During her career as a manager, trainer, recruiter, editor, and now in her current role as a team leader for Congress at Bloomberg News, Jodi Schneider has hired and supervised diverse personalities. With years in the business, she can relate to the often daunting task of helping students find jobs in journalism.
But since professors are often the lifeline for students seeking a journalism career, Schneider said it’s important to take this challenge seriously. She offered a tips for helping newbies prepare for the job market to a group gathered for the Business Journalism Professors Seminar on Jan 2-5.
Here are some of the top takeaways from the session:
Job seeking needs to be taught as a skill, even at the high school level. Make this a part of the conversation not just when students are heading out the door and ready to graduate. “In our business you are going to switch the kind of job you have many times over,” Schneider said. “We should be teaching people how to navigate this new system.”
View your class time as set aside time. Whatever time you can dedicate to teaching job-seeking skills will not only help your students, it will help your program.
Bring in speakers who can tell students how to get hired. Remind students that the chance to mingle with speakers will help them develop relationships for the future.
Students should be looking for internships early on in their college career as this will allow them to “test out” a workplace. Students should seek out internship opportunities for professional credibility, even at places that might not be their first pick. Make sure you instruct students to think outside the box.
Network, network, network. Schneider suggests showing students LinkedIn to learn about networking and encouraging them to join professional groups.“There is extraordinary pressure on managers to get the right hire.” Schneider said. “And they’re going to be very reluctant to hire somebody unless they know or worked with someone who knows them…It’s important for students to understand they are not just selling an idea of themselves.”
Facebook pages need to be scrubbed clean. Recruiters, editors and other managers may read them when they are backgrounding a candidate.
Know the company. The research a student conducts before an interview is important to landing the job.
Education and experience are necessary. “These days people are not getting hired on education alone,” Schneider said. ”Experience is the key to getting the job you want.”
Focused job searches. Students should think about the geographical area, pick three regions, and know why they would want to work in those areas. Students can also set themselves apart by knowing the kind of publication they want to work with and by having a specialty area.
Packet preparation. Student resumes should be one page and accomplishment-based as much as possible. In the cover letter, tell students to use journalistic storytelling skills to tell a bit more about themselves. It’s not a bad idea to follow up with a thank-you note or email within 24 hours of an interview.