As someone who has been in the journalism industry for a long time, I have a great network of friends, acquaintances and professionals who contact me regularly for help in filling jobs. I chat regularly with them on what happens when they get referrals or people apply for open positions. I’m very picky about who I forward, because my reputation is at stake.
One of my friends announced via his network that he was seeking resumes for entry-level journalist jobs. He asked that people send an updated resume and seven clips of their work. Pretty simple, right? Wrong.
After receiving several dozen resumes, only a handful made the cut. Why? Because most submitters didn’t follow his simple instructions — and remember, he only had two.
What did these people do? Many of them either didn’t submit the requested number of clips or they sent him a link to their portfolios. Others didn’t have seven clips to send. Some sent him resumes that were a hot mess, rife with grammar and spelling errors (read my post about that here). I don’t need to tell you that this is deadly for a journalism resume. Still others responded just to respond, without knowing exactly what they wanted to do. Some said they only wanted to work in specific cities (and why are they always New York, Washington, D.C., Chicago, Los Angelse or San Francisco?). And finally, there were those who had no real skills but wanted to apply anyway.
After chatting with my friend and watching it all play out, I posted the following on my Facebook page:
Look. If someone asks you to do specific things when applying for a job, please do them. If they ask for a specific number of clips, give that *exact* number. If you don’t want to move, then don’t apply. Check your resume and make sure it’s *perfect*. And please, do NOT apply if you don’t have *any* of the qualifications. Rant over. Love, Aunt Benét
The discussion that followed on my timeline was very educational. Comments included: researching a company before applying; spelling errors; and resumes that were way too long.
People — there is a reason why employers ask for specifics when they are looking for people to hire. While you don’t have to have 100 percent of what they’re asking for, when they offer specific directions, please follow them. Otherwise, you’ll be sitting there, wondering why no one has called you for an interview.
Editor’s note: Need help with your resume? Check out my new company, ResumesByBenet.com. where I offer resume reviews, along with job interview preparation and writing cover letters and LinkedIn profiles. Contact me at benet AT aviationqueen DOT com (put resume review in the subject line) for a free consultation.
Benét J. Wilson is the owner/editor-in-chief of Aviation Queen LLC, an aviation/travel freelance writing, multimedia and consulting business. Wilson is a freelance aviation/travel journalist and blogger who has written for publications and blogs including USA Today, AirwaysNews.com, CrankyFlier.com, ACI-NA Centerlines magazine, Aviation International News, Airport World, the Airline Passenger Experience magazine and the Runway Girl Network. She currently serves on the board of the Online News Association, where she is secretary and chairs the Diversity Committee. She is also vice president-digital of the National Association of Black Journalists and serves on the board of the Center for Collaborative Journalism. She is a contributing editor for AllDigitocracy.org.