Tools to help you put your best foot forward professionally.
Resumes and cover letters
Customize your resume (and cover letter) for each job you apply for. One size does not necessarily fit all in this situation. When revising your resume, have the job description for the job you want right next to you so that you can work in some of the keywords that they use. You want to include as many as possible without going overboard and mashing in keywords where they don’t make sense.
Don’t hold back when discussing your qualifications in your cover letter or when listing your awards on your resume. Do everything you can to let employers know that YOU are the best and only person for the job.
Many job seekers submit their resumes with the same file name: Resume.docx (or .pdf). While that might be fine for finding the file on your home computer, imagine having dozens of files with the same name to sift through. Taking that small extra step of renaming your resume to “FirstName_LastName Resume” can help you stand out as hiring managers are sure to notice this anomaly from their sea of files.
A solid resume and cover letter can help you stand out in a job search. Search media industry-specific resume and cover letter templates curated by the Cronkite Career services team.
Your online portfolio is a living, breathing representation of your professional brand, so make sure to update your website often. It should show recruiters and employers your best and most recent work samples. Your website can include photos, videos, audio projects, stories and blog posts.
Be mindful of important style details, like color and font choices, when building your website. Here are some style tips to consider:
- Use a font that is easy to read and choose a front size that is at least 11 point. Avoid script fonts, or fonts that are too thin or too thick.
- Use bold, italics and highlights for emphasis. Avoid using the underline function, unless it’s to indicate a hyperlink, as this is a bad website practice.
- Be sure to choose colors that contrast. If your background is dark, choose a light font color. Visa-versa, if your background color is light, choose a dark font color.
Keep your profile updated by regularly refreshing your About section and Experience section as necessary. Make sure that the sections you are adding are relevant, add value to your profile and make sense for your professional brand and career goals.
As you fill out the various LinkedIn profile sections, be sure to include keywords used in your industry to help your profile appear in searches. Be careful you don’t go overboard: This is called keyword stuffing, and can actually hurt your chances of showing up in search results!
Recruiters are looking at your digital brand, including your LinkedIn profile. Use LinkedIn as a place to regularly post your original content. Don’t forget to include your LinkedIn profile url on your resume and online portfolio for easy access
Make a good first impression
You never get a second chance at a first impression so it’s critical that you make those first moments you interact with a hiring manager count. The way you say hello, your attitude, your posture, your attire; these are all things that hiring managers analyze when they first meet you to get a sense of what kind of intern you’ll be.
A best practice to follow is to dress business formal in any interview setting. However, do research the company before heading into that interview. Some industries are a little more casual, like a highly creative industry. You may consider a more business casual look, or something that showcases your personality a little more boldly. It’s always best to be overdressed than underdressed in any interview setting.
Do your research
One of the biggest mistakes someone can make is not doing any research about the company they want to interview with. Knowing at least the basic information about the company, like their mission statement, goals and values are an easy way to show your interest.
Send a thank you note
Sending a post-interview thank you note is a great way to let the interviewer know that you genuinely appreciate their time and shows that you are interested in joining their organization.
We recommend going one step further by including something personalized for each note rather than writing a uniform version that is sent to everyone. Take notes during your interview and jot down things that you talk about. You can then include that kind of information in your thank you note. This will not only help the interviewer remember you, but also show them that you were actively listening and that you were engaged in the conversation.
People negotiate every single day but when it comes to negotiating in the workplace, these situations can feel overwhelming.
The first step in any negotiation is to gather as much information as you can on the person with whom you are negotiating and the situation as a whole. Your goal is to know as much as possible before the negotiation begins. Come to the table ready with a few questions to ask your supervisor:
- “Are you happy with my work?”
- “Am I meeting the company’s expectations for my role?”
- “Do you think I’m being paid fairly for the work that I’m bringing to the company?”.
This can be a great starting point for a constructive discussion about your wages.
What is their “why?” What is yours? Understand both party’s needs, wants and perspectives and consider viable options that are more likely to result in success. As always; do your research and be familiar with industry standards.
Stay calm, cool and collected
Negotiation can be a stressful situation, but it’s important to keep a clear and open mind. Dress for success, strike a power pose before walking into the lobby and try to schedule a time when you know you’ll feel sharp.
- Use absolute language.
- Accept verbal offers on the spot.
- Play hardball.
- Lie about other job offers.
- Ask for an offer in writing.
- Your research!
- Pay attention to body language.
- Consider the other party’s perspective.
Try not to let emotion hinder your efforts and remember that your relationship with the other party is part of your goal. Have an end goal in mind, but don’t dig your heels into your position. Focus on your interest instead, and keep other options in mind. This is called your BATNA, or your best alternative to a non-agreement. What is your best case scenario if you don’t achieve your loftiest goal?
Navigating your first job offer can be tricky. A contract is a legally binding document between the employer and the employee so it is critical that you take it seriously and proceed cautiously.
These are the primary elements of a traditional employee contract that are negotiable between you and the employer.
- Term (How many years does the contract last?)
- Signing bonus/Relocation Bonus or Reimbursement
- Clothing Allowance
- Tuition/Education Opportunity or Reimbursement
Benefits are non-wage compensation provided to you as an employee in addition to your normal wages or salary and vary by company, so it’s important for you to understand what benefits will be available to you upon signing. They can include:
- Vacation day, sick days, personal days and other paid time off
- 401K benefits
- Health insurance
- Company-observed holidays
- Education or tuition reimbursements
Additional terms to know:
First Right of Refusal/Renewal: This clause generally empowers a station to retain you by simply matching other offers you may receive. Some clauses may include a hold on you in all markets they operate in. It is strongly recommended that you do not agree to this clause.
Outs – This clause enables you to leave a station prior to the agreed-upon employment date should you receive an offer from another station. The “out” designates a specific type of position or location that would allow you to get out of your contract.
Remember: No deal is always an appropriate outcome. Not all negotiations come to a resolution and you should never settle or feel forced to agree to something for the sake of making a deal. For that reason, it’s a good idea to go into the situation with your “no,” or your bottom line.
Growing your network is a great way to connect with like minded professionals you can go to for advice throughout your career. These connections could also be your “in” with an employer you want to work with. Network with recruiters and other staff members at events, then connect with them on platforms like LinkedIn and stay in touch.
The Cronkite Nation alumni network work for a variety companies and industries all over the world and are often open to speaking with current students and other alumni to help them in their career. We encourage Cronkite alumni to join our LinkedIn group and Facebook group.