Broadcast Journalism Student Resume
I will be graduating with my undergraduate degree in broadcast journalism within the next year. I am currently in the process of putting together my resume and am in need of some advice. As a professional, what kind of things would you say that I to list in my resume? What types of work that I have done will employers like to see? What kinds of work should be included in my demo reel or portfolio? My dream job is to be a television reporter. What will employers for this job be looking for in an employee?
I don't know (not having any involvement in recruiting that kind ofthing) but I work with broadcast journalists so I might be able to offer the odd observation (which might get the ball rolling).
Most of the reporters I know started as researchers, so a job or internship as a researcher might be a good start.
Have you had anything published?
What have you done to show that you can find out what others can't find out? By the time you have a degree you should be aware that the internet is great for fact-checking, but research is mainly about getting the story from people.
[Where are you? In the UK there is a small number of highly regarded independent production companies making current affairs programmes for Channel 4 and doing anything at one of them, even just making the coffee, can open doors. Look for a similar situation wherever you're located.]
stop this nonsense with the "resume". Either you have experience, or you don't. Either you have the qualifications they want, or you don't. No one is going to hire you to be on air talent out of school. Today, stations, particularly smaller stations that will give you a chance, want cheap labor that can do the job. Can you edit, can you use camera, do you know audio, can you use light, can you write (I assume you can be on air talent as well as a one person crew). You are paying attention to the silly teachers that could not find a job as well. Your opportunity will happen, because a company or station needs cheap, smart labor, and if you say "I can use FCP/AVID/Adobe/Edius, I know P2, I know XDCam EX, I can drive the damn van, I can write my own stories" - then a station may say "hey, we can use this girl". No one wants to see your GPA. No one really wants to see your resume unless it specifically says "I can do exactly what your company needs right now, and I can do it cheaper than the other resume you just got from a more experienced person". Show confidence, show determination - be proactive in following up on your interview - or even trying to get that interview - and you will find something.
Once you are in, work hard - harder than all your friends - as hard as the people that are older working at the station. Put your shame aside - once you are in for a little while, tell the producers "I want to be on air talent - I can write, produce, edit, and drive the damn van, and I want an opportunity to be on air". Some will say "who is this pushy little bitch", but you will get your opportunity.
I have a sixteen year old daughter who wants nothing more than to grow up to be a journalist. While her story may be coming a little late for Elizabeth to benefit from it, perhaps others might.
At age 14 my daughter began writing for her school's newspaper. The next year she was made one of its editors. She then extended her writing skills onto the web on numerous sites. One political site in particular named her author of the month earlier this year.
Both last year and this year she has attended the "Images and Voices of Hope" conference. This is a large number of journalists working in both print and on-air, plus several high level media executives discussing new approaches to national and global issues. As the youngest person there, her first year, she was exceptionally well received, invited to attend the board's mid-year planning meeting for this year's conference and, probably of greatest significance, made friends with a few unbelievably high profile newspaper and TV people.
One of our local TV stations has a once monthly, half hour teen-hosted news show. My daughter submitted an application and (surprise surprise) was able to include a letter of recommendation from the IVOH's President, herself a past on-air talent for CBS News and later a segment producer for 20-20. Needless to say my daughter easily made it through the hundreds of other applicants to the interview phase and was one of seven new kids brought onto the program.
In addition to writing and doing stand-up delivery of per own packages, when one of the third year participants was out sick she was invited to serve as that episode's producer, timing out segments, structuring the show, and cueing the on-air people over the IFB from the control room. This fall she will begin her second year on the show.
Now obviously we have the case of an extremely proud father here, but my daughter already has the start of a killer resume for getting into the business -- and she's just 16 years old. The point is the importance of developing a foundation in writing and story development, getting to know people who can help you learn and advance, starting young and pushing hard toward your objectives. And frankly if you want to be on-air, it doesn't hurt to be quite good looking.
(Proud parent diatribe off.)
Inspiring story Nick.
In my own case, I had no idea what I was going to do with my life before I was 20. Got into college (studying Physics in fact) but hated it and dropped out (not so much the course, but I really didn't like the general living environment and all the other students). After a couple of non-starts I got a job as the lowest runner/tea boy at a small tv facility, decided that tv was interesting and badgered the BBC (I'm in the UK) until they gave me a job as a technical trainee (which happened on my 3rd interview).
TBH they weren't particularly concerned about my lack of degree, but what got them interested was my involvement in amateur dramatics (I'd had a few minor parts in some musicals when I was at school), a little (unpaid) involvement in (very) local radio, Grade 5 on the French Horn, a few gigs playing guitar in a (very bad) rock'n'roll band, had a driving license for both cars and motorbikes, plus of course my experience making tea for some big time actors and my persistence in not taking NO for an answer from themselves. Those little things are what can make one person's application stand out when someone has hundreds to trawl through, even though I didn't realise it at the time (I was really compensating for my poor academic qualifications when I put them down), they showed that I was the kind of person who got out and did stuff (rather than sitting on my ar5e waiting for the world to come to me) and that I was willing to work long hours for low pay.
[Thank you, thank you, thank you, BBC.... of course, being that kind of person meant that I eventually left rather than become a "company man", but I still go back there as a freelancer quite frequently and still love it.]
Sometimes you can luck out when going for a job - I once got an editing job (a few weeks as a freelance) because I drive the "right" kind of car, and I know someone who once got a full-time job because he supports the "right" football team... so you never know... but I wouldn't advise trusting luck, there are too many people pushing hard for the same opportunities that you want.