Tips For Landing That Job

Jeff HinkleJeff Hinkle is the Assistant Art Director at WCIU-TV. He was one of the panelists at our 2013 Career Day event, held April 6 at Columbia College.

Your resume is typed up. Your cover letter is a thing of beauty. Your references are glowing. Everything naughty is off your Facebook and Twitter accounts. Now the only thing standing between you and that coveted job is the interview. But before you find yourself in the Chair of Many Questions, there’s a few things you should keep in mind.

Dress The Part:That old saw about first impressions and second chances is true. I often see people coming in for an interview looking like they’re on their way to grab some brews with the bros. Guys, seriously, break out the suit and tie. Ladies, you have more options, but a business suit is still your best bet. You want to be seen as a professional; dress like one.

Do Some Research: Yes, an interview is primarily to gauge your skill set and see how you’d fit with the company, but at some point they’re going to ask if you have any questions. Have some. Go online beforehand and familiarize yourself with their products. Ask the interviewer about her career and training. Show some interest and initiative. You’ll look much better than the fellow who only asks about how much vacation time he gets.

Lose the Ego:There’s a fine line between confidence and arrogance. So many applicants have this entitled attitude, like they’re doing the company a huge favor by merely showing up for the interview. If I’m choosing between two applicants of roughly equal skill level, I’ll take the person with the positive, pleasant attitude every time. I’ll even take a slightly less-skilled applicant over one who’s highly skilled but impossible to work with. Skills can be taught, but attitude can’t.

Remember Me? A couple days after the interview, send a letter to the interviewer, thanking him for his time and the opportunity. Include your contact information again with an offer to get in touch with you if they have any further questions. It shows follow-through and helps them to remember you. And don’t call repeatedly to pester them about the decision. Trust me, when they know, you’ll know.

Remember, a diploma is not a get-a-job-free card; it merely unlocks the door. Once you’re through, it’s up to you to convince them you’re the person for the job. The more professional impression you make, the better your odds of making the cut.

And showing up with donuts doesn’t hurt either.


Why I Want to Be a TV News Producer

Isabel MoralesIsabel Morales is a senior at the University of Illinois studying broadcast journalism and is scheduled to graduate in May. The Pekin, IL native is looking for a job as a producer.

Ten minutes before the Midday show was about to air and reports of a bank robbery began to buzz through the police scanner. All of the practice as an intern producer for WICD Channel 15 and long hours of training at the University of Illinois had prepared me for this — breaking news. It was a refreshing reminder of why I want to be a TV news producer.

The broadcast journalism program at the U of I isn’t very big. My reporting and television classes had about 10 people, each of whom we got to know very well throughout the semester. We knew who was good at putting together a hard news story, who was the creative shooter and who really didn’t want to get into the “business” — which was almost half of my class. Three of my classmates wanted to be reporters, nobody was interested in anchoring and only one had dreams of becoming a producer — me.

Shooting and editing a story for TV class is equivalent to writing a 10 page essay for History class. It takes time, you need sources, and you need to be accurate. Reporting was fun because I would get to talk to actual people and get access to information not everyone has. But I knew reporting wasn’t for me, like a pair of heels that look great on the rack, but realistically make your feet sore after wearing them for an hour.Isabel Morales

So my junior year, I applied for a producing internship with WICD and it reinforced what I already knew — my strength lies in writing, organizing, and editing. They hired me, and soon I was producing entire shows, writing scripts, organizing the rundown, and editing video. These were a pair of shoes I knew I could run a few miles in.

Last summer, I interned with NBC Chicago. I can’t even begin to explain how valuable that summer was to my career focus. I was able to investigate stories, go out with reporters, and even field produce. I would practice reporting on camera, watch the recording later, cringe, and hope to do better next time. But really, I knew I wanted to be back in the producer chair, organizing the show, deciding what stories would be aired, writing scripts and watching the clock to make sure the show stays within 30 minutes.

The bank robbery tip was placed at the top of the Midday show. I wrote a quick 20 second script with the information we had with a couple minutes to spare. By the end of the show we learned that there was another bank robbery within minutes of the first. It was a busy breaking news day and it felt great that I was able to say I produced that show.