Friday, August 16, 2013

4 Tips To Get You Hired—Fast

Image Courtesy of Flickr

Happy Friday Edsters!

A few weeks ago I mentioned that I was meeting up with a managing editor for an informational interview. What I expected to be a 20-minute conversation lasted a little over an hour.

I had written down a bunch of general questions to ask Alyssa* prior to our interview, but once we began chatting, I maybe asked her two of them. The interview turned more into a conversation, and I was able to get some stellar tips on how to get hired.

If you don’t have a website, make one immediately. A site is not only a place for promoting your published clips, but also a chance to blog once in awhile. When Alyssa is looking to hire writers, she wants to see more than clips. She said that hiring editors are never sure that the writer didn’t have heavy-handed editors rewrite their entire articles. Just by having a blog or even posting occasionally on your site, editors can see your natural voice. It’s a better indicator of your talent, and strong, unedited samples will showcase that.

Your attitude is everything. Alyssa’s biggest pet peeve is when she works with people who “think they know everything. I’ve been in the business for a long time,” said Alyssa during the informational interview. She wants to work with people that will take the extra step. For example, Alyssa has two interns. One leaves every day at 6 p.m. sharp, while the other is staying a little bit later to help break a story that just developed at 5:45. A “driven attitude to help, as Alyssa said, will set you apart from your interns. It will also land you a killer recommendation letter or contact for reference.

Show how passionate you are. The best thing to tell the person interviewing you is how passionate you are about what they’re doing. And don’t confuse this with fake passion—your interviewer will be able to tell. Be knowledgeable about the company that you want to work for and emphasize why you want to work there. What is it that Magazine A is doing that is so much cooler than anything at Magazines B – Z?

Become a Twitter personality. When Alyssa worked at an entertainment magazine a few years back, she said that people would often recognize her and share how much they liked her articles. She emphasized the importance of being a personality on the web; if people are interested in what you have to say in 140 characters or less, they’re more likely to our actual work. Alyssa suggested that I live tweet my favorite TV shows with their corresponding hashtags, garnering about 3-5 followers every week. She said if you can show future employers your web influence, it shows that not only are you passionate about your work, but that you’re also marketable. Those are the kind of writers editors want to hire.

After meeting with Alyssa, I definitely felt empowered to work harder to achieve my dreams of working as a successful journalist. Edsters, do you think these are good tips? But more importantly, do you have better ones?

Enjoy the weekend,
Shelter Intern

*Name has been changed.

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