Wandering into the media industry can be a crazy ride. Especially in this day and age, it’s definitely not an easy career path to pick, but then what is? – You have to work for everything, and this is no different; you just might have to work a little harder and for free of charge (a lot of the time). But hey, it’s totally worth it when you are seeing progress! (It’s all about perspective!)
I, myself, want to be a successful Journalist one day, and everyday leading up to that moment, I plan to spend picking the brains of people who have already been through the journey I am embarking on.
Fortunately, I managed to ask Executive Editor at Closer magazine – Sophie Barton, a few questions on her ideal candidate. Here is the list I formed from her answers…
1) Here are some of the qualities, Sophie looks for in a potential candidate – “I would prize a go-getting attitude, decent writing skills, creativity, a determination to succeed and being a good team player”.
2) A surprisingly common mistake people make before an interview, is not reading the papers of rival publications – Sophie says “this can leave you unable to answer obvious questions, such as, what stories you would chase from that day’s paper & which mag exclusive stood out for you in that week’s market.” Nobody likes the awkward silence of a potential employee, who doesn’t know how to answer a question! (I’ve been there, it happens to the best of us!)
3) ALWAYS come equipped with cracking features ideas. Make sure you are ahead of the game with this one, it’ll only help you score brownie points!
4) Now to make your application stand out, Sophie advises you provide ‘concrete evidence of your skills’, i.e. exclusives you’ve bagged. It’s also vital to use your covering letter to tell the prospective employer what you can do for them, not vice versa. They want to know they’re getting the whole package.
5) If you are someone who is not bursting with confidence, GOOD NEWS, there is still hope for you. Sophie says “I know a lot of journalists who aren’t bursting with confidence, but they have nevertheless climbed to the top – they never let their fear show in a professional setting and use their nerves to drive them to do a brilliant job. A good Editor needs to exude an attitude that inspires and reassures the team.”
6) Lastly, Sophie says: “Sending your copy to the Editor can feel a bit like bearing you breasts – you really do feel exposed! In order to learn and become a better writer, it’s important that you deal with criticism constructively.”
Of course, this piece isn’t just for aspiring Journos, you can apply these qualities to any job you are going for.
Best of Luck