4 career lessons I’ve learnt from reality TV

by Jun 18, 2021

Reality TV. Highly controversial. Highly addictive. Love it or hate it, there’s no denying that it’s produced some of the most iconic (and controversial) moments of all time, from Kim losing her diamond earring in the ocean to the Honey Badger choosing no one at the end of The Bachelor.

Okay, while I’ll admit that I’ve binged too much reality TV than what is probably acceptable, I like to think that my time hasn’t been wasted. Believe it or not, there’s lots of career-related lessons to unpack and learn from reality TV – good and bad.

So, here are four career lessons I’ve learnt from reality TV.


1) Curate your personal brand

If you’re anything like me, you’ve seen Keeping Up with the Kardashians (KUWTK), or you’ll at least know about the Kardashian-Jenner fam! Even though there’s the assumption that they’re all the same, when you look deeper, you’ll realise that every member of the family are all very different in terms of their interests and passions – Kylie and her billion-dollar cosmetics company, Kim’s interest in legal reform and Kourtney’s passion for health and wellness.

By having unique interests and passions, each of the Kardashian-Jenners have curated their own personal brands.

Having your own personal brand is essential for setting yourself apart from others in throughout your career. Core to establishing your personal brand, is defining your personal and professional interests. Figure out what you’re passionate about and build this into your own personal story. Turn these into a career pitch and share this with everyone you meet.


2) Honesty is the best policy

If you’ve watched Married at First Sight, you’ll know that the ethics of some of the brides and grooms are questionable. There’s often lots of lying and deceit but one thing is certain: the truth always comes out!

The same concept applies to careers and resumes. When applying for jobs, be honest about your qualifications, your skills and your work experience.

Why? To start with, one lie can lead to another lie. While lying in the short-term may seem beneficial, the long-term consequences need to be considered. Imagine lying on your resume, getting an interview, then landing the job and having to continue with your original lie. Not only is this deceitful, but it can lead to more serious consequences such as losing your job.

It’s also easy to be found out, with many employers cross-checking skills and qualifications with referees.

If you’re worried about not having the right skills or experience, spin your weaknesses into positives. For example, if there is a skill that you haven’t quite mastered yet, be honest about it, and show the recruiter that you’re working on it. Give examples of activities that you’re doing to turn this weakness into a strength – participating in societies, completing an internship, volunteering. Doing this ensures that you’re being honest without jeopardising your chances of landing that dream role.


3) It’s not what you know but who you know

I know, I know. This is one of the most overused phrases, but it’s true.

Remember that episode of KUWTK where Momager Kris set up a meeting for Kendall with one of the US’s elite modelling agencies? Or those times where she was mentored by famous designers? Without these connections (as well as a lot of hard work), Kendall would not be where she is today – one of the world’s most recognised models.

If anything can be learnt from Kendall’s situation, it’s that it’s not what you know but who you know! Connections and networking are everything, especially if you’re trying to get your foot in the door for a new job or at a certain company. And don’t forget that up to 80% of jobs are never advertised.

With this in mind, how do you build connections and open yourself up to amazing opportunities?

Network. Make the time to build connections with your tutors, colleagues or industry professionals either in person or virtually via platforms such as the Professional Mentoring Platform. Doing this can make all the difference. You never know who knows who and what opportunities could arise.


4) Persistence is key

Survivor. Easily one of the best shows with lots of valuable lessons to learn. While contestants face the toughest situations, most persevere through all activities. 

When it comes to your career, persistence is key, particularly in the ever-competitive job-market. From personal experience, rejection happens! However, you can let it destroy you or you can let it fuel you.

Even if you get rejected from a job or don’t make it through the next stage of the recruitment process, get back up and try again. Also, take some time to self-reflect. Learn from your experiences and use this to improve your future performance.


So there you have it. Reality TV isn’t a total waste of time! Even when you’re procrastinating watching another episode, there’s still valuable lessons to learn that can be applied to your career.


Featured image courtesy of Unsplash

Gifs courtesy of giphy

Mikayla Graham

Mikayla Graham

Careers Intern

Mikayla is currently an intern at UTS Careers and is in her final year of a Bachelor of Business majoring in Human Resource Management and Marketing. She has previously had experience as a UTS Peer Networker and enjoys empowering students to take action in their career journeys.