Everyone takes a different path to their first media job. Some people land their first choice right out of college. Others need to apply to dozens of places before landing an interview. There’s not a perfect way to get the job you want, but it can help to learn from the experience of others. In our feature “How I Got the Job,” we talk to some of the best people working professionally in media about what they did to get a foot in the door, and what it took to finally sign the contract. This week: Lindsay Joy, sports anchor/reporter for KHQ in Spokane, Wash.
I started sending out tapes right after graduation in May, but I probably should have started a month or two sooner.
Do you remember what you included on your first tape?
A mix of anchoring and reporting, and two packages.
How many rejections did you get?
I didn’t ever really get notified of rejections, but I probably sent out 20-30 tapes without hearing anything back at all.
Did you have to change anything about your approach to the job search?
In my first one, no. In more recent searches I’ve sent my tape out just for feedback and changed some things around.
What happened in your first interview?
It was a phone interview for a news/sports job in Casper Wyoming. We just talked about my background, the job, and what Casper was like.
Did you ever turn down a job offer? Why?
In my most recent job search, yes. I liked the job, but I had some other jobs in the works so I decided to see how those worked out.
What was your experience like during your in-person interview?
My first in-person interview was for my job in Charlottesville. I spent the whole day with the sports director, and also interviewed with the news director for about 30 minutes. In smaller markets, the in-person interview is often a formality, just making sure they really want to hire you and that you like the place as well.
When did you get an offer? How did it happen?
For all three of my jobs, the offers have come over the phone a week or two after I initially interviewed. In my experience, the news director has called and explained the offer and given a couple days to think about things and accept.
Looking back, what would you have changed about the process?
I think I could have started the process sooner in a couple of situations. It’s never too early to have your tape together, to send it out to people for feedback, and to start applying. Even if you’re under contract or still in school, there’s no harm in sending stuff out just to see what happens.