Personal Branding and the Job Hunt

On Thursday, we’ll start talking about jobs, personal branding and how to land that first gig. Skim/read this “Superpowers” report about the expectations of modern media employers. Peruse the Journo Salary Sharer to see how much reporters make around the country. Check out this Dallas Morning News graphic about the social résumé and Poynter’s 10 Ways to Make Your Journalism Job Application Better Than Anyone Else’s. And if this class has intrigued you about job opportunities related to audience engagement, read this Digiday piece about the evolving job duties of social media editors and/or this recent Columbia Journalism Review piece — you may recognize one of the sources. 🙂

Your homework (5 points) is to comment (not tweet — this time, at least) on this post, answering/reacting to one of the following questions by 11:59 p.m. Wednesday:

  • What was the most memorable advice you took away from any of these readings? (DO NOT DUPLICATE anything your classmates already have written.)
  • Browse through some of Batsell’s favorite journalism job listings below. What trends/patterns do you see in what employers are looking for?

JOB/INTERNSHIP LISTINGS:’s searchable job database
Mashable jobs
MediaBistro jobs
DFW Communicators Job Bank
Negotiating tips

24 thoughts on “Personal Branding and the Job Hunt

  1. The piece of advice that grabbed my attention the most was Poynter’s first point on their list of ways to make your journalism application better than anyone else’s. This piece of advice recommended that applicants read job descriptions between the lines in order to uncover more information about the job. This stuck out to me mostly because I had never heard this before, but made a lot of sense as a way to tailor your resume even more to a specific job. Many job descriptions are very wordy and sound pretty much the same, but by using these tricks, such as picking out words that are used more than once and finding the differences between similar jobs posted, an applicant can show even clearer why they are most suited for the job. This can definitely give an edge to applicant as an employer will notice these skills you’ve highlighted and why you are a clear fit for the position. By showing an employer that you took the time to really analyze and understand their description, rather than blindly sending in a resume and cover letter, you can show an employer how interested you are.

  2. The piece of advice that stood out to me the most is probably to know how to share your news on all digital platforms and to be pliable. As a journalist, your business is changing constantly so you must be able to adjust to the new and latest way people are receiving their news. When the article spoke about foundational skills mixed with transformational skills it’d like mixing old ways of writing the news with newer technology. Employers are still looking for people with traditional and foundational writing skills because that’s a must, but it’s how you mold your writing and stories into modern ways is what they really want to see you succeed in. Also, in many job opportunity listings they say the position they are searching to hire someone for. But more specifically in the journalism industry you must now be able to do everything! There used to be separate people hired for photography, writing, etc. But now they expect you to be all things wrapped into one. Which is a necessity in today’s world since everyone can take pictures with their phones and blogs being over saturated with so many opinions. I think that to establish yourself as your own brand is you should know a little about a lot. If you dip your toe in many of the different areas if journalism then you will be able to appeal to many employers and your content will be well-rounded.

  3. I saw a good amount of employers wanting someone who can edit video, which I feel like is how Photoshop was on resumes a few years ago. Now that everyone is learning how to use Photoshop, they want something else! I personally think of “Social Media” positions as more of a PR role, but I saw a lot that required a decent amount of knowledge about SEO and building websites. More traditional sounding Editor positions even wanted potential employees to know how to build your own CMS and have photojournalism capabilities, two things that I do not think were asked of editors 10 years ago.

  4. I thought the most memorable advice came from Poynter’s 10 Ways to Make Your Journalism Job Application Better Than Anyone Else’s. I thought his point about getting your “vanity search” in order was important, as it is so easy these days for potential employers to Google the people they are interviewing. It’s important to make sure that you are showing your best side, and having a personal site is also important to do. These personal sites are a great way to show off your resume and best clips.

    One trend I noticed was on I noticed that most of these jobs were in smaller areas. I assume this is because journalism is an industry in which you really have to work your way up and therefor these entry level jobs are in more rural locations.

  5. The best piece of advice in my opinion came from the Poynter article. One of the ten steps talked about the importance of a good cover letter and how it “should tell me two stories, and both should be fascinating.”
    The most difficult part about job applications, for me, is talking about myself in the cover letter. It’s hard to write about what you’re good at without sounding like you’re bragging. I like the way this article talked about the cover letter being a story, with yourself as the protagonist. It says to think of yourself as a “great character” and use your cover letter to craft the story about them. I think this is an interesting way to think about cover letters and makes the whole process of writing one seem a little less daunting.

