For many graduating journalism seniors, now is the time to perfect resumes and cover letters. Personally, I’ve been on the hunt for possible jobs and internships since January, and I’ve had a few nibbles.
But, along the way I kept changing and updating my resume and tailoring it and my cover letters to each different job or internship I applied for. And while I’m no expert on the matter, I’ve done plenty of research in order to make myself seem like a great candidate.
- Make yourself “Google-able.” Let’s face it, employers are going to Google you, and instead of completely hiding all of your social media, it’s time to start thinking about what’s good about social media. If you have good content on your Twitter or Facebook, it’s going to pay off when future employers see that you know how to conduct yourself online and use social media to promote news and engage with an audience. If you keep any blogs (such the ones for PRNJ 493E), employers can see blog, commenting and writing experience.
- Design your resume. For those who have experience using design software it is simple – use it. Employers will want to see that you’re creative and savvy enough to put together a professional document that not only represents your accomplishments, but demonstrates your skills. When designing, try to stick to one page unless you’re going for a CV type resume. Don’t go overboard, but keep it simple, clean and make sure it will catch your readers eye and keep it. Don’t center the text because that’s now how it is meant to be read.
- Get an online portfolio. This is very simple to set up. I suggest making a blog with WordPress, Blogger or Weebly. Pick a professional theme and make it as simple as possible. Include perhaps a Twitter timeline to show off media savvy skills and tweet news content you are publishing. This is also a good place to upload a PDF of your resume, a generic cover letter (maybe) and your clips or links to published work. If you have designed before, upload PDFs of them or include links to where they can be found.
- AP Style. If you have “proficient with AP style” anywhere on your resume, then you need to prove it. This is easy and if you’re an editor in any capacity you’re going to care about this anyway. But, double check the stylebook just to be safe.
Greg Linch, a journalist at the Washington Post, combines his personal blog with his resume/portfolio site. And while his list is a bit old, it’s a good reference for how to promote yourself as a journalist. JournoTerrorist also has some rules to avoid when making a resume. They also have an interesting takes on what you should and shouldn’t do as a college journalist.