Wednesday, October 28, 2009

News Director's playbook: The memorable resume tape story

I'm giving you some homework. I want you to visit some of those online resume tape services and check out the tapes of other people looking for jobs. I want you to just watch the first story on each tape.

After you've watched 50 or 60 tapes, stop. Now write down the stories you thought were so different that they stuck out.

Now you know how a News Director feels when watching tapes. And who makes the short list.

So many people ask me, "How do I find that perfect resume tape story?" Well, there's no specific formula, but in this case you need to make your own luck. As the old saying goes, luck happens when preparation meets opportunity.

Sometimes you get lucky and a resume tape story drops into your lap. Then again, sometimes that happens and you don't recognize it.

So how can you prepare yourself so you'll be ready when the stars align?

-Learn to look for the third side of the story. Average reporters look at the obvious; you need to stretch your imagination and find a different point of view.

-Read as much as you can. With all sorts of publications free of charge on the internet, there's no excuse for not reading. Many times something you read will be the spark that ignites a fantastic story.

-Come to work every day as if the perfect story is already on the board with your name on it. If the story hits without warning, you want to look your best and give 100 percent.

-Don't be afraid to work a story on your own time. Some great stories take time to develop, and they might not do so during your shift.

-Talk to everyone you meet and hand out a business card. If someone has a great story, they'll call you instead of just dialing the newsroom.

I was once putting a tape together and was pulling my hair out about which three stories to include. I grabbed the Chief Photog and asked his opinion. "You've got too much stuff," he said.

Nice problem to have, huh?

Hopefully you'll all have that problem soon, but it won't happen unless you're ready.

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