Journalism job hunters need an edge

You’ve probably heard these job hunting tips before — Google yourself to see what a future employers might find and apply SEO techniques to the content you want them to find.  Get yourself a portfolio site, even if it’s a simple WordPress or page. But, Matt Thompson of NPR has a bit more advice for journalism grads seeking work right now.

Writing for SPJ’s Quill magazine, Thompson suggests 10 things he’s looking for in applicants, and here are three you may not have considered before now.

1.  Read differently the skills listed in a job description.  Thompson says you should, “Highlight the ones that apply most strongly to you, and underline the ones that pose a bit of a problem. In your cover letter and interview, I’m going to want you to emphasize the former and give me reasons not to be concerned about the latter.”

2.  Your cover letter should tell two stories.  “First, as concisely as you can, tell me the story of how your experiences have shaped you for this position. Then, with similar economy, tell me the story of what you’ll do with this position if you land it.”

3.  Beware the online application systems.  “…the Web software we use for job applications and hiring tends to render resumes unrecognizable. So unless you know for certain that the system is going to deliver the resume to me with formatting intact, make sure that it looks wonderful in a plain text editor (like Notepad on Windows or TextWrangler on Mac).”

As thousands of December grads jump into the job market, be sure yours stands out to potential employers.