Back when I was fresh out of college in 1996, all demo tapes were literally on tape. VHS tape didn’t yield very good quality, but in the age before burn-able DVDs and the internet, it was all we had. Continue reading
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. Continue reading
With graduation right coming up, hundreds of student reporters, photographers and meteorologists will be flooding local news stations with hopes of snagging an entry-level job. Landing the first job is always the scariest and most uncertain, and probably also the hardest job to get. Continue reading
It’s resume tape season, so I thought it might be helpful to share some of my thoughts on what makes a great resume tape. You might talk to a dozen news directors on what makes a great tape, and get several different responses back, but I think there are some fundamentals that most can agree on. Continue reading
It’s pretty hard getting a job in broadcast meteorology. Between all the classes and training, the résumé tapes and networking that goes into getting that first job, it can be a pretty daunting task. Continue reading
Over the past few weeks, three more Lyndon State alumni have joined the ranks of employed broadcast meteorologist. Having just graduated in May of 2011, Alison Ciaramitaro, Jordan Sherman and Matt DiPirro have all been able to find their first on-air jobs. It was a great class to work with this past year, and I know all three of them are off to very bright starts.
Alison Ciaramitaro has actually been working for several weeks now. She is the weekend meteorologist and weekday reporter for KMID in Midland, Texas. Its been a record hot summer down there, but she is handling the heat and getting some experience in reporting as well.
Jordan Sherman is now working at KREX in Grand Junction, Colorado. Just like Ally, he’ll be doing weekend weather, and also doing some reporting during the week. Jordan is not the first Lyndon graduate to go through KREX. Sean Parker, class of 2007, got his start there as well.
And Matt DiPirro has just accepted a job at KSWO in Lawton, Oklahoma. He’ll be taking over weekend duties and assisting the chief during the week. The station has a lot of experience handling severe weather, and Matt is certainly up for the challenge.
Congratulations to Ally, Jordan and Matt. Just two years ago, they were starting their first broadcast meteorology classes with me. They all put in a ton of hard work to get where they are, and they each deserve this chance to work as professionals. I know this is just the start of three promising careers and I wish them the best of luck.
Another Lyndon State College alumnus is moving up this summer. Adam Rutt is now working the weekend meteorologist shift at WMGM in Atlantic City, New Jersey. Adam is originally from eastern Pennsylvania and knows the region well. He had a summer internship at WMGM just a few years ago, and goes to show the value of a good internship.
I think this job will be a great fit for Adam. In the two years we spent together at Lyndon State, he was always a great broadcast meteorologist. Not only was he great on camera early on, but he is an excellent forecaster and a ninja with the weather graphics. He was always quick to help the weather newbies who were just getting started. I really enjoyed working with Adam and I know he is going to do well.
As a bonus, he’s going to be working with Dan Skeldon. I was able to get to know Dan while he worked at WVNY here in Burlington, Vermont. Dan is another great guy and I’m happy to see he’s found a nice spot at WMGM. I’d also like to thank him for having a few Lyndon State students intern there over the past couple of years.
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.
I’m happy to report that another Lyndon State alumni is moving up to a new job. Hayley LaPoint (’09) is leaving her job in Fargo, North Dakota for a morning job in the Champlain Valley at WPTZ. Hayley was great to work with during her time at Lyndon State, and excelled at the reporting and news anchoring as well as the broadcast meteorology. You could always tell that she was determined to do well and knew where she wanted to go. After two years out west, I know that she is happy to be returning to New England.
WPTZ has a history of hiring Lyndon State College graduates. Cindy Fitzgibbon (’95) and Keith Carson (’05) have also spent time at the Plattsburg station. Hayley will now make for three Lyndon State broadcast meteorologists doing the morning weather in the Burlington/Plattsburg market. She’ll be joining Gary Sadowsky (’92) and Kerrin Jeromin (’08) who are already working the early shift at WCAX and Fox 44, respectively. Counting Hayley, we’ll now have five Lyndon State alumni working on-air in the Champlain Valley.
I know that Hayley will a good fit at WPTZ. Hayley also says that now she is back in New England, she’s looking forward to working more with Lyndon State, and helping the upcoming broadcast meteorologists. I think hearing the stories and advice from alumni are some of the best teaching tools we can provide for new mets. I look forward to having Hayley back in the market, and hope that we can work together on future projects. I’ll update her links in the Lyndon State alumni section has soon as she gets started at her new station, sometime in mid August.
Graduation seems like it was ages ago. You were pretty fired up to get that first job in broadcast meteorology a month and a half ago, but today you are starting to feel a little disheartened about the whole thing. That’s okay, but I’m here to tell you its way too early to throw in the towel.
Hopefully you know already that there are more broadcast meteorologists out there than jobs available to fill them, so the field is pretty competitive. You might have been the best in your graduating class, but there are plenty of other schools putting out good broadcast meteorologists as well. In addition, you might be up against more seasoned mets who have been working for a year or two who are looking to make a lateral move, or bump up from part time to full time. So right from the start, you’ve got a lot of qualified people all applying for the same jobs you are. That doesn’t mean you won’t find your spot. You just need to keep working at it, and planning for the long run.
Here are a couple of things to consider if you are still looking for that first job in broadcast meteorology:
It looks like such a glamorous career with the bright studio lights and television cameras, broadcasting live to homes every morning and evening. Many students are drawn to the profession because they think they’ll find fame and fortune. Well you might get some fame, but the fortune part is a little bit harder.
Your starting salary as a broadcast meteorologist will likely be between $19,000 and $24,000. I’ve seem some mets start out with more, and others offered even less, but in my best guess, this is what you should plan on for the first two years out of college.
It all revolves around the perception of local news. The public, in general, is under the impression that we make more, which makes more students coming out of high school want to join the field. After graduation you’ll find that there are likely more mets than jobs to place them all, which creates a glut of talent at the bottom. With dozens of eager mets all competing for the same open spot, News Directors have the power to offer very little for the position. If you won’t work for $20,000, there are a bunch of others that will. Its not like small market stations are making that much money to begin with anyway.
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?
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.