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Applying for your first gig

Discussion in 'Journalism topics only' started by bdh02, Dec 18, 2007.

  1. bdh02

    bdh02 Member

    I will graduate from college in May.

    I've applied for a ton of internships already because those deadlines were in the early and late fall. Haven't started hearing back though. I think that typically happens between now and January, from what I've gathered.

    But when you were in the same boat, when did you start applying for actual jobs?

    It seems a bit weird because I know most shops want the jobs filled just as soon as they were vacated. It's a bit odd to send an application to a paper saying, "Hey, if you hold this spot for five months, I'll be able to fill it then," and expect to be considered.

    Do I wait until May gets closer, do I start now and send applications for the heck of it?
  2. TyWebb

    TyWebb Well-Known Member

    Don't expect papers to hold positions for you. It won't happen. But it doesn't hurt to get your resume out to places just to get your name out there, and not just to papers with openings. I went ahead and sent my stuff to papers in the area before graduation. Who knows? In a few months, they might have another opening and you'll be first in line.

    I didn't actually start applying for specific positions until about a month before graduation. With that timing, if you are going to land a job, it will likely be right after you graduate.
  3. Ace

    Ace Well-Known Member

    Have you had any internships, bd?
  4. BDH, Start now sending letters/resumes to the places you're interested in working (although I wouldn't bother with the places you've applied for internships). They'll understand that you're in school and looking ahead, and they'll value your initiative. In my own case, I did the same beginning in the winter (about now), landed a few interviews, but didn't get hired.

    However, one of the places that didn't have an opening in the spring/summer got one two weeks into football season, brought me in for an interview and offered me the job at the close of the interview. They had checked all my references, etc ahead of time and liked what they saw on paper. The SE told me later, after he had hired me, that unless I came across as a complete idiot in the interview, the job was mine when I walked in.

    The trick was I had done my legwork ahead of time.
  5. BujuBanton

    BujuBanton Member

    Yeah it never hurts to throw your name out to papers that don't currently have openings. For my first gig I applied to the home office of a small chain in Texas a couple times, but finally got an interview when I went straight to the editor of one of the papers and got an interview. I didn't get the job at the place I interviewed but they passed my resume on to a bigger paper in the chain and I got a better than expected job there and have since moved on to an even bigger daily out of state after my first year.

    The key to me is taking the time to "customize" your resume and cover letter to suit the needs of the paper you apply to. If it's a big hoops area talk that up, or maybe they mention wrestling or soccer or a sport most wouldn't want to cover. If you have knowledge or desire to cover those sports it could put your resume at the top of the pile. (it helped me get my out of state gig)
  6. Jeremy Goodwin

    Jeremy Goodwin Active Member

    This thread also has advice on the topic:

    I agree with what others have said about sending out resumes. I didn't, but knew I should have. I had a friend who did and he landed a few interviews and good contacts because of touching base with editors in Jan, Feb and March.

    Ty is right about waiting until a month or so away from graduation / the end of your internship. Joe Grimm who does a recruiter's Q&A on Poynter's Web site suggested a month. By the time you send in your app, the paper goes through everything, you do a phone interview, and have an in person interview the whole process takes a month, if not more.
  7. doublej

    doublej New Member

    This is all sound advice. In addition to sending your resume to places, you should contact writers at papers you'd consider working at and pick their brains. Do they enjoy their job? What's it like working there? Etc.

    From my experience, no one will pass up the opportunity to talk about themselves. And then you'll have someone who might be able to put in a good word if a position at their shop opens around the time you're graduating.
  8. BigSleeper

    BigSleeper Active Member

    It was not the norm, but I had only one place I wanted to go. It was 3,000 miles away, and I had never been there, never heard of the paper, but knew it was the place I wanted to be. March of my final semester, I saw a sports opening, overnighted my stuff, had a phone interview within 48 hours and was scheduled to be flown out to interview within 72. Got the gig, graduated in May and was on the job three days later. That was 11 years ago.
  9. I didn't get my internship until about three days beforehand. I learned I got my job about a week before graduation. Started a week after that. Not sure when I did it, but getting this stuff ironed out early obviously wasn't my forte.
  10. jlee

    jlee Active Member

    All of the advice above and: Don't get frustrated.

    I found myself in a really good situation right out of college ... and I still ended up at a Denny's at 3 a.m. slurping down coffee 2,000 miles from home, wondering, "What the hell do I do now?"

    Tossing out a few resumes to places you want to go does more than gets your name out there. It gives you practice at the art of presenting yourself on paper. I found some old cover letters from my first job search and blushed at how off-point I was in the early stages.
  11. three_bags_full

    three_bags_full Well-Known Member

    I'll offer a different opinion.

    Don't apply. Take the GMAT. Get your MBA and get a job selling securities.
  12. Tom Petty

    Tom Petty Guest

    jesus. here, let me save all of us three pages of time.

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