Make an Impression in your Interview

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Journalism and communications majors are increasing becoming a popular academic choice for undergraduate students in college campuses across the nation. According to The Princeton Review, communications studies sits at number eight out of the top 10 college majors with the best opportunities to succeed. That being said, a number of young journalists seek to enter the professional world of journalism fresh out of college, ready to embark on their career-adventure.

With the job market competition rising in nearly every field, student will have to work extra hard to stand out to potential employers.

In addition to having an impressive resume and an online/social media awareness and presence, students need to posses a variety of skills in video, broadcasting/sound, strong writing, photography and design.

But most importantly, a student looking for a job in journalism needs to have the interpersonal qualities and personality that will help them stand out in an interview.

Sometimes, employers get blessed with having a multitude of qualified candidates to choose from for an opening position. If that's the case, it may only take a minor infraction to get dismissed from a job opportunity. It may come down to likeability or how well you answer questions...even how you dress could make or break landing that first job in journalism.

So here's five simple things to keep in mind going in to your first interview as a student journalist:

1. Dress for success - It may sound corny, but it's true. Dress like you want to be taken seriously. No jeans. No tennis shoes. If you want to be a professional, you've got to start acting like one. It shows confidence, and that's an attractive quality in a young candidate.

2. Do your homework - Know the company you are applying to work for. It shows your potential employers that you're on top of your game and that you care about this job offer. Find out as much as you can, through a website or word of mouth, and ask questions about anything you don't know.

3. Ask questions - People in the journalism field are by nature, curious. If you ask questions, it shows that you're someone who wants the job, and ultimately is the job. Journalists focus their lives on finding the story in everything, so why not start in your first interview?

4. Show them what you have to offer - As mentioned previously, journalists need to have a pretty large skill set in their tool box in order to cut it in the profession. But if you're really talented in one area/medium, prove it. Put together a strong portfolio of your work to highlight your talents and make that the emphasis in your interview. You never know what employers are looking for, and you might have something unique to offer over the other candidates.

5. Bring the right attitude - There's a fine line between confidence and cocky. Don't assume you've got an interview in the bag. Confidence is a large part of the interview, but so is likeability and positive personality traits. Those are things that are going to make people want to work with you, which will ultimately enhance your credibility and reputation as a journalist.

A strong skill set and sense of awareness can compliment a good resume and work history...but nothing can make or break a job opportunity like an interview. With these ideas in mind, go into your next interview for a job in journalism, or any field, knowing that you did everything that you could to present yourself as the best possible candidate.


Victoria Jones December 13, 2010 at 8:21 PM  

It's always nice to get advice on what to do during an interview to stand out and get the job. For me personally it seems I will forever be afraid of interviews. Hopefully with some practice I can gain some confidence and become more comfortable.

Thanks for the tips in your blog. My only critique is that your lead looks pretty long to me.

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