  6. Because I plan on going to law school and working as a lawyer, I decided to focus more on the application process and advice given out of these articles. I peas particularly interested in “10 Ways to Make Your Journalism Application Better Than Anyone Else’s” because I think a lot of the principles within this article apply to a variety of jobs one wishes to get. Two things stuck out to me the most about the advice in this article; the need for a personality and excitement in one’s application, and, of course the one I always underestimate, Twitter.
    I was particularly pleased by the mention of a cover letter, personal essay, website, and interview needing to be full of personality in order to get the job. I often am intimidated by students who spend all of their time studying and receive great grades with honors. While I do well on my grades, I am involved on campus and pride myself on having tons of personality both in person and in my writing. Knowing that this makes a great difference in an interview and an application makes me excited to write personal statements and interesting essays for a job that set me apart when so many people are applying for the same jobs and it is so competitive. I never understood how much these personal statements and essays make a difference, and in an interview I know that I can win over any employer because I am a people person. It is really nice to see that personality and the ability to talk to other people does not go un–noticed, as that is a huge part of who I am.
    The other thing that stuck out to me about this article is Twitter. I never even thought about employers searching my Twitter feed and looking for who I follow and the content that I put out. I have heard of employers looking for students on Facebook, but I never thought about the impact of Twitter and how that may effect the job search. I am glad that I am now working on my professional twitter feed and am following credible news sources and important people, because that can show employers what I am interested in and that I am looking for updates around the world and interacting with the world in a constructive way. I don’t Tweet a lot myself and am learning to love twitter and trying to work on it, and this article puts into perspective why social media is so important while trying to get a job.
    All in all, I think this was a great read and most people should read this article before applying to jobs not only in the journalism field, but everywhere. The lessons articulated in this article are a reality check everyone should think about, and the importance of setting yourself apart to increase your chances of being the candidate who receives the job is articulated in a positive and easy to understand way.

  7. The most memorable advice I got from these readings were things I already knew but never truly took them into account. Two that really stuck out to me was thinking of your cover letting as two stories that are “fascinating.” I never thought of a cover letter as being a story. I have always struggled writing cover letters because there are so many different ways to go about writing one. Reading that “these are stories and you are their protagonist” made it more clear about what employers are looking for and how to establish writing a successful cover letter. Another one, which I never thought about, was read between the lines of the job description. I have read job requirements before and have gone over what type of employee they are interested in, but I never thought to dissect and choose the skills and characteristics they are looking for. Also, when going through these essential requirements highlight not only the ones that are your strengths, but also your weaknesses. Usually when I am preparing for an interview I try to stay away from talking about my weaknesses, but preparing myself for the question “so, what do you think your weaknesses are?” I can organize a clear response and reasons why they should not be worried. Interviewing, for me, is a very anxiety-ridden process, but I just try to think of it as a conversation that I prepped for, in the most relaxed way.

  8. I found the graphic about Social Resumes the most intriguing. I feel like, so much of the time, journalists are somewhat encouraged to keep their online presence strictly professional, and, often times, I’ve heard professors and advisors dissuade their students from developing a casual, more personal online personality. Sure, it’s ok to add some spunk and humor into tweets, but it surprised me when I saw that social media usage such as pinning various things on Pinterest and personal-blogging could help me and my peers land jobs.

    While this new type of recruitment surprises me, it pleases me and, in my opinion, makes a whole lot of sense. In some of my previous comments, I discussed how important it is that journalists nowadays are more than just writers, but also know how to connect with their audiences and readers. I feel as though recruiters looking for potential employees can gain a plethora of information from a social resume. Not only do they gain valuable information, they also get a taste of the applicant’s personality and interests, but they also get an inside look at their network of followers and the amount of engagement they have. Not to mention, they also get to see a new level of creativity if an applicant submits something such as an infographic resume. Building up a social resume lets your possible future employer see you as a person rather than just a piece of paper, and it helps you stand out from the sea of other dull applications.

  9. It seems like most of the employers on the job listings websites are looking for journalists with some level of experience who have skills in different media platforms, with social media being especially important. The digital aspect of journalism and reporting seems to be highlighted in most, if not all, of the journalism jobs listed on these websites. It is clear that young journalists need to be well-versed in all areas of the media if they want to get ahead, or even land a job. In fact, many of the jobs listed go beyond just being a reporter or writer. Many of them include terms like “media team,” “content creator,” and “social media coordinator.” Journalists clearly have greater digital responsibilities than ever.

  10. One of the most important pieces of advice I took from these articles is the importance of a cover letter. Matt Thompson says to not only tell one story, but two. I’ve heard about telling a story of how our experiences shape you for a position but I tend to forget to add what I can do for the company or for the position if I got it. Many people use the same cover letter and just change the name of the company or 1 or 2 details which is fine but make sure to update each cover letter and make it fit the job description for each company.

