Posted on April 20, 2007
What a hiring editor looks for (or, what’s your URL?)
Yet another sign of how out-of-touch some journalism teachers and professors are: Do aspiring young journalists need hardcopy of their clips today? (Do they even need clips at all?) Maybe the old-style packet of a printed résumé and photocopied clips is outmoded.
Meranda Watling has been the education reporter at the Journal & Courier, in Lafayette, Indiana, for three months (almost four). It’s her first job out of college. She wrote:
I learned this relatively early in my job search from an editor who was impressed with my resume, mostly by my demonstrated new-media experience. But she raised one extremely valid point about my package. In her words, “Why is this carbon-based?” Good question. Why was I, of all people, applying on paper?!
As soon as she said it, I knew she was right. It was the catalyst I needed to organize my professional work online. The next week, I registered a domain, started my blog, uploaded my resume and posted my clips online in one central location.
Don’t think you don’t need clips at all — I hear from enough editors at U.S. newspapers that there are still two things they need to see before you even get a phone call, and those are: (1) news story clips, at least from the student newspaper; and (2) an internship.
Increasingly, however, they want to see your URL.
So let’s have a quick chat about what you should have on your professional Web site.
- A résumé — designed well for the Web page it’s on (example). Don’t forget to feature all of your internships prominently on your résumé!
- A link to a PDF of your résumé for anyone who might need to print it (such as the human resources office). See the example at No. 1 above.
- Links to your clips: Try a list of linked headlines, each one followed by the title of the publication AND the date of publication. If all clips come from one publication, then you can put that in the heading. Here’s a good example (although it’s lacking dates).
- Examples of your audio, photo, video, and/or design work — like this or this.
- A brief, well-written bio that summarizes your individuality. I suggest a 150-word limit. Here’s a good one at a lean 99 words.
- And finally, of course, a home page that makes all the relevant bits easy to find (and that does not link to any embarrassing photos of you). Like this or this or this. Don’t forget to include functional contact information.
Be sure to proofread as well as spellcheck every single word on your Web site very, very carefully.
Addenda (April 21): All the links in items 1-6 go to sites by graduates (or almost graduates) of the journalism program at the University of Florida (naturally). Also, I’ve used Dreamhost for about six years; I host all my Web sites there, and I love the service.
For speakers of British (not American) English: A résumé is a CV. Clips are cuttings. (Thanks, Andrew.)
But wait, there’s more! Lucas Grindley, content manager for HeraldTribune.com, left a comment on this post telling you what you should NOT include! “The Herald-Tribune is the third-largest newspaper in the New York Times Co. and the largest newspaper in the New York Times Regional Media Group” (source). So listen up.