There are a lot of broadcast meteorologists out there. Its a cool job and a lot of people want it. There are also a limited number of jobs openings, especially if you are just out of college. In order to stand out from the pack, you need an edge. You should have something in your bag of tricks that makes you a better candidate than the rest of the competition. Keep in mind, these skills don’t take the place of being a knowledgeable meteorologist who knows what to do at the green wall. Those things need to come standard. Here are a few bonus skills that will help get your resume to the top of the stack.
Reporting, Shooting and Editing – This one is easily at the top of the list. Most entry level meteorologists start out as a weekend met/weekday reporter. Most meteorologists either don’t have a journalism program available at college, or are just too busy to take advantage of it. Those that do get some reporting skills have a big advantage right off the bat. You save the news director from having to train you on news gathering, and allow yourself to jump right in and be ready to go. You don’t necessarily need to get a journalism degree or minor, but knowing your way around a camera and edit deck are two excellent things to have on your resume.
Weather Computer Experience – Every broadcast meteorologist learn how to use the weather graphics computer. These systems get more and more complex every year, and coming in already knowing how to use WSI or Weather Central can be a huge advantage. Even better, if you know the system and can create great graphics on them, you will be an asset to the weather department. There is a difference between knowing how it works, and being able to do great things with it. Its nice if you had an internship where they let you play with the system once and a while, its even better if you had a WSI at college which you got to use everyday for your own weathercasts.
Live Broadcast Performances – There is nothing like live television to test ad-lib skills and nerves of a broadcast meteorologist. Most college broadcast mets get the chance to do taped weathercasts, but weekly, live broadcasts really add a whole other level of expertise. You don’t want to have your first live show at your first real job, so its important to take advantage of whatever your campus television station has to offer, as often as you can.
Writing and Social Media Skills – This is an emerging skill set, but becoming more and more important every day. If you someone who stays on top of social media trends and knows how to connect to viewers online, you have something extra to offer to a news director. Its also important to be able to be a good writer with a creative mind to create your own weather-related content every week. If you can build and engage an audience online, it can lead to an increase in viewership for your station.
Some of these skills are largely dependent on the college you are going to. Its very hard to learn a weather computer system, if there isn’t one on campus. You can’t learn to report and edit if the school does not have a journalism or electronic media program. Most high school students aren’t even thinking about these things when they are looking for a good school with a good meteorology program. Four years down the road, after graduation, it can mean the difference between getting that job and not getting it. Do what you need to do to set yourself apart.