Building a resume to secure a job in the online journalism world
The world of online publishing and journalism are thriving. New, exciting, and filled with potential, this brave new world offers a host of opportunities for those who would otherwise have sought more traditional press roles. While this abundance of opportunities is a fantastic way for budding writers, editors, and contributors to venture into their new careers, it is also incredibly competitive: do you know how to stand out from the crowd?
Online journalism job opportunities
Gone are the days when the term ‘journalism’ simply applied to writing and reporting for broadsheet and tabloid newspapers. These days journalism encompasses blogging, writing reviews, sourcing articles, editing, copywriting, maintaining social media networks, television news casting, and so much more, from lesser read columns and short articles to broadcasting behemoths. In short, almost any form of creative or factual writing, graphic design, or media involvement can go a long way towards a journalism career these days, and it’s up to you to make the most of every opportunity. So, how do you get started?
If you’re serious about getting involved with online journalism there is an essential thing to do, namely spread your talents as widely as possible. Establishing an impressive resume means not being restricted to paid jobs; take internships and volunteer positions as often as you can, and remain open-minded. Okay, so a particular position may not offer everything that you’re looking for, but think how good it will look when combined with your other skills. You must also get used to being pragmatic. Not every position that you apply for will laud results, and rejections will be commonplace. Keep at it, never give up, and don’t be afraid to get your hands dirty: if making tea in a newsroom is the only opportunity going, embrace it.
If journalism is something that you’re passionate about write about everything, and for everyone. If you limit yourself you are only limiting the careers available to you. As well as accepting, and even cherishing, every position offered to you, it’s also important to think about networking; how will publications learn of your skills if you’re not talking to them? Become actively involved with social media, update a Twitter or Facebook account with details of your work, and maintain a blog if you have the time. Also, look out for opportunities to join conventions, talks, and courses. When it comes to journalism you’re never done learning, so don’t ever think a course or training session is beneath you.
Of course, the earlier you start your forays into journalism the bigger, and more impressive, your resume will be. Does your school have a newsletter or publication? Getting involved with your school’s media and social networks is a great way to gain experience in a safe, encouraging environment, and ANY voluntary work will look fantastic on your resume. Look to examples of people who have succeeded following their school experience. Eloise Lynton, a current forum editor, writer, and illustrator at the Harvard Independent publication is one such journalist that you should be looking toward for inspiration. Eloise Lynton’s resume is vast and varied and, you’ll notice, filled with internships, voluntary positions and work experience. While she may work for the ‘Indy’ (as it is affectionately known) now, she has also held marketing positions, illustrator roles, and PA jobs, as well as embracing charity work. Everything that Eloise has done is relevant to her journalism career, whether it seemed so at the time or not. Journalists are well rounded, capable, able to think fast and with creativity, and, above all, are adaptable. Are you prepared to put this amount of work in, too? If so, you’re on the way to becoming a journalist, if not, it may be time to think about a different career.
The bottom line is this. Regardless of how tenuous an opportunity may seem, or how far removed it is from what you want to be doing, remind yourself that any experience is good experience. The right job will find you one day, and perhaps it won’t be exactly what you’re expecting.