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Seeking resume help/pointers/advice

Discussion in 'Journalism topics only' started by YGBFKM, Feb 19, 2010.


    YGBFKM Guest

    Mods, if this belongs on another board, please move it.

    About 20 years after I took my first college class, I'm a few months from finally wrapping up my course work. I went back to school after a decade off to complete my bachelor's in journalism. Were I younger, I would have started a new degree program. But I'm getting old, so it was journo degree or nothing. Anyway, the idea I had when I went back to school last year was to get my degree to make the transition to a new career easier. I've been working in newsrooms for 15-plus years, but for various reasons that have been addressed at length on this board, I want to do something else. What that is, I'm not entirely sure. But before I can seriously start looking for a new career path, I need to put together a decent resume. Problem is, every resume I've ever put together has been aimed at helping me get that next newspaper job. That won't do me any good at this point. So, if anyone can offer any ideas or advice on how best to put together a resume that would get the attention of prospective employers outside of newspapers, I would greatly appreciate it. And if anyone wants to make cracks about making sure I wear sleeves to any future interviews, blah, blah, blah, please get that shit out of the way quickly. :D
  2. Moderator1

    Moderator1 Moderator Staff Member

    Wear sleeves. Quickly enough??

    What can you do? Make that list first, in order, top to bottom. Then tailor your resume accordingly.
    What do you want to do? Do they mesh?

    I may be one of the few who still uses an "objective" line at the top of the resume. One sentence - what you looking for here? Then offer examples of why you can do that, why you'd be a good choice.

    When hiring, I liked cover letters as an intro and detail in the resume. I don't need a cover letter that tells me everything that is in the resume.

    Don't embellish. Explain your skills completely but don't make salesman at Gap sound like brain surgeon. I once got a resume that listed a page of "skills" that went along with that Gap job.

    YGBFKM Guest

    I've used the objective line in my last few resume updates. I liked it as an opening mission statement, so to speak, but wasn't sure if it was pretentious. Good to know it's seen as a positive.

    What about the traditional chronological order of employment history? I'm all for being creative in putting together a resume, and that kind of rote listing seems kinda useless, but I also don't want to give prospective employers too much pause if I deviate too much from what is considered "the norm."
  4. Moderator1

    Moderator1 Moderator Staff Member

    Well, you do put that on there. But you start with:


    Employment history (with some detail and emphasis on skills)
    Interests - another thing I don't see all the time and that's OK. But I include a line to show a little about me. It's also where I throw in the line that I wrote a book (non-newspaper writing as one of my interests and this is an example), though I probably ought to make that a higher point of emphasis.

    References (list, don't wait for them to be requested)

    YGBFKM Guest

    Re: cover letters. In the past, I've used them as a way to tell a story that relates to the job I'm applying for. If for no other reason, I liked it as a means of showing a creative side that you normally can't get from the resume listings. Thoughts? Good idea? Too much?
  6. Moderator1

    Moderator1 Moderator Staff Member

    Long as it is a short story. I hated cover letters that went to two pages.
  7. Hank_Scorpio

    Hank_Scorpio Active Member

    I've read that objective and references shouldn't be on the resume. That you can use that face to add more accomplishments and stuff.

    That you should use the cover letter to discuss the job and what you would bring to it. That way you are tailoring the cover letter to each prospective employer, instead of using a "canned" one.

    That same article also said that employers know that references will be provided, so don't include them on the resume. One idea could be to just include a separate sheet with just the references on it, so you can add more to the resume.

    Not sure if these are right or not, they make sense to a point.

    Moddy, I've always used the objective before, but have thought about taking it off.

    And now a question: is it ok to do a two-page resume? And where do you start chopping, if you need to cut employment history?

    Do you cut from the first job up?
    Hypothetical example: Say someone started in the newspaper field, left the field for a few years and then came back to the newspaper field?

    Would you cut the first newspaper experience? Or is it better to lump some of the earlier experience in a 4-5 line graf titled Related Experience or something?
  8. Moderator1

    Moderator1 Moderator Staff Member

    I don't mind two or three or even four-page resumes (including references, put 'em in front of me so I don't have to ask and wait - I can just get to work). I just don't want a long cover letter. Yes, tailor it to each job. Keep it short.

    Dear Person,

    You have a job open.
    I'm your person
    Here's why
    Let's talk



    The advice I've been given is to take off some years because it is obvious I am 50-something if you go by my college grad date. No one will admit it but that's a deal-killer at many places. Too old! Into the shitcan.
  9. The Shrubberer

    The Shrubberer New Member

    YGB, Moderator1 has hit on a lot of good points.

    I always preferred candidates who wrote succinct cover letters, but did so with their own voice. Prospective hires who researched more than what was in the job listing and included questions for me in the cover letter were always attention-getters.

    The fact that they put in the extra effort always made me respond to their applications immediately as a courtesy.

    I've also been impressed by people who hand-deliver their resume, cover letter and clips. Not every job allows this and it's very difficult in an age where so much is electronically dictated, but a few times I've had candidates show up unnannounced to deliver their materials. Each time, they've gotten additional face time that others wouldn't have received because they showed up. Now it didn't always happen that second, but if they were local, I invited them back later when I was free for an informal chat. Sometimes the extra exposure helps.

    You should also consider investing in having your resume designed professionally, or if you have a graphics background, you could do it yourself, obviously. Avoid templates at all costs. Anything that can help you stand out.

    Good luck!
  10. I Should Coco

    I Should Coco Well-Known Member

    Something that works in cover letters, both inside and outside of newspapers:

    Learn about the company you're applying to, then mention something about it and how your background/skills relate to it. Can be done in a couple of sentences.

    An example from the newspaper world:

    "Among the strengths of Podunk Press are the in-depth, Sunday centerpiece stories. I've enjoyed reporting and writing enterprise stories throughout my career, and believe I could help your staff provide this valuable feature for readers."

    (Of course, this would be accompanied by a clip or two of said enterprise stories)

    Good luck in the job search, YGBFKM.
  11. jackfinarelli

    jackfinarelli Member

    Let me say that Moderator1 and I Should Coco have provided excellent - - and specific - - advice here. I can only second those remarks...

    On this board, you use an acronym as a screen name. Let me add to the already provided advice that whenever you are communicating with a potential future employer, you refrain from using the words for which YGBFKM forms the acronym. Save that for after you have secured the position and made yourself indispensible...

    Good luck!
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