I often look to our Lyndon State alumni for advice and tips to pass along to our current students. Our alumni have been through the broadcast meteorology program and are now out there, working at local television stations all across the country. I asked Mike Lichniak, who is the morning meteorologist for WOAY in Oak Hill, West Virginia, for a few job hunting tips for new broadcasts meteorologists. Here’s Mike:
Patience is going to be a virtue. I know from looking at the job sites and from talking with people in the business it is getting harder and harder to move from station to station, even if you do have the AMS certified seal. I know it will seem like some kids get a job right away and for you, and it might be a struggle but don’t ever give up! If you really want to be in the game of television, because sometimes it feels like a game when applying to jobs, show people that you are willing to work hard and don’t be deterred by time, it took me well over 6 months to get my first job and will probably take as long to find my second one.
Make your tape as unique as you can. It’s about the first 15 seconds for news directors to decide if they want to hire you or not. This statement is true more now then ever. With such high end products being made by companies like Barons, WSI, and Weather Central(WXC), you need to show that you know how to use the computer’s full potential. Yeah, it’s great that WSI and WXC make it simple and easy to make a suite of graphics and you never have to update them or could do all your work within 15 minutes, graphics wise of course. Take the time and make a 3D look of the surface map and make unique looking today, tonight and tomorrow graphics. Show a future employer that you’re not a plug and play met. Show them you can redesign the whole suite of graphics if you have to or update them to HD. Give them other reasons than your presentation to get hired and make yourself multi-functional in the weather and news department.
Be yourself! It seems so hard because you’re in front of the camera and that you’re thinking about what you are saying and who might be watching the show. If you worry about that all the time, you will not let yourself get out of the shell. Your graphics behind you are to help tell a story and you know the story. Make it simple and understand for the viewer to comprehend it. Along with that, have some fun because if your not having fun, then it’s a job! I was just like you: stiff, stumbling, and bumbling. Your goal in college is to get looser and feel comfortable. I know it’s hard to hear this because you are worrying about grades and how one person interprets your work. Make a couple graphics that allow you to make a one-liner or just give a big smile. It goes a long way in helping you further your career.
Thanks Mike. Its certainly a challenge to shine through the stack of demo tapes out there. Take Mike’s advice by hanging in there, putting together a solid tape and playing to your strengths, and you’ll give yourself the best chance for success.