canadian Baseball Network in November. I actually wrote it back in 2017, but some extenuating circumstances meant it went unpublished until now. Here's a link to the piece and an explanation behind the publication. 

I am continuing to work as a virtual event host, hosting trivia challenges for select corporate clients, which is a lot of fun. I've been doing that since 2020 and I'm hopeful it will continue into next year as well (I have one more scheduled in the month of December. Below is a holiday-themed session I hosted earlier this week).

I've also had preliminary discussions with production partners from CrossFit to continue working as a sideline reporter at a number of events next year. Once those details are finalized, I will share them here.

So, it has been a busy fall and it appears as though that is going to continue through the winter.

Hopefully, I will have more news to share over the coming weeks. You can check this space or also follow me on Twitter and Instagram @MikeGArsenault.

Thanks for reading and watching!

Friday, September 16, 2022

A New Beginning

I said in my previous post back in February that my blog output would be reduced to yearly submissions barring big career news.

Well, here we are in the month of September and I'm writing with potentially the biggest career news I've had since early 2020. Unfortunately, the news is not of my choosing.

A couple of weeks ago, I received notice that Corus Entertainment was cancelling Global News Weekend, effective immediately. That also meant my services were no longer needed and, after seven years working for Global News, I am now laid off.

Not exactly the news I was expecting. I really enjoyed my time, my co-workers and my career growth at Global. And I loved hosting Global News Weekend--it was the best full-time job I've had in my life thus far.

So, it was a rough few days of trying to digest the news and figure out what's next. The last time I was laid off was back in 2012, at the very start of my broadcast career. 

Reflecting how I felt 10 years ago compared to getting the news here in 2022, I soon realized that I am in a much better position now to handle this adversity than I was back then.

(And though I was surprised at the decision--considering how many different roles I worked at Global News throughout my time there--I also wasn't naïve to think that I'd be able to avoid another layoff in the media industry until I hit retirement age).

Luckily, I've been able to acquire a significant number of contacts within the freelance/contract media industry over the past decade. And I've been utilizing those contacts to set some wheels in motion for the next phase of my media career.

I will continue to work with CrossFit Media as a sideline reporter at the CrossFit Games for CBS (as I've done pretty much every year since 2015) and now I have a lot more time to work as a reporter at different CrossFit events across North America over the coming months.

At the start of the pandemic, I started hosting virtual events (like trivia) for various companies as well as in-person MC gigs for select corporate clients. I hope to be doing more of that in the months ahead as well.

I've also signed with AAB Talent Management to begin auditioning for on-camera film and television work. And there are a number of other content creation opportunities that I'm hopeful to acquire over the next few months as well.

And I have a couple of writing projects that I would like to get published. I will be working toward that goal to end 2022 and heading into 2023.

 The cliché is that everything happens for a reason. Well, everything that I've listed in the preceding four paragraphs are things that I've wanted to do over the past seven years, but was unable to do so. 

But now I have the time and the severance cushion to pursue these passions as I plan out the next evolution of my career for 2023 and beyond. And I know I wouldn't have taken this plunge of my own volition. So, in a way, I am thankful that Corus decided to make the decision for me. I can't have regrets because I didn't have another option.

So, here's to seven great years, but I'm excited to see what's next.

This also probably means that this blog and my social media accounts will be a little more active going forward. Hopefully, I will have lots of media work coming in that I will be able to share here.

So, check this space over the next few weeks and you can follow me on Twitter and Instagram @MikeGArsenault.

Thanks for reading and watching!