  11. The most memorable advice I took away was from the “10 Ways to Make Your Journalism Job Application Better Than Anyone Else’s” article. Matt Thompson declared that having a clean cut personal website is crucial for the hiring process. It is essential for a hiring manager to get to know your best assets and what you can contribute to their team. Having easy readable information on your site is what they are looking for, with links to your best work. You do not want to have a hiring manager going in circles to find your best clips. Therefore this is why this stuck out to me the most because what is on your personal website is what the hiring managers will remember, and you want to be that unforgettable person so you can place an interview. And I think some of us including me forget how easy it is to look up someone and find their website. So keep it updated and clean cut!

  12. As I was skimming through the list of articles, I was intrigued by the Superpowers Report. Since the beginning of my college career, many professors have emphasized the importance of knowing how to properly work social media, because the journalism world is quickly changing. However, reading this article made me realize that as an aspiring journalist, I need to really step up my game with my social media presence and digital skills, such as coding and video editing. The chart that the report provides at the end of the article makes me really nervous to get out in the real world — I’ll be graduating at a crucial moment of change in the journalism world. To see the number of news organizations that have immediate hiring priorities such as coding with 71% and audience development with 65% in comparison to fact checking at 3% is absolutely insane. I feel like I have very little experience in these fields, that is why I believe journalism departments should start focusing more on teaching these skills. One digital journalism class is not enough to prepare for this change.

  13. I have come to realize that, like the article tells us, being a good journalist is not enough anymore. Through my internship I have found that it is vital to have “transformational” skills as well as “foundational” skills. The article stresses the importance of having the skills to build an audience. That is what most journalism jobs are looking for. The fact that the organizations they questioned listed “expertise in audience development and user metrics among their top five-to-10 hiring priorities for the coming year was very good to hear because that is what we are learning in class as well as what I am learning in my internship. I thought what Raju Narisetti said was very important. You have to look at how your piece is being consumed then speak to the experience you are trying to bring your readers. You want to know where and how people are experiencing your story and the only way to do that is through reading user metrics and audience development skills.
    It was also important to read that no matter what the size of the journalistic company or the position in the company, audience engagement is always going to be a valued skill.

  14. The most rememberable things I took away was having a cover letter. Through my years of resume experience I have never heard or known how to write a cover letter it only came up a few times here and there. All i heard was the talk about about the resume. recently when I was told I needed a cover letter I made up a draft that could be sent out for all with the basic, saying that I am a hard worker and that I care about the work that I do. After reading, 10 ways to make your journalism job application better than everyone else’s I learned how important a cover letter was and that you should write how you past experiences will make you the right person for the position.

    All of the reads were extremely helpful. They pointed out tips that we all know about but might just let slide by a few times because we think they are little things or people wont notice. These articles showed that each employer has their nit picky things when it comes to looking at resumes and the little things that you think will slide by will just slide you into the waste bin.

  15. A rather broad piece of advice I received from the Superpowers article is that the more skilled you are, the better and the more desired you will be as a journalist. Yes, employers need good writers with traditional reporting skills, but they also need journalists that are savvy on social media and can use that as investigative research. This requires critical thinking skills, skills that are deeper than just writing an article. It’s harder to find someone that is great at all of these skills even though it seems like this requirement is obvious. Stations and other news outlets need someone who is well rounded, so it is important that us students take time to master an array of these skills. Today’s journalists need to be able to shoot videos and make interactive graphics; these aren’t 20th century reporters. Technology has greatly advanced in the 21st century, and we must have a handle on all aspects to be attractive to future employers. We must be fit for these “multifaceted, cross platform” jobs. To stand out, you need to master these skills.

  16. I thought it was really interesting that the Superpowers report sited that coding is its #1 skill priority for its hires this year, after surveying 31 organizations. I had no idea coding was that important of a skill, and it really made me realize I need to be more serious about Codecadamy! I also loved Poynter’s 10 ways to make your journalism application better. I especially liked the part about the cover letter. I’ve never thought of the cover letter as potential to be a “fascinating story.” I’ve been too caught up in the strict business world. I think the cover letter is a great opportunity to showcase writing skills as well as be professional and informative. I liked how everyone referred to eportfolios, it made me feel like having one puts me a step in the right direction.

  17. The “Superpowers” report discusses looking at content as products, which “many journalists still flinch” at. Just the other day in class, I remarked that mission-based, non-profit publications shouldn’t be overly concerned with revenue (if it meant sacrificing quality work that has integrity), and you said that’s not generally the case. Because in an increasingly competitive market no matter the form or subject of content, reporters can’t afford to “think of self-promotion as separate from their duties as journalists. It’s their product” (Scott Lewis). Understanding the business side of journalism does not mean breaking down that long fortified wall between advertising and reporting in the sense that the former negatively influences the latter, but that the former allows for the latter to gain influence. We need to know how and where to market our brand if we want it to stand a chance against the rest.

