For TV reporters, how you look is first hurdle in job hunt

Sure, it’s important to be a good writer, a strong storyteller and an excellent journalist, but Talent Acquisition Lead at The E.W. Scripps Company Matt Miller says that might not be enough to get you hired.  He says he’ll watch a resume reel for 10-15 seconds on average before deciding whether a candidate is worth investigating further.

“Number one is how you look, then how you interact,” said Miller.  “You have to speak clearly, be memorable.  Content is second.”

Miller says that he’s typically trying to pick the best five reporter candidates from a pool that may have 50-100 applicants.  He says a reporter reel should be 3-5 minutes long, starting with a stand up montage of 30-40 seconds.  He’s looking for creativity and movement, interaction with the environment or the use of props.

He also has a number of general recommendations for job hunters:

  • Create your own website:
  • Customize your resume for the job you are seeking; don’t use the same one for every job.
  • Keep that resume to one page and focus on relevant experience, forget mentioning the job at Applebee’s.  Make it easier on recruiters by including references on that same page.

Miller points to this job applicant’s use of key words as an important tool in the job hunt.

Miller says he uses social media regularly for recruiting, especially for producer candidates.

“LinkedIn is Facebook for professionals.  If you’re not on it, get on it.”

And once you’re there, Miller says you need to be smart.  Think about the key words someone may be using to look for reporter or producer candidates, i.e. multimedia journalist, TV reporter, news producer, etc.

He also offers a word of warning from years of wading through candidate missteps.

  • Avoid spelling errors; you don’t look professional if you misspell words.
  • The overall look of your resume tells potential employers what kind of person you are. Colored paper and italicized font might appeal to some, but you’re taking the chance of turning someone off.
  • Select your social media profile picture carefully.  You don’t want to look goofy on LinkedIn or dress like Darth Vader on Facebook.

Miller says right now there’s good news and bad news for job candidates.

“There are jobs out there, the question is, are you in market 100 or 175?  You may have to think of your next job as grad school,” said Miller.  And he reminds job hunters that there is a lot of competition.

“One misstep and it knocks you off the board because there are others there ready to take your place.”