Considering applying as the next Saskatchewanderer? Want a few tips or tricks to help your application from a former Saskatchewanderer?
It’s hard to believe it has been two years already, but I was the fourth Saskatchewanderer in 2015. The program grew from less than 10,000 social media followers on Instagram, Facebook and Twitter to nearly 35,000 followers only 11 months later. And this year, I even went back for an adventure with current Saskatchewanderer Andrew on an overnight paddle down the Chief Whitecap Waterway.
People have really caught on to the fun and informative program and it has continued to see success throughout 2016 and 2017. So the Saskatchewan Government has decided to continue the program through 2018.
Lately, my inbox has been dinging with messages from fellow adventurers who are interested in applying. They’re interested in advice on how to make their application and video stand out.
So, what will make you stand out as an applicant? Here are some tips to consider:
1. Know Your Audience and Sell Yourself
You’re selling yourself in a video to a panel comprising the Ministries of Agriculture; Economy; Parks, Culture and Sport and Tourism Saskatchewan. Think about each of these ministries and what they want you to promote about Saskatchewan. Then think how they would want you to promote their content. Review their websites and get familiar with what they do in the province. Think about how you can share their message to followers in blogs, photos, videos and social media posts in a fun and vibrant way. Then tell them in a creative and well shot video what you can do for them. What is your angle? What are your strengths? What makes you stand out and different from everyone else who is applying? Make it compelling, be charismatic on camera and make the video different from everyone elses.
**Tip: Tourism and Parks, Culture and Sport are the easiest to pitch ideas for. Think about fun story ideas for Agriculture and Economy, they’re a little trickier!
2. Review the Content
Visit Saskatchewanderer.ca to review the content created by each of the six Saskatchewanderers. Know where they’ve been, what they’ve done and each of their distinct personalities. I focused on outdoor adventure activities as that’s my “thing” so a lot of my content was outdoorsy and active. I also loved to profile farming because I grew up on a grain farm. Current wanderer Andrew is really funny. Neil was a tech mastermind in terms of photos and videos. Knowing the former Saskatchewanderer’s and what they added to the program will help you see what’s been done before, the styles they approached the content from and how you can fit your personality into something that hasn’t been done yet. Don’t forget to scroll through several years worth of social media feeds. My social media content was different from the videos and blogs that are posted on YouTube and the website. Check out what myself and previous wanderer’s social media posts were about on the Facebook, Twitter and Instagram accounts.
3. Think up New Ideas
Above all else, the government is looking for new and fresh ideas. It’s harder now as there have been seven years of the program (I think every single one of us have been to Cypress Hills). Use your personal interests to think up new ways to promote Saskatchewan, even if it’s at the same destination someone else has been previously. I videoed the Tree Top Drop with Cypress Hills Eco-Adventures and hiked to the Hidden Conglomerate Cliffs as no previous wanderer had before me. Take advantage of the always-changing social media platform to incorporate new ways into sharing content.
If successful, you are partially responsible for the calendar of events so make sure to pitch great ideas for stories that have never been done. If you can’t think of any, ask around to friends and family and see what they might be interested in reading and learning about.
**Tip: Working on these skills before you get offered the job will save you time when you’re busy doing the job.
5. Be Personable
Personality is key. If successful, you will be the online personality for the Government of Saskatchewan, CAA Saskatchewan and DirectWest. You are their representative and ambassador. You must be comfortable arriving to events alone and working on your own from all sorts of locations (hotels, backroads, on your cellphone, from your vehicle) as you update social media. Most importantly, you must be personable and able to speak with anyone. I met new people I needed to work with at every event and it was very important to be professional and personable.
6. Read the FULL Job Description
Last year I was surprised at the number of potential applications who discredited their ability for the job because they didn’t have a degree. But they didn’t read the whole application. A degree is preferred but not required to be the Saskatchewanderer. Attention to detail is a must in this position, so read through the ENTIRE application to know exactly what they want. This includes making sure your video isn’t even a second over 2 minutes. If you can’t respect their application requirements, you probably won’t get picked.
7. Know That The Job is Work
Don’t let the fun nature of this job fool you. The job is hard work. It often requires more than full time hours. You must be a multitasker, good with being in the public eye, speaking in front of large crowds on and off camera, excellent working with different teams from different sectors of government, able to book and organize accommodation and arrange events, find interesting stories, and touch base with those you are working on a piece with. Plus you need to be a great writer, photographer, producer, video editor, social media marketer and online personality. It’s a job that requires you to wear a lot of hats and can take a lot of work, but it’s a very unique and rewarding position if you’re the lucky applicant.
Many people also ask if they can do the job with a partner or with children. That’s definitely a possibility if you’re willing to make it work and your pitch is strong enough! But realize this job is full-time and you’ll only receive one paycheque for it all. At least a third of it is spent driving, another third is behind the computer screen and the last third are events and activities. But these activities don’t just mean wandering in the province’s parks. It also includes attending conferences, partner meetings and shooting on-site with professional businesses. So some activities are perfectly family friendly while others aren’t quite so much. Keep that in mind when you craft your application pitch!
Hopefully these 7 tips helped you think of a few ways to approach shooting your video for the 2018 Saskatchewanderer position. They aren’t kidding when they say strong videos get shortlisted.
Good luck and happy wandering!