How to apply for a news job

If only all hiring managers were as helpful as Ryan Kellett. His job title is director of audience at the Washington Post, which is looking to hire an editor for the engagement team to help the site connect its sports coverage with digital audiences. Kellett just tweeted out a series of tips to would-be applicants that are universally useful so listen up.

He tells applicants to feel free to reach out if they have questions but not to ask if their application was received. “90% of follow up emails to me are ‘did you get it?'” Kellett promises he’ll let them know.

More tips:

  • Add your social media handles to your resume or cover letter.
  • Double check that you have attached the right documents before you hit send.
  • Spell all names correctly in both the email address and the cover letter.

If you’ve been recommended by someone at the news organization, make sure to mention it. If you’ve been an intern there, say something about that, too.

The application window for this particular job is really short–less than 10 days. That’s not uncommon in the news business, particularly at prestige organizations like the Post, and it’s a good reminder that you should always keep your resume updated. The recruiting firm Robert Half has some suggestions on how to freshen a resume quickly.

  • Make your name big and bold. “Your name is your calling card. Make sure it pops with a font that’s heavier and several sizes larger than the main text.”
  • Put the newest stuff first. “Rearrange your resume so your job history is in reverse chronological order.” Then list education, skills and professional honors.
  • Get to the point. “Make it easy for [hiring managers] to scan your work history by highlighting section headers and bolding job titles.
  • Use plenty of white space. “Your resume should be inviting and easy to scan. Add white space to create focus, improve readability and avoid overwhelming the reader.”
  • Leave out the extras. “Nix the objective, hobbies, irrelevant skills and the gratuitous ‘References available upon request’ line. [Replace the traditional objective with] a catchy summary tailored to the job you’re applying for.”

Finally, make sure you proofread your resume and cover letter for typos, grammar and spelling. You want to be in the news business? Remember what Joseph Pulitzer said: “What a [news organization] needs…is terseness, humor, descriptive power, satire, originality, good literary style, clever condensation, and accuracy, accuracy, accuracy!”