I previously wrote a post on Media CVs, and whether or not they should stand out. This was from information I had found on The Exclusive’s website, about a media cv in general. When I finished university and was applying for jobs, I sent my CV to someone who had already graduated and landed herself a job in the industry, to see her thoughts on it.
Since the first ever ‘journalism’ CV I sent to her, compared to the CV I have now, there have been a lot of changes! I completely understand that employers don’t want to read three pages of your CV, or a CV that is jam-packed with words and is boring to look at. But from my point of view, I wanted to cram as much experience in there as possible! I wanted to write everything I did at every work experience in as much detail as I could, wrongly!
Here are some tips on how I have changed my CV:
‘What I did at work experience…’
At a lot of work experience placements, you will be doing the same jobs. Things such as proof-reading, transcribing, vox pops, writing nibs, doing research, etc. If you do the same things for each placement, don’t just repeat it on your CV. Try and pick out something you did that was different or interesting or something that you learned from.
Don’t be descriptive – list or bullet
This was a big fault with my CV, that next to each role I had listed, I wrote a short paragraph about what I did there. Employers don’t have time to read ‘short paragraphs’ (or long ones in fact!). Bullet what you want to write, and what you did in that role in short, succinct sentences.
It doesn’t matter if you worked in Woolworths when you were 16
Cut these things out of your CV, or shove them to the back. You want the first thing for the employers to see, to be your journalism or related work experience, not your part-time job whilst you were at school. If you feel you want to add in employment, add it right to the end and don’t explain it!
Keep it brief!
One of the most important things. If you’ve done loads of work experience, you’re bound to want to cram it all on. Keep your CV to two pages, maximum! One page is the ideal, if you can include everything you want to put across well. With your oldest internships/work experience placements, don’t write as much as the ones that would have been more recent, and likely to be more relevant.
Social media is important
This was something that wasn’t very prominent on my CV before I changed it. Social media is important for journalism, as many entry-level jobs will want knowledge of this and want to know that you are able to use it. Put on your Twitter account and a blog if you have one (that hasn’t been left for a year!). Show them you’re up to date with social media.
Generic introductions are dull
‘I’m a hard-working graduate hoping to break into journalism.’ So are 500 other people, actually more! Make it tailored to you, keep it to a couple of lines, and don’t be generic! This is likely to be the first thing they read.
I forgot to put my email on mine. Best to include the easiest and most convenient ways to contact you – including email, and perhaps two telephone numbers.
READ READ READ READ and read it again!
Don’t make any mistakes. Even an apostrophe in the wrong place might put them off!