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: Molly Garrity, anchor and executive producer at KIDY in San Angelo, Texas.
I didn’t really start looking until spring of my senior year (or if we’re REALLY honest, after graduation). For some reason I had this idea in my head that I would just get a job without trying. Wrong. I applied in Boise and Spokane. That’s it. And surprise, surprise, it took over a year of sending out emails, resumes, emails and more resumes before I finally got a bite.
Do you remember what you included on your first tape/work sample?
My first tape is cringeworthy, but it’s the best I had. Tip for students: Do as much on-air work as you can to make your reel as good & long as possible. My first reel is 1:30, and includes literally everything I had to work with. Slacking and procrastinating are not your friend, and I learned that the hard way when I began putting together my reel. Give yourself options!
How many rejections did you get?
Rejections? None. But I got a whole lot of silence from news directors (the same news directors who came calling after I finally got a job at a different station, I might add).
Did you have to change anything about your approach to the job search?
ABSOLUTELY! I tell everyone I can to GET AN INTERNSHIP. I worked a part-time job in college (not in the broadcasting industry) and decided I didn’t have time for an internship. Instead, I wasted time I could have been learning more about the business and making impressions on future employers, working somewhere I knew would only be part time.
What happened in your first interview?
My first interview was at KREM 2 News in Spokane, WA. I’d applied for their Morning Weather position, but being so inexperienced the News Director asked if I’d consider producing. We met at the station, then went to dinner with the news director and executive producer. Dinner interviews are the best, because if you’re nervous you have something (food) to distract you. And you can always take a bite of food as they’re asking a question to give you more time to think (no talking with food in your mouth). Then it was back to the station for a current events quiz & writing test. I think it went well, since they offered me the job :)
Did you ever turn down a job offer? Why?
After 2.5 years producing and reporting at KREM I was offered an Anchor/EP position at my current station KIDY/KXVA in West Texas. The same day I was offered the TX job, my ND at KREM offered me a promotion as a producer. I’ll tell you that was one of the most difficult decisions I’ve ever made… but I chose the Anchor gig in TX & couldn’t be happier!
When did you get an offer? How did it happen?
My first “offer” came from the ND in Texas. I’d put a link of my most recent work on Youtube and got an email out of the blue from this News Director saying he thought I’d be a good fit for their open anchor position. After several email & phone conversations, he sent me a contract. I told him I wouldn’t sign anything unless they flew me down to meet the team and see the station. Long story short, they flew me down and I fell in love with the town. Packed up my car and drove from Washington to Texas in early September and I’ve been here ever since!
Looking back, what would you have changed about the process?
I wish I’d gotten an internship and applied for jobs outside of Spokane right out of college. I’m proud of the path I’ve taken to get to be on-air, but I’m sure if I’d broadened my search out of college I would have gotten on-air sooner. I also wish I’d asked for more help from mentors. I hope future broadcasters take me seriously when I say I’m MORE THAN HAPPY to answer any questions they have about the business! I wish I’d taken that advice!
(Editor’s note: follow Molly on Twitter @MollyGarrity)