With graduation quickly approaching, scores of so-to-be graduate broadcast meteorologists will be sending out demos for local TV jobs. Some students have been working toward this date for many months, refining their resumes and demos, hoping for the best chance of securing that first on-air job. Others have no idea what is needed or even where to start looking. Most entry-level broadcast met jobs will see over sixty applicants for a single vacancy, and over the next four months, you’ll likely see only a few dozen openings. Putting together a great application package could likely mean the difference between spending next fall working on local television or in the plumbing section at Home Depot.
Over the past few months, proactive students mets have sent me questions at firstname.lastname@example.org about the job search process. Here are a few of those questions with my best answers in hope of helping out a few more out there.
1. What type of envelope is the standard for sending out demo DVDs with resumes to television stations?
It probably doesn’t matter. I think standard padded envelopes are fine. I don’t think you gain anything by sending them overnight or priority either. I’ve seen people do that and it doesn’t really matter much. If you could print out labels for addresses, I think that’s a nice touch.
It’s been my experience that a News Director will wait about two weeks for tapes to come in before they start making calls. They’ll call first, invite the top two or three for an interview, and make an offer from there. The whole thing should wrap up in a little over a month.. maybe two months. I’ve seen some openings go a lot longer though. It’s usually a red flag that something else is going on behind the scenes.
3. Are there websites out there that are good for finding broadcast meteorologist jobs?
I post jobs on my site, but I think it would be worth your while to spend $40 and get a one year subscription to TVJobs.com. I think most openings are posted there. Medialine.com is also another spot you can check out, but any job there is usually already on TVJobs.
4. When sending the DVD to the station can I also include a link of my work that is on YouTube….they would be more examples of my work…different than the DVD itself.
Yes, include a link to your YouTube material in your cover letter. ND’s always like to see bonus material if you have it. The demo is the most important, but if you have other good stuff, put it up there.
7. What should be included on the label for the DVD itself….name, phone number, weather demo? If I have Lightscribe on my computer can I used that or use a DVD label program and attach the label to the DVD?
I think a DVD label should have a Name, email, phone and “Broadcast Meteorologist”. Printed out labels are great. The cleaner, the better.
8. When is a good time to begin sending resumes and demos out to stations that are hiring? I graduate in the beginning of May….wait until I graduate or start in late April?
I’d start looking in mid April and send out to spots that look promising. You might get early feedback on your tape that you might be able to improve in the last month. Keep polishing it up and adding better material right up until graduation.
9. About how long should a demo be?….and what should be included within the slate at the first 5 and last 5 seconds of the demo?
The length of the whole thing depends on how much you have. You don’t want to show the same thing (or same type of thing) over and over again. So if all you have is chroma key, I’d pick out a few clips for the montage and then a full weather hit. For what you have at the moment, I’d keep it under six minutes, tops. The slate should have your name, email, degree and maybe a contact phone number. Just be careful that if its something you are posting to YouTube, that you don’t have any information you don’t want out there. The slate is just a good way to say hello and goodbye, and has contact info if they lose everything else.
10. About how many pieces should I have included within the demo? 7 second best clip, co-anchor desk, weather desk, wall??
Again, it all depends on what you have. I wouldn’t repeat too much. Keep it all fresh and interesting. So 7 seconds best clip, 7 seconds desk, 7 seconds something else at the wall, 7 seconds outside, 7 seconds weather center?.. when you run out of interesting stuff, you stop and go to the main hit. (and 7 seconds is just an estimate, complete the thought before you move on).
In the end, if you’ve got a degree and a great demo, you’ll find your way to a spot eventually. You can find more on putting together resume tapes here. It’s better to avoid early mistakes and start getting experience right away than to spend a summer trying to put together something you should be working on now. Got a demo you’d like some feedback on? I’d be happy to check it out.