• Have Degree, Will Travel: Being Flexible When Looking For Your First Job

    Every broadcast meteorologist has a dream job. Its a position in a market that they’ve either grown up in, or always wanted to work in. What comes as a surprise to many graduating mets is the reality that getting to that dream job can be a long journey, that usually begins with a job in a small market television station. Many mets might be reluctant to work at a tiny station, or move hundreds of miles away from home, but those that do find themselves one step closer to where they ultimately would like to be.

    Plan on starting in a bottom 100 market. Those are markets in the 100 to 200 range. You can find the whole list here. The bottom hundred is filled with smaller towns all over the country, which usually pays smaller wages, and more likely to hire mets just out of college. If you can start in the top 100, great. I’ve had several students at Lyndon who have done it, but if you set your sights too high at the start of your search, you might miss out on some opportunities.

    Be willing to travel, perhaps far from home. The more flexible you are on where you are willing to go, the more likely you’ll be to spend your summer working on-air, rather than at Home Depot and living with your parents. The sooner you get started, the quicker you’ll be moving on to your next gig, closer to that dream job.

    Be ready to stay a while. Most entry-level job opening will likely to have you sign a two year contract. They are going to spend some time training you and promoting you, so they’ll want you to hang around for them to make worth their time. Contracts are binding, and something you should take seriously, so make sure you know what you are getting into.

    After a few years working in the industry, you might find that the job you thought you wanted, isn’t where you want to be today. Life changes, and so will your goals for the future. Don’t stress out so much about where you want to be, and try and spend more time thinking about what you want to do today.

    Where is your dream job?

  • Double Duty

    I think one of the big secrets about broadcast meteorology is that in your first local television job, you’ll likely be doing some reporting. You see, the bottom shift in the pecking order of TV news is the weekend gig. If you work either evenings or mornings on the weekend, you’re going to need to do something else during the week to make you full time. Some stations allow you to be a weather producer during the week and others just keep you part time, leaving it up to you how to pay the rent. The most common option is to do some reporting to help out the news department.

    This comes as a surprise to many mets because its something they rarely learn in college. Its hard enough to learn the meteorology, then master all the chroma-key and studio skills, so it makes it very difficult to get in any kind of time learning how to shoot, edit and report. You can see why picking the right school and getting the chance to learn those skills can be so crucial. You can probably imagine that having the choice better a met, and a met who can report, a News Director might be inclined to choose the one with the bigger bag of tricks.

    If you’ve just graduated, and never reported before, don’t freak just yet. Many News Directors are used to this problem and are usually prepared to train you on the job. No doubt, you’ll likely learn boatloads in your first weeks on the job. With the entry-level job market as crowded as it is, if you can get the chance to learn how to tell stories electronically, picking up that extra class or two would be a big boost to the resume.