How to get a job in broadcasting: tips from the pros

Natalie Sequeira and Anthony Thurairatnam from Centennial College/University of Toronto Journalism meeting Leslie Roberts and Ward Smith of Global News Toronto

Attended a great session of the Ontario Association of Broadcasters annual Career Day at the Rogers headquarters in Toronto yesterday, with some of my students from Centennial College and the University of Toronto.

They were among a hundred eager young broadcasters from colleges across southern Ontario and universities who came equipped with talent, passion, and file folders containing resumes. Some students  came dressed for on air TV jobs, while others wore jeans but needed only to say a few words out loud to hear the golden pipes they were born with that could land them a dream job.

And there is hiring going on. After the recession, the good news is, folks are hiring.

The Ontario Association of Broadcasters annual career day is an important meet and greet opportunity for students.  The gathering attracts news directors, sales managers, human resources personnel, and internship coordinators from stations such as 680 News, CHCH News, Bayshore Broadcasting, Haliburton Broadcasting, Evanov Radio, Astral, Durham Radio, and Global News, to name but a few.

As the OAB is for private radio stations and TV stations, the CBC is not a member.

Students get the opportunity to sit in small groups at round tables for 25 minute “speed-dating” type sessions, divided by field of interest, and chat with the folks who do the hiring. So if they wanted to do radio production, they sat there. If radio sales was their thing, they made a beeline for that session.
And after 25 minutes, the students rotate to the next table.

Nicholas Pescod of Centennial College promotes  his radio show Radio Nation at Ontario Association of Broadcasters

At the TV news table, I listened in as students chatted with Global Toronto anchor Leslie Roberts,   along with News Director and Station Manager Ward Smith, and CHCH TV News Executive Producer  John McKenna.  I asked all three some of the questions which students usually ask me over the years: how often should I call, I don’t want to see that I am annoying, and should I call, or email, or come in person?

Some of the tips they gave to students:

Ward Smith:
1) Do send him emails but call as well. Don’t be afraid to be persistent. He may not have time to answer today, but keep trying.
2) Don’t check your Facebook while on an internship there. They notice.
3)Do  work at Rogers TV as a volunteer in their community cable stations, to gain experience and a demo tape

Leslie Roberts

1) Do come to story meetings with ideas. Offer to get interviews. Don’t sit in a corner and just shotlist tapes.
2) Do make the camera person your best friend while on an internship, and ask to do stand ups and on cameras with company microphone flags, for your portfolio

John McKenna

1) Don’t call. He prefers email.

Matilda Miranda of Centennial College at the Ontario Association of Broadcasters career day 2011

Earlier in the day, a panel of experts called Getting Started gave the students some general advice about how to hunt for jobs, how to send out cover letters and resumes and .mp3 audition tapes.

Laura Broughton,  Manager from human resources, Rogers Media Broadcasting offered these tips:

Rogers won’t even look at your resume if there is no cover letter, as it shows you didn’t take the time to carefully tailor your master copy to the particular job.

If you have spelling mistakes, the application gets thrown out.

If you address it to Dear Sir, that’s a no no. Find out the name of the person, as it shows you have done your homework.

Keep track of which jobs you apply for so if you receive a call back, you remember which job it was for.

Use words in your letter and resume that are found in the job description, so that the Rogers’ Human Resources software program will find those words and move your resume higher up in the sorting process it uses. So if they ask for “experienced researcher” make sure you use those exact words somewhere in your own letter and resume.

Andrew Forsyth, consultant, had these tips:
1) mention community service or volunteering that you do outside of your journalism life
2) spell check !!

3) Once you get the interview, do you homework! Know the program, know the show, know the station. Be a fan. Tell them why you like the show.
4) Even if you hate country music, apply for the job at a country station. You can learn and it will lead to other gigs elsewhere.

Corey Fuchs of MediajobsearchCanada with students at Ontario Association of Broadcasters career day 2011

Corey Fuchs, founder of  Media Job Search Canada, biggest online job site in the country for media says

1) 2,800 companies pay to look through resumes posted to his site, so post your resume there.

Steve Kowch, Author and Radio News consultant, former PD Newstalk 1010 says:

1)Do take charge of the interview. Tell them what you can do for them.
2) When they say “Do you have any questions for us?” have one or two questions prepared (not about salary). Know the station. Ask about philosophy or some of the station’s recent strategies.

All excellent food for thought!

3 thoughts on “How to get a job in broadcasting: tips from the pros”

  1. Thanks for this great advice, its a little intimidating trying to break into broadcasting but every bit helps!

  2. Broadcasting is a lot like other entertainment sectors. At the end of the day, the success of a broadcast outlet like a TV or radio station depends on its ability to entertain its audience, satisfy its audience's hunger for information, or

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