Three tips for landing a journalism job

by Lindsay Kalter
Oct 30, 2018 in Journalism Basics

In the increasingly competitive world of journalism, it takes more than just a well-worded cover letter to stand out in a sea of qualified applicants.

In a recent blog post, Poynter's Mallary Jean Tenore offers some tips for journalists on the job market. Here are IJNet's three picks:

Build an online portfolio

"When applying for jobs, it’s helpful to have an online portfolio that you can share with editors," Tenore writes. The site--which can be built using tools like WordPress and Pressfolios--should include a bio, resume, clips, links to social networking accounts and contact information. A blog is optional, but can show employers that you possess writing skills in the absence of editing.

Do your homework

It's important to research news organizations for whom you want to work, Tenore says. This includes their print editions (if they have them), websites, social media accounts and general coverage. This allows you to determine if it's the right fit, and to appear knowledgeable in your cover letter and interview. "If you see coverage gaps, write them down and determine how you could help fill them. If there’s an opportune time, mention them during your interview (and make sure to note what the news organization does well, too)," Tenore writes.

Make the most out of interviews

If you do get an interview, think of it more as an in-depth conversation rather than an interrogation. Tenore quotes a Poynter piece by NPR's Matt Thompson, in which he writes, "With the interview, I’m not merely trying to unlock the bits of knowledge in your head, and I’m certainly not trying to see how well you anticipate the answers locked in my head. I am trying to assess how you think, what you’re passionate about, how we gel as colleagues.” To remain engaged, interviewees should have some questions ready for the editor(s) doing the interviews, Tenore said.

Read more here.

Poynter Online, IJNet’s partner and the website of the Poynter Institute, is a school serving journalism and democracy for more than 35 years. Poynter offers news and training that fits any schedule, with individual coaching, in-person seminars, online courses, webinars and more.

Photo courtesy of KatieKrueger under a Creative Commons license.