Do’s And Don’ts When Applying For A Dream Gig As A Personality

What is the best way to Get That Gig when there are more available personalities than great positions? It starts with the demo package. Here are some Do and Don't primers.

You have the ability. The talent is there. Every personality has been through the pain of sifting through hours of audio in search of awesomeness. Finally, the tedious searching, skimming, and editing are complete. The perfect demo. You send it off and wait. And wait. And wait. Crickets. Now, the trick is to get the attention of decision-makers or at least avoid screwing up a shot at a dream job. What is the best way to Get That Gig when there are more available personalities than great positions? It starts with the demo package. Here are some Do and Don’t primers.

Get That Gig: The Demo Package

Do: Keep introductions short and to the point. Nobody has time to read your life story, and they don’t care. Long intros get in the way. Send a short paragraph (or two) to set up the rest of the package. Ideally, they already know who you are. If not, the audio will be the entry point to attract interest.

Don’t: Make it generic. Every detail matters. Each word contributes to the impression you make. A great introduction can build anticipation and put a decision-maker in a great mood to look forward to hearing the demo. While you’re at it, dress up the resume. A resume that looks like all the rest gets lost in the mass clutter of other applicants. Use color and emphasize highlights of the important steps in your career path.

Do: Make the first contact a personal introduction. Take a minute to find the station name (not just call letters) and learn (at least a little) about the station’s history. Demonstrate that you are not sending a million applications and are hoping something sticks.

Don’t: Start the email with “To Whom It May Concern” or “Dear Program Director.” That is lazy and suggests you just want a job, but not this job.

Quick to Audio

Do: Make it easy and fast to access the demo featuring YOU. Attach a small MP3 file or link to an aircheck. Send the single best material. The goal is to make a fast first impression.

Don’t: Send multiple audio files. Make it easy for the decision-maker to hear a single, short aircheck, like it, and get to know you.

Do: Send audio that is between two and four minutes long. No matter how good it is, chances are the PD won’t listen to all of it. When see it’s long, they may not listen at all. Think about your response to a long video on YouTube. We skip long videos.

Don’t: Send a full show, even if edited to 6-8 minutes. The initial contact is to make the initial cut. Nobody wins the job on the first audition tape. That’s just an introduction.

Narration? NO!

Don’t: Send a narrated version of your career history. It’s boring, and boring demos cause PDs to think you’re a boring personality. There’s nothing wrong with a video on a personal website, but keep it out of the demo package.

Do: Start the aircheck with the very best segment. If buried deeper, the PD may never hear the best moments. And, when she (hopefully) plays it for other decision-makers, they’ll be even less patient to get to the “good stuff.”

Don’t: Begin with production unless the gig is for a production director or imaging person. A job worth having will be from a PD who won’t be tricked by slick bells and whistles.


Do Campaign for the job. This is marketing. In most situations, nobody stands out above all others. Usually, a few are close. The most likable, top-of-mind candidate has a huge advantage.

Do: Follow up. But give it a day or two before becoming a pest. You may not get this gig, but it’ll make points with the PD, and it could lead to a great recommendation.

Don’t: Email the next day and ask, “Did you get my stuff?” That’s pointless. Develop a strategy to have a conversation about the audio, not the job. Ask for help, advice, and feedback. It will flatter the PD and stand out among the others calling to say, “Did you get my stuff?”

Do: Try to impress the GM, promotions department, APD, MD, and consultant, but don’t go behind the PD”s back. That’s a sure way to get on the “naughty” list. A groundswell of support can be an important tie-breaker at crunch time.

Do: Ask this question and insist on an answer. It’s one of the greatest questions of all time.

What does it take to be successful here?

If they give a thoughtful answer with guidance, the decision-maker will become invested in your success. They become an unofficial mentor.


The demo package is a critical first step to Get That Gig. Invest time in it, then follow up with a creative campaign. Don’t wait until the job is posted, then scramble. A little effort will pay off with a lot of value when you’re targeting that dream job.

Pic designed by korneevamaha for Envato Elements.

Tracy Johnson is a talent coach and programming consultant. He’s the President/CEO of Tracy Johnson Media Group. His book Morning Radio has been described as The Bible of Personality Radio and has been used by personalities worldwide.

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