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'Choreographing a troupe of children will prepare you for anything': How I landed a senior job in digital media

Megan Cassidy, group editor at Lovin Media, on getting where she is today.

Image: Provision

AS GROUP EDITOR at Lovin Media Group, Megan Cassidy oversees all content – written, visual and audio – on Lovin.ie and Lovin Dublin.

She’s working in a media landscape that is changing constantly. “The role can vary wildly from month to month and even day to day,” says Megan. “I got a word of advice from an editor at another big Irish publication before I started. He said ‘the role is whatever you make it’ – and I have found that to be true.”

What gives Megan confidence is, she says, focusing on the one thing that she does better than everyone else, and doubling down on it. We sat down with Megan to find out more about how she developed the confidence to get to where she is today.

Unlike many of the people on my team, I didn’t study journalism. I was very academic and loved languages in school so I studied English and Drama in UCD. My real training came in the form of editing my local magazine ‘My Waterford’ during my summer breaks.

I think internships are a fantastic way to learn the ropes without the pressure of accountability. Everyone needs a chance to make their mistakes and learn from them. In digital publishing, where your mistakes are often seen and shared by thousands instantly, I think an internship is an important rite of passage. It’s important that companies remember this and give as much to the intern as they get, guiding and protecting them until they’re ready for a full time position. I never did an internship. I made my mistakes in public.

Performing gave me a good grounding. I wrote and starred in a children’s program on RTÉ for two years after college – The Curious World of Professor Fun. It was an incredible experience and I didn’t realise how lucky I was at the time. High pressure, but a lot of fun. My friends and family certainly didn’t think it was a ‘proper’ job, but it prepared my for the position I’m in.

I was also a dance teacher when I was in school and on through college. I toured in an Irish dance troupe with Tony Kenny and danced with June Rodgers at the Red Cow every Christmas. I ran my own dance camps for kids at home in Waterford. I loved it, but it was far more stressful than what I’m doing now. Choreographing a troupe of children will prepare you for anything! I think I still value the ‘performance’ in everything we produce on Lovin. At the end of the day, the audience is still at the heart of everything, and I love crafting a written or visual piece in the same way you would choreograph a dance – you’re thinking about visuals, the arc of the piece, how it makes the reader/watcher feel.

imageMegan CassidySource: Provision

Just keep going. My favourite phrase at the desk is ‘Keep her going Patsy’. Whether something has just bombed, or it’s performing really well - just keep going. You are only as good as your last post, and in digital media there is no room for complacency.

There’s a lot of competition in digital publishing. I’m currently sifting through applications for our Deputy Editor role, and there is so much talent and so many qualified people. Make it easy for people who are hiring by opening your email with your unique selling point. What is the one thing that makes you perfect for the position? Go in with that. Double down on that talent once you get in the door.

Everyone has strengths and weaknesses. Don’t compare yourself to others on the team, find your own place and make yourself invaluable in that area. I have to remind myself of that advice often. It’s hard not to get into a confidence crisis in the areas you’re not so hot at. I’ve gotten really good at recognising where I thrive, and making the most of that. That’s the key to confidence I think, being able to allow the others on your team to own their areas, and not scolding yourself because you can’t do it all. I don’t speak tech language, so I will start a call with our developers by saying ‘Okay, can we do this in English because I can’t speak tech’. Just by admitting that, I have learned so much more in the area and now I’ve gotten a much better grasp of it all compared to when I used to stay quiet and hope I wouldn’t be found out.

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You have to have confidence to be able to sell yourself. Knowing and enjoying what you’re good at is the fastest track to loving your job and finding your niche. You can’t expect potential employers to search for your talents, you need to show them. At the same time, there’s a fine line between confidence and arrogance - again it comes back to awareness. Know when it’s time to listen and learn.

Read self-help books. There are SO many management bibles, success manuals etc available. I know many people think they’re for quacks, but I read a self-improvement book a week, and always feel inspired. Finding that one thing you do better than everyone else, and doubling down on it, is a natural path to confidence.

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