Chris Williams has spent the past two years covering a lot of news and a little bit of sports for News Channel Nebraska. When deciding to pursue sports full-time, Williams needed to learn how to feature his sports experience over his news accomplishments. They payoff for the former college football player is a sports reporter position at KWTX-TV in Waco. TX.
“Sports have always been a huge part of my life,” says Williams, a former football team captain and all-conference player at Chapman University in California. “As a player, I often saw how great the human side of sports is, so I really wanted to get back to focusing on the actual student athletes and teams, and shedding light on how great all sports are beyond just the highlights.”
Getting things in order
Preparing for the sportscasting job market wasn’t easy for Williams. He realized when he joined STAA that he needed to learn how to feature his sports experience over his news, even though the latter is what he’s done most since graduating in 2018.
“[STAA] helped me in all phases of the process,” Williams recalls. “They gave great feedback and suggestions that helped me tweak my reel and design my website. Then, they helped me understand which types of things I should include in an application, and which were unnecessary.”
Once Williams had his presentation in order, he used suggestions from STAA to cold contact employers.
“There were a number of ways STAA helped me draft my cold email. The two biggest takeaways were: find the specifics of the actual station that appeal to me. Don’t just write a generic email, or even one that just focuses on the DMA. I wanted to come to Waco because I have family in Texas and a brother that attended Baylor, but STAA helped me zero in on why I felt KWTX would be the best fit for me,” Williams explains.
“The second takeaway was following up. STAA encouraged me to give a specific date to actually call the news director… and then to follow through on it. It was incredibly uncomfortable, but I definitely think it helped build a relationship before there was even an opening.”
Support from Mom
Arguably the biggest impact on Williams’ career has come from his mother. “My mom is the best,” Williams smiles. “She was great at doing background research into various openings and stations, and helping figure out which ones I would be a good fit for. She is also a former English teacher, so she would proofread any and all emails I sent out in the job search process.”
Williams joined STAA in June after several months of procrastinating. “I just kept putting it off. I am stubborn, so I thought I knew best. Within a week of me finally joining [STAA] had me recut my reel, trim my resume way down, and improve the overall appearance of my applications, and I immediately started getting more traction from news directors.”