In this series, recent grads share their journey to landing that first job out of college. After years of studying and working toward a degree, these Panthers’ hard work paid off. Now they’re paying it forward by letting you know how they did it.
Name: Veronica Bayona
Hometown: Miami, Florida
Degree/Major: B.S. Broadcast Media
Where are you working? I work as a Reporter for WXXV News 25, in Gulfport, Mississippi.
How did you get your job?
I got my job by contacting the news director, applying, and following up.
What was your greatest fear going into your first job and how did you face it or overcome it?
My greatest fear going into my first job was coming to terms with moving away from home. I overcame it by doing a lot of prioritizing. I laid out all the things that were important to me and realized my top two were my career and family. I thought about it and concluded that family will always be there, but opportunity won’t. I decided that facing my fears in order to achieve my goals and dreams was worth a shot- so I packed up and left.
What surprised you the most about your first job?
Definitely the workload- being a reporter in a smaller market means you will be a one-man band. I am running around town all day long, non-stop. I’ll even have lunch at 10PM sometimes, but in my eyes, that just adds to the adrenaline of it all. Despite the craziness that goes on each day, I am blessed to be doing what I love each and every day.
What advice do you have for those beginning the job search process?
My biggest advice is don’t settle and don’t give up.
Be aggressive with your job search, especially if you are going into News. News Directors receive hundreds of emails daily and it is likely that yours might get lost in the midst of it. Do not be afraid to follow up! It shows that you care and are truly interested.
Also, make sure you know what you want to get out of your first job, so that you may filter your job search accordingly. Don’t just jump at the first opportunity, because it may not be the right one for you. It’s important that you research the company before applying for it. Happiness at work is key!
What does a day on the job look like?
I work nightside so I arrive to work at 1:30 p.m.
Once I’m in the building I check my day book and read what I’ve been assigned for the day. If I haven’t been assigned anything, then that means I must quickly think up a story to cover.
Once I know what I am covering I have to rapidly become an expert on the topic before heading out the door. I make phone calls and try to secure interviews before heading out, in order to avoid delays while on location. Sometimes that won’t work out, though, and you just have to improvise!
I then load up the car with all my equipment.
Once I head out, I am usually responsible for covering either 2 stories, or two live shots and one story. Every day at the station is different, though.
I am also required to post to all our social media platforms about every story I cover.
How does your job connect back to your coursework?
My job connects me back to my course work in several ways. A lot of the terms used in the studio are terms that only a Broadcast Media student would recognize. Also, the software I use to edit (Adobe Premiere) was what I used at school as well. My time at FIU was a learning period. Now, I am putting what I learned to work, and refining my craft.
How has your transition from school to work? How do you balance your time?
Anyone that says it hasn’t been tough is lying. School is a lot more relaxed than work is. At the end of the day, you pay to go to school, but you go to work to get paid. Working Monday through Friday for 8 hours each day is not a walk in the park, but if you are waking up everyday to go to a job you love, it’s totally worth it. Also, being so busy all the time and realizing that weeks were quickly passing by, taught me to be more present in each moment. Since I have so little free time, I make sure I use that time wisely and fill that time with things that make me truly happy.
What’s been the coolest thing about your job so far?
The coolest thing about my job is that every single day is different. The routine may be the same, but the story and people I meet change every day. It’s exciting to always go into work wondering, “What will today be like?” I also love that I must quickly become an expert at whatever subject I am covering. It’s great because I get to learn something new every day, and there is nothing more exciting than learning!