I, like most Radio 4 announcers, get weekly emails from people asking to how to become a Radio 4 announcer. I've often had to explain that as jobs go it's pretty niche, and while I wouldn't discourage anyone from having that ambition, it's probably best to cast the net a little wider at first.
A lot of radio work these days - presentation, journalism, production - is freelance. And it's a tough field to break into, as demand for jobs far exceeds supply. These tips are very general, but whenever I chat to people about getting radio work, they always come up.
1. Be realistic about the role you're applying for. You are unlikely to be given a job as a presenter if you've never been on air. Find out what experience is usually expected, and make sure you can demonstrate it.
2. Make sure you know what the job entails and if it suits your lifestyle: you might have to get up at 3am, work 12- hour shifts, do nightshifts or work every weekend.
3. Approach the right person. Find out who is directly responsible for recruitment in the area you're interested in. Send them a short email expressing your interest and asking for their advice on how to proceed. A bit of flattery might encourage them to meet you for a coffee and a quick chat. Establishing a relationship in person is good, if you can.
4. Sort out your CV. Get rid of unnecessary flannel and make sure it's relevant and no more than two pages long. Seek help if it has been a while since yours was updated.
5. Likewise, demo tapes. Keep it short, and tailor it to the job you want.
6. Use your contacts. People usually don't do a nationwide search to find the perfect person, they'll ask someone they know who is reliable and available.
7. Ask if you can shadow someone, in your own time. You'll seem keen, you are bound to learn something and you might make some of the aforementioned contacts.
8. Find out what your potential employer needs most - weekend cover? Legal knowledge? Last-minute availability? Podcast skills? - and make it easy for them.
9. Sell yourself (the hardest bit for most of us.) Energy, positivity and enthusiasm are desirable qualities. Give a potential employer more reasons to say yes than no.
10. Don't give up! Don't be discouraged if no one responds to your emails. Managers are busy and sometimes forgetful people. Keep gently nudging unless you've been given a definitive NO.