    Alex Blumberg sums up and reaffirms my takeaway of digital thus far:
    “There’s so much media. To survive, you need to cut through. Which means focusing on storytelling and craft and execution. Aesthetics. Obviously, the journalism has to be top-notch. But presentation — super important as well.”

  18. Definitely the more meaningful article for me was Poynter’s “10 ways to make your journalism application better than everyone else’s”. And the most notable piece of advice from the article was “please have a personal site”. Everything else I knew, and thankfully, and have already done or accomplished in obtaining jobs and nailing the interview. But the closer and closer I get to landing THE job after graduation, the more I realize the importance of having my own site and branding myself. It’s sort of scary and intimidating. It’s something I’ve had on the back of my mind for a long time but have failed to accomplish because I’m such a perfectionist and let’s be honest, having a stellar website requires a lot of maintenance. Or so I thought. I’d received advice before to just do it, “it doesn’t have to be perfect” just get started and it’s so true. Even like suggest in the article, that it could be something as sweet and simple as “my best clips on…”. I think just having something to show goes a long way and content matters more than appearance…at least when first getting started.

  19. I found it intriguing the different avenues that the Dallas Morning News offered to create a social media resume. Originally reading this article, I thought they meant an e-Portfolio like the ones we created; however, I realized that they actually meant your accomplishments to be on these social sites. I was intrigued by the idea of showing your resume in infographics. Since I want to go into visualizations, I think combining analytics of my stories and visualizations could be an excellent way to showcase my skills as well as offer additional information on my experience in a more interactive way. I think creating an interactive e-Portfolio or resume will be crucial to distinguish myself to pursue computational journalism.

  20. I took away from the  evolving job duties of social media editors passage most as I am currently trying to shape my post-grad career. I was one-of-those who also viewed social media editors as lazy interns running around town with snapchat and getting paid/” experience” for it in return. This article really put the social media aspect of any corporation/industry into perspective for me. Honestly, this type of position would be such a cool job and having opportunities in this class will help further my chances of landing this type of position.

    I loved the quote “Tweets are tiny artworks,” because I personally agree! I can’t tell you how many times I felt a little personal gratification after fitting all of my thoughts into 140 characters. Grabbing the viewers’ attention, not only in an informative manner, but also in a language that is constantly changing/evolving, is an exhausting task. Social media, like-it-or-not, is the way of the future and how journalist transform into mini artist.

  21. The superpowers report really caught my eye because the first couple paragraphs dicussed the importance of being a journalists with many different skills and abilities. The article highlighted that just being good at one thing, like great at shooting video, isn’t going to fly anymore. In today’s world, there are so many media jobs that didn’t even exist 15 years ago. However, it is still a really competitive job market. This article really showed me that I need to brush up on my skills in all areas of journalism in order to be a strong job applicant. Companies need employees who can step up and jump in on any task and somebody who can fill multiple roles. I realized the importance of having not just one great talent, but having many in order to personally brand yourself better. I want to have the best resume possible, and I think diversifying it with various skills could really help me after graduation.

  22. The piece of advice that stood out to me the most was this quote from “10 ways to make your journalism job application better that everyone else’s”: “the more of your background you include, the less I’m likely to remember.” When applying for jobs this is always something I seem to forget and I worry that I’m trying to cram too much information onto my resume or in my interview. I think to remedy this issue, I need to embrace the idea of a clean, simplified resume and be confident in only sharing a selection of my accomplishments, meanwhile allowing my full history of experience live on a larger platform like my e-portfolio or LinkedIn for employers to access at any time.

  23. The most memorable advice I took away from the Superpowers reading was the quote “foundational innovations make better journalism. Transformational innovations make better journalism organizations.” For me, this quote is two-fold; the coupling of foundation and transformational innovations does equate “superhero” journalists, but also, the possession of both qualities make for a super-candidate for jobs. While journalism is specifically mentioned in the Superpowers reading, the foundation of its message transcends to other industry areas (and generally any millennial seeking employment post-graduation). The importance of technical, foundational skills and comprehension of concrete facts, logistics and mechanics behind whatever profession makes you technically sound; however, the perfection of specialized, transformational skills will make you a much notable candidate in the market and worthy of being hired. The advice from this article definitely helps me re-brand my resume and highlight specialized digital skill sets (analytics, social media, technology) to make myself a more outstanding candidate.

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