Sometimes, the best way to describe how to do something, is to show the opposite. Here are some examples of ways, real, aspiring journalists have really shot themselves in the proverbial foot when job hunting. We are poking some fun, but please know it is to help prevent more of these scenarios.
One ND I worked for describes getting a pizza box from a young reporter wanting a gig. Inside the box was a tape, resume and cover letter saying the reporter knew how to “deliver” on a story. The trouble was, the call letters for the station were wrong on the letter and the reporter misspelled the manager’s name. This ND’s quote, “so much for delivery.”
Many ND’s and AND’s love to share stories about the “idiots” who get their names wrong. I mean, they get the names VERY wrong, then are put off and send fiery emails when the ND doesn’t give them an interview.
Speaking of fiery responses, I once had an anchor candidate call and bless me out (I was an EP) because my station never called to interview him. One of my producers told me about him and I agreed only to hand the ND the anchor’s information. This anchor then thought he had an “in” with me and kept calling asking for status updates. When he read that we hired someone else, he called and told me what a crap station we were and that we all sucked. Yes, I still remember. And, no, I will never help you again.
Then there’s the reporter who sent a manager I know a resume and reel and actually put checkboxes at the end of the email, so the manager could check if he was interested or not, right then and there. His question, why wasn’t there a “could have been, had you not done this” option?
My last interesting scenario, a reporter who sent a long email explaining why a station’s decision not to hire them was a horrible mistake. This was like a manifesto. You would be surprised how many managers get emails like this, where the person has to justify to you that you are messed up, that the person knows he/she is wonderful at their profession. Just remember email, like the internet, never truly disappears.
Oh and keep in mind, if you cannot get a manager’s name and the station’s call letters right, you will not get a call back, no matter how “brilliant” you are. Strange, but true!