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My Bona Fide Attempt At Getting Out. Advice, Please?

Discussion in 'Journalism topics only' started by Pete Incaviglia, May 31, 2010.

  1. Pete Incaviglia

    Pete Incaviglia Active Member

    Sometime this week (hopefully Tuesday or Wednesday) I will be making my first bona fide attempt at leaving the business. A job I want badly has come up. And, it's not for the money. It's what I want to do. I've already been told by two people close to the hiring that I'm "a shoo in" for the position.

    That said, I still have to apply. And I want my cover letter and resume to be perfect.

    This isn't a newspaper gig. It's a communications job. All I've ever applied for, aside from part-time work in college at pharmacies and bars, are reporting jobs.

    I don't need a portfolio in this case, it mostly will hinge on the resume and cover letter.

    So my question, are resumes this day and age point form, one-page jobs? Any advice you can offer on resume look and layout will be appreciated.

    Normally, I wouldn't care. I've landed every job but one I've ever applied for - and I'm at fifth paper.

    But I want out so badly and want this job so badly, I'm probably over-thinking the resume.

    I mean, it seems to me to not be, um, sexy enough, to simply say "I cover X team; researched and wrote features; covered breaking news; took photos, etc."

    Any way to dress up a three-year college beat and one year spent as a general assignment reporter?

    I'm stressing, as usual.
  2. the fop

    the fop Member

    You might want to compare the jobs and try to emphasize those qualities from the beat that would transfer nicely to the communications job.

    The ability to write accurately on tight deadline, for example, is tremendously valuable. The ability to interview story subjects, to initiate ideas, develop contacts on your beat, all are assets. Point out too any work you've done with new media, since many PR gigs have a social media component.

    Good luck!
  3. The Big Ragu

    The Big Ragu Moderator Staff Member

    It's hard to say without seeing your resume or knowing your age and experience. But if you have quite a bit of work experience, no need to limit it to one page.

    That said, the absolute biggest mistake people make with resumes is trying to cram every accomplishment and responsibility from every job onto the resume. Those can overwhelm the person who has to sort through lots of them for any given job, and get you tossed aside.

    You want to keep the resume light enough so that someone can scan through it very quickly and get a good sense of your capabilities, without having to invest in the thing like they are reading a Tolstoy novel.

    For that reason, it's best to think of the resume as something that highlights your most important attributes and experiences -- short bullet points can work well, and for some people an executive summary of some sort that precedes a break down of individual jobs is a good idea. Since a good resume only highlights your best attributes, it is also a great idea to subtly edit your resume for each job, to tweak the language and highlight aspects of your experiences that will speak most to the particular job you are sending the resume for.
  4. KJIM

    KJIM Well-Known Member

    Proofread the hell out of it.
  5. BYH

    BYH Active Member

    Good luck. We're all counting on you.
  6. WriteThinking

    WriteThinking Well-Known Member

    If two people close to the hiring process have told you that you are "a shoo-in," ask them why do they say that -- as in, what, specifically, about your past jobs, experience, personal attributes or contacts makes them say that?

    Then, emphasize those things (while also including any other positives/assets offered) in the writing of your cover letter and resume.

    And, if you do have contacts close to the hiring process, it probably wouldn't hurt to do some name-dropping, and say how you know these people. It would give you some history, via osmosis, with the company.

    Read the job ad, if there is one, too, pick out the key words -- most likely, things about degrees, specialties, and particularly, any computer programs with which you have experience -- and make sure to include/emphasize those.

    And if it asks for salary requirements, be reasonable but vague and don't price yourself out.
  7. Stitch

    Stitch Active Member

    There are plenty of specifics of covering news and sports that translate well to communications work. Are you good at breaking news? That means you can think quickly on your feet when the crap hits the fan.

    Covering a beat means you've worked at developing relationships with people outside your organization.

    As for writing, it's a lost art. Most corporate writing is horrible and your skills can only help in that department.
  8. Pete Incaviglia

    Pete Incaviglia Active Member

    Quick update. I tracked down the cell number of the outgoing person I'm looking to replace. Gave her a shout and talked for an hour. She's writing up a revised job description and "wish list" of what the next candidate should have in terms of a skill set. She gave me a ton of information — and said I was the only one to call her, even though she expects more than 200 applicants.

    Funny thing Stitch, this sentence: Covering a beat means you've worked at developing relationships with people outside your organization, was pretty much said by me to her tonight. She agreed.
  9. Point of Order

    Point of Order Active Member

    My standard advice: make sure your zipper is zipped before you go into the interview.
  10. Neil Amato

    Neil Amato New Member


    Strong verbs on the resume. Not "wrote features." More like "developed ideas" or "managed all aspects" of (major??) beat.
    If your beat was multiple sports at a college, for example, then play up your ability to manage multiple tasks.
    If any multimedia initiatives were your ideas, say so, in the best but most accurate verbs possible.
    Strong handshake, but not too strong.
    Overdress if in doubt.
    Good luck. Let us know how things go.
  11. Pete Incaviglia

    Pete Incaviglia Active Member

    Thanks to all.

    I have asked to interview for the gig I want.

    Pretty excited.
  12. wannabeu

    wannabeu Member

    Good luck.
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