7 (More) Tips to Land a Journalism Job & Impress People

Meredith Cochie is back.  This past weekend, the “journo-maniac” and “turbo media professor” performed to a torrent of laughter and awe at a student journalism gathering, a bit more than a month after wowing undergrads with career and life advice at an SPJ regional conference.

During a session at the 2012 Florida Scholastic Press Association convention, Cochie once again shared a bevy of tips aimed at helping j-students stand out from the job-seeking masses and land a gig worth bragging about on Facebook.  Below is a sampling of her advice– and hairstyles.

How to Land a Journalism Job & Impress People

 ( Part 2 )

1) When it comes to extracurriculars, get more involved in less.  At one point during her talk, Cochie asked the student attendees, “How many of you are involved in five or more organizations?”  A majority of hands shot up.  Cochie’s smiling, no-holds-barred response: “Cut back.  You look like an idiot.  Otherwise, it tells me you are willing to take part in things you don’t really care about, probably just to make yourself look good.  Well, it doesn’t.  [If I’m a potential employer or college or grad school admissions counselor], I want to see you truly commit to a few things and grow with them.”

2) Drop your career objective.  A few Cochie résumé tidbits: “Make it visually appealing.  Guide them through.  Avoid fact, spelling, and grammar errors.  Your name should stand out. . . . Don’t be afraid to include jobs or experiences falling outside journalism– focus on how they show you in a good light within the field [organizational skills, leadership, interaction with the public, etc.]. . . . Don’t put that you know fluent Spanish when all you know is hola. . . . And if you put an objective on your resume, I will come to your house and slap you.”

3) Also on your résumé, don’t overlook “dumb web stuff.”  Cochie confirmed that what students consider elementary or obvious multimedia or web skills might still be worth including.  Among the programs and platforms she recommended possibly listing, if you have mastered their ins-and-outs: WordPress, Facebook, YouTube, Twitter, Tumblr, Pinterest, and Bluehost.  My suggested additions, depending on the job or internship you’re seeking: Prezi, photo editing programs such as Photoshop, design programs such as InDesign, and video editing programs such as Final Cut Pro and iMovie.

4) With your cover letter, prove you can communicate.  As Cochie put it, “If you’re a biology major, it’s OK if you’re slightly bad at it.  People will be like, ‘They’re successful in other ways.’  But for journalists, if you can’t sell your fabulousness in five paragraphs or 500 words, you will not be given a second look. . . . Your cover letter is your pick-up line.  Show, don’t tell.  Keep the paragraphs short and break up the information.”

5) In her previous talk, Cochie told students simply, “Write.  Tons.  A lot.  All the time.”  In her latest presentation, she unveiled her favorite poster to help with the inspiration.  See image below.

6) Socially network.  In her words, “Get out of your comfort zone of texting and emailing people and talk to them in person.  Beyond the Facebook.  And the Twitter.  And the Internets.  Get out into the real world. . . . Take names.  Make business cards.  Go to events.  Cold call.  Don’t be afraid to approach decent looking strangers. . . . Just don’t BS yourself and don’t BS others.  You think you’re sly about it, but people can almost always sniff it out.”  (As a side-note, she told the students they will almost always be asked three things– and usually only three things– when talking with their peers in school: What’s your name?  Where are you from?  And what’s your major?  Her advice: Jump ship from that run-of-the-mill convo.  Vary things up.  Be ready to discuss more.)

7) Now read this.  “Nobody reads anymore and that’s sad,” said Cochie.  As she subsequently shared with a laugh, “I don’t read anything but a really good teenage novel.”  Her advice: “Read.  Read a lot.  Read the type of writing you want to get better at.  It will burn itself into your mind.  You will replicate its style.”


10 Tips for Journalism Students: How to Land a Job and Impress People

3 Responses to “7 (More) Tips to Land a Journalism Job & Impress People”
  1. Joie says:

    Reblogged this on jofoyo and commented:
    This is so fabulous.

  2. dearjblock says:

    Meredith Cochie is truly amazing :) she inspires me every single day!!

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