I get a lot of college seniors asking what they need to do to get my job. Well right now, your first job is your most important job. But how do you make that initial first step on the path to landing your dream job? Make that reel!

Getting your foot in the door in this industry can be one of the toughest parts of your career. I did anything and everything to break through. The way you, as a broadcaster, will make your first impression to potential employers is your resume reel (or tape like us old school folks say😉). You could have the best resume of the bunch, but if your presence on-camera or potential on-screen doesn’t catch their attention — they won’t bite. But don’t panic! They know you are a student and that this is your first gig — so don’t expect your tape to look like a seasoned veteran’s. Just look at my tape from college😂😂

CAUTION: it might make you laugh…

The first 6-10 seconds of your reel are the most important. If they don’t like you in the first several seconds, they’ll quit watching. So choose quick clips that show your versatility, that make you look the best and that allow your skills and personality to shine through. It’s later in the reel where you can really show off your broadcasting and story-telling chops with full clips. If you create a website (which you should) you can also showcase full story or show clips separately for others to watch further if they are interested.

I also encourage you to even make different reels for different employers, showcasing what you think each particular one might be looking for.

So maybe you’re thinking, “this is all great Teryn, but how do I get the clips to put in my reel?” Great question! Take advantage of the opportunities around you! Volunteer at your local television station, work for your school’s athletic department or television station. If you have an internship, ask to record different stand-ups in the field or studio whenever there’s ample time.

Not only are you building your tape but you are also getting valuable reps in front of the camera.

Your final semester can be your most critical. This is the time where you can really give it your all and get as many on-camera reps as you can. And let’s face it, this is the person you want to sell to employers. If you have a spectacular story you’d like to showcase that you did a few years ago, that’s fine — but also think about if you really want to put your freshman self on-camera in the reel.

I also get a lot of people asking me if they should be panicking because their friends in engineering or finance already have jobs lined up. DON’T WORRY! Most broadcast students don’t get offers until right around graduation. (Or if you are like me, not until several years later.) Companies in this business typically look to fill their openings on a semi-immediate basis, rarely do they have openings on hold for months or semesters. This is a much different game you are getting yourself into than many of your friends.

The Takeaway: work on that tape and buckle up! This isn’t industry for the faint of heart. (But that’s why we love it, right?!)