Getting that on-air TV job

tanya_carter3First and foremost, it’s not about you.

Tanya Carter is assistant news director at WABG-TV in Greenville, Miss.  She’s also one of the primary news anchors, so she’s seen both sides of the job hunt.  She’s says that just having a good camera presence is not enough to get you hired.

“So, you have the look, that’s good,” said Carter.  “Now what else do you have?”

Carter was part of a panel of news managers who shared their thoughts on what someone looking for on-air work in TV or radio should bring to the table.  Their list included the practical and the intangible.

  • Bring solid writing skills and video work that’s filled with natural sound.
  • Don’t submit a “glamor shot” with your resume and don’t wear flip-flops to the interview.  (In other words, look professional.)
  • Have a valid drivers license — they won’t hire you without one.
  • Show heart and passion and come in with ideas — story ideas, ideas on how the newscasts could be better or the social media could be improved.
  • Bring a desire to work hard and be sure to research the company and the market before you apply for the job.

Ben Hart is the news director at WAPT in Jackson, Miss.  He echoes the idea that coming well prepared to a job interview is essential.

“Know everything about the station,” Hart said. “Know what just happened in the news, especially the local news.”

Hart says that you have have something that makes you stand out from the hundreds of other applicants.  And, unfortunately, WCBI News Director Robert Davidson says you shouldn’t come to the job interview with dollars signs in your eyes.

“Learn how to cook Ramen noodles.”