Finding a job as a new journalist isn’t easy. You may have to give up your money dreams, location dreams, beat dreams, news medium dreams — basically you might have to give up on all of your dreams, except for the being a journalist one.
So in order to help journalists find a job covering county fairs in the middle of nowhere for right about the poverty line salary, or a job as the next editor of the New York Times, we turned to Kenna Griffin for a #youngjournojobs Twitter chat. She gave tons of amazing advice, but her Twitter typing fingers could only type so fast. So, the assistant professor of Mass Communications at Oklahoma City University, graciously answered some bonus job-seeking questions for me.
Thanks Kenna for all of your hard work helping J-students!
What are the best three websites to find journo jobs?
The best sites for media jobs depend on the type of job you’re seeking. You probably know that I post a list of media jobs on my website, www.profkrg.com every Monday and a list of internships every Friday. But, also, I recommend looking at local journalism organizations’ sites to see if they have job boards. They tend to be more informed than national sites. Journalism Jobs is a good site to look at if you just want to know what’s “out there.” LinkedIn is always a good resource for job-related things.
Is it better to have an online resume, paper or both? Why?
It’s better to have both. This gives you more methods of distributing your information and displays your multimedia mindset. It’s best to have your materials available in whatever format the potential employer desires.
What are the top three qualities news orgs are looking for in the young generation of journos?
News organizations are looking for professionalism, strong foundational skills in writing and reporting and an understanding of multimedia tools with a willingness to adapt to change.
How should young journos go about promoting themselves/their work?
Young journalists should have professional online presences (perhaps including a blog) that they use to display their work and understanding of the industry. They should participate in online discussion groups and Twitter chats related to the industry. They also should attend professional organizations’ networking events in the community in which they live. Establishing themselves as professionals and becoming known is key to establishing a strong career future. And, of course, they should work for student media and take internships for as many clips and professional experiences as possible.
Journos and fashion don’t always mix. What guidelines would you suggest for interviews?
Dress in business attire. Invest in a basic black or navy suit and dress shoes. You can always adapt to a more casual workplace, but it’s tough to undo a negative first impression. A special note from me: Flip flops are never appropriate work attire.
Should writing clips be paper or digital? Best organization of clips?
As I said above about resumes, have both. That way, you can send them in advance or guide a potential employer to your resume site. However, take a portfolio with you to every interview. Also, take a pen and paper. Nothing says “I fail at journalism” like not being prepared to take notes.
If networking=jobs, how do young journos go about networking efficiently?
Join professional organizations. Almost all of them have reasonable student rates. Many of them have local and campus chapters. If so, join both. Get to know as many people as you can in the industry. Attend every professional conference your journalism school provides. Attend dressed up and ready to network. Also, I’ve met so many amazing people through Twitter chats. Twitter has become one of my favorite networking tools. I highly recommend that students participate in some of these chats.
If young journos only have time to market one skill to potential employers, what should they focus on?
Adaptability. Our industry is changing in ways many of us never imagined. Students have to show that they have the basic skills they need now and a willingness to learn whatever storytelling tools the future presents.
Taylor Carlier | Photo credit: Matt Thomas
Taylor Carlier is the communications coordinator at the Society of Professional Journalists. She is a 2014 Purdue University graduate of Mass Communication: Journalism and previously was the special projects editor at The Exponent. She can be reached at email@example.com or interact on Twitter: @Taylorcarlier.