Earning the first gig

It has been an exciting week for me as I finally earned my first job in the sports journalism field since I have graduated from the University of Kansas this past May.

As someone who turned 23-years-old and graduated from college in May, I had some fears. Some of my journalism classmates had jobs secured going into the summer while others had not. I was in the “still job seeking” category.

I had no leads going into the summer as I was still applying. Unlike many journalism students, I was versatile in television, radio and writing. I was vying for a job in sports television as a reporter and anchor and knew that I would have to begin at a small market, which can be very nerve-racking due to the small amount of pay and the limited recognition in a small area. I picked television because I feel like that is the facet of media I would enjoy the most. I also applied at a few radio stations as a backup plan.

Throughout the summer, I struggled with the job search with no calls back from news and program directors. I approached a couple of people I knew to see if they could give me guidance. I asked lots of questions; Is there anything I am doing wrong in the application process? Should I be following up? Should I follow up more than once?

I got ideas on how to improve. However, it was the halfway point of the summer. All I was doing was making a little bit of money from freelance writing while living at home with my family. I felt a sense of urgency and decided it would be best to check out writing positions.

My mom and I had a discussion about my job search. As we know, “moms are always right.” Keep that thought in mind as you continue reading this.

She pitched the idea of going back to Bleacher Report, a website I contributed to for two years. I still kept in touch with a couple of editors and writers from the website. Sean Swaby, who looked at my application when I applied to be a contributor back in May of 2011, sent me an e-mail telling me how impressed he was with my resume. Without going into details of our conversation, he basically let me know my opportunities at Bleacher Report would be boundless if I worked hard at it.

Sure enough, I had plenty of success. I had exclusive interviews with Chiefs safety Eric Berry as well as former Chiefs players and Chiefs Hall of Famers Ed Budde and Bobby Bell. The interview with Berry was my favorite, and I appreciate my editor at the time, Matt Birch, for his hard work in getting that interview.

The Dallas Morning News and the Los Angeles Times both featured articles I have written on for Bleacher Report on their websites. My biggest highlight was in May of 2012 when I had the most total reads out of any writer that month. Bleacher Report has plenty of great writers, who I respect for their skills and knowledge, and it was an honor to have had the most amount of reads that month.

Why am I mentioning all of this? I had a lot of success with Bleacher Report. So, why not go back to a place where you had success and had a good relationship with management when you left?

I left Bleacher Report 11 months ago for another writing opportunity. It would have been hard to do both at the same time because of the time commitment while also studying in school and contributing to the student-run media outlets at the University of Kansas.

I approached Sean and explained to him my situation. His job had changed with the company, but he still sees and works with a lot of the editors closely. He forwarded my e-mail to the right people and also said he would put in a good word.

Farzin’s Note: If you work under someone who has an important title for the company or is well known and well liked, and if they like the work and effort you put in, they WILL go out of their way to put in a good word. Oddly enough, the work industry requires you to have skills, but sometimes a referral from someone’s word – especially a person whose word holds a lot of weight – can be the bigger factor in landing a job.

Bleacher Report had asked me to go through a brief trial to get a feel for my writing as I have been away from the website for a while.

Three weeks later, Bleacher Report contacted me about a job offer with details included. Right away, I knew this was a great fit. I took a job as a Chiefs Gameday Correspondent and Featured Columnist.

My mom told me it would benefit me to go back. Of course, she was right.

I gladly accepted the job. When I announced it, family, friends and people who I’ve worked with showered me congratulatory messages and support. I will be honest; it hasn’t all sunk in yet. People who know me know I get excited pretty easily over a big moment.

My parents have always told me this, and now I am experiencing it: do something with your life that you will love doing when you wake up every morning.

For me, I am watching football, then I provide commentary, analysis and news. It is just my first job, so I know I have a long ways to go. But if this is the beginning of the journey, it makes me excited and more motivated and I will always have high expectations from myself.

For those who want to follow my Chiefs work, click on this link to my Bleacher Report profile. I will also be active on Twitter at @Farzin21 and you can “like” my Facebook fan page, Farzin Vousoughian.

Thank you to those who have supported me and have followed my work over the years! I will continue to give my best and work hard!