I want to start off by saying that I seriously debated whether I wanted to tell this story. I kind of didn’t want to tell this story because it is in the past and not really relevant anymore but, the more I thought about it, the more I realized that this story and this phase in my life has shaped who I am as a career girl today.
As many of you know, (and some of you might not), when I graduated college I worked in radio for about 4 years. While working on my undergraduate communication studies degree I came to realize that I had a dream and passion for the radio industry. I always had a special interest for the hispanic entertainment media industry and had only dreamt of one day working at one of the many media companies that I grew up watching and listening to with my parents. At first I thought I wanted to be a hard news reporter until I realized I didn’t LOL. When I took the radio practicum class in college I fell in LOVE.
I had absolutely no connections and no idea how I was going to make my dream come true of working in the industry but, specifically in radio.
I remember sitting at my desk at home doing homework and not being able to shake off the idea of me wanting to work in radio out of my head. To be honest, I thought that there was a very small chance of it actually happening for me but, I knew I was going to find a way to get in!
As I was sitting at my desk one of the many days I dreamed of my dream career, I would search the internet and various job boards for openings, and to be honest, I had no clue what titles meant or what a recent graduate could do, but I tried everything. I applied for assistant jobs, for coordinator jobs and anything else that would get my foot in the door in this industry. I had a professor in college that was very motivating who gave us a speech telling us that if we wanted to get in the door of our dream company or our dream careers that we needed to think outside of the box.
I wanted to be that person who got the job (really bad) so in my extreme way of thinking I thought to myself, “if I have to go and stand outside of the building I will!” I didn’t actually do that but, I did pick up the phone and call every number I found while doing research on the internet.
One day, as I was thinking about the radio stations that I listened to I made a list of the places where I wanted to work. From there, I would go to the website and browse until I found some sort of contact information. I started with one and then went down the list from there until I came across a radio station that my mom and I would often listen to called Exitos 93.9 FM. I happened to find the phone number of the promotions manager for that radio station online and immediately picked up the phone and dialed the number. I remember thinking “this is me trying.” As the phone rang, someone picked up. His name was AJ. I was honestly expecting them not to answer or if they did answer, I was expecting them to tell me to just apply online. Up until this point, I hadn’t had any good results with my “cold calling” but, I wasn’t going to give up.
When I heard a voice on the other side of the line, I instantly got nervous but composed myself and spoke in the most confident voice I could come up with in that moment. I told him something along the lines of “Hi, My name is Marisol and I’m about to graduate college with a degree in communication studies and I’m looking for a job. I was calling to see if you had any openings.” He then, to my surprise responded, “Actually, we are hiring for the promotions team.” I was in awe and couldn’t believe what he had just said. “I thought to myself, could this actually be happening right now?” So, he then proceeded to ask that I email him my resume and asked if I was free for an interview. I was ecstatic and I knew that although many people view the promotions team as the very bottom of the chain, I viewed it as my opportunity. I knew that once I was in, I could figure out other ways to escalate from there.
Getting the interview wasn’t the hardest thing for me in this process. At the time, I had no experience with driving to the city, I lived outside of LA and only drove to school and back so I knew asking my parents for help was going to be a challenge for me. I was very excited and went to tell my mom I landed an interview with a radio station that we both knew and listened to. At the time, my mom would only drive locally so the only person who could take me to the interview was my dad, and I knew that was going to be a fight. So, I proceeded to ask him to take me and he of course, hesitated and said he would take me, but asked realistically what I was going to do if I got the job. To be honest, I didn’t know. I just thought I’d figure it out, if and when, I landed the job but I didn’t want to let this opportunity go.
The day of the interview came and he drove me to Burbank, CA. I distinctly remember how I felt upon getting off the freeway and looking at the big building in Burbank. I didn’t know that a major part of the entertainment industry was located in this city. I mean, major shows were filmed around this neighborhood and companies like Disney were right around the corner. To say I was starstruck is an understatement.
I walked up to the building and took the elevator to the 9th floor where I was greeted by AJ. He was a very nice man, who took me to the conference room and conducted the interview there. I was so excited and gave it my all and answered each question to the best of my ability. When the interview was over, I knew I had given it my all and for me that was all that mattered. A few days later, he called and said I got the job! I was beyond excited and knew I had to take it, even though it meant I was going to drive to Burbank by myself. I knew it was time to grow up and take this small step towards my dream.
I was at this radio station for roughly 6 months…until I moved to my dream company. The #1 hispanic media company that my parents always watched on TV and listened to on the radio and that is an even crazier story, which I will tell you next!
I wanted to share this story because I want to inspire you and make you realize that it is possible. You don’t have to have connections and you don’t have to fit a specific stereotype.
Look for those loopholes and different ways to reach out. At the end of the day, the worse they can say is no, and if they do, well, you’ll end up where you are right now but, you’ll try other ways and one of those other ways is bound to work. I know it!
Thank you for reading my story, again, I didn’t know if this was something I wanted to share but, I’m glad I did. I learned so much at this first radio station and had so much fun! If you are interested in working in radio, don’t look at the promotions team as something bad or as a “low position”, it takes time and everyone has to start somewhere. Trust me, working in promotions has been one of the most fun jobs I’ve ever had and it opened many doors for me.