The “How To Prepare For An Interview” series is supported by Gillette.
Journalists and entertainment writers are entering one of the toughest job markets since the Depression.
Competition is fierce and paying jobs are few and far between. But with talent and some preparation, you can still get a job.
Here are a few tips:
- Network with other media professionals. “It’s not what you know, it’s who you know,” still rings true in the media world. Personal referrals often bump you to the top of the interview list, so make sure you attend events and make yourself recognisable to media professionals.
- Have a web site. Personal web sites are the easiest way to sell yourself before you even walk in the door. They can include everything from your resume to your head shot and clips of your best professional work.
- Brand yourself. If you haven’t already, sign up for Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn. Your interviewer is definitely going to check out your online activities, so provide the information that puts you in the best light.
- Professionalize your social media accounts. If you already have social media accounts, make sure to censor personal posts and information. You don’t need your new boss knowing about your girlfriend troubles.
- Know your publication. Read the organisation’s site obsessively. Understand their tone, subject matter, angle and other writers. Where can you fit in with the team? What are they missing that you can provide?
- Be prepared to pitch. Before your interview, come in with a list of pitches that are not only interesting and under-reported stories, but are also relevant to the organisation at which you are interviewing. This involves knowing the types of stories the publication/news outlet has recently covered, and making sure your ideas are similar in style and content.
- Know SEO. In fact, learn all kinds of new ways to grow your audience, in person and online.
- Catch up on current events. If you want to report the news, then you’d better know the news.
- Be prepared for the question: Why do you want a job in media when the industry’s going to hell? The answer is up to you, but use it as an opportunity to showcase your skills!
- Dress professionally, but ditch the suit. Media bosses aren’t expecting you to rent a tux for your interview. Make sure you shower, shave, and look clean and professional. A shirt and tie with dress pants is fine for males. Women should wear appropriate skirt lengths or slacks and a blazer.
And, of course, you should always walk into every interview with an up-to-date and easy-to-read resume, a few clips that best demonstrate your work, and most importantly, a great attitude!
You may have just been laid off, but no one wants to be dragged down by a co-worker’s negativity. So keep it positive and prove that you have what it takes to make their news organisation more successful.
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