My background is in TV news, so I have long believed that video interviews can tell you something different about your subject—something that a phone conversation or replies to questions via email just can’t.
There’s something powerful in that sort of presence, even if it’s “tele-presence.”
This week, I met with a student whose next internship interview will be conducted via a video screening service called “Take The Interview“
In my brief (very unscientific) polling via Twitter, I found only one other student among our ranks who’s been through the process, so this was something I clearly needed to research for you.
Here’s how it works: Using your computer’s webcam and microphone, you answer a series of standard interview questions which appear on-screen in front of you. In many cases, you’re given a time limit and there are no “re-dos.”
You can read more about the process and what to expect on Take The Interview’s “Candidate’s Corner-.”
The point here is that this is a technology that allows employers to size up a pretty important thing about you (how you present yourself) much earlier in the screening process.
Take the Interview founder Danielle Weinblatt explained to Mashable.com’s Sarah Kessler why this is important.
“I would get people who had been resume- and phone-screened, and it boggled my mind how many of them would come through and not be able to answer these three simple questions,” she says.
She also applied what she calls “the airplane test” with an unfortunate rate of success. If she could imagine sitting through a flight between New York and London with the candidate, that person was a potential fit. But this quality was something neither a resume nor a phone screening did much to help assess.
What she wanted to do was to ask her most important questions to candidates up-front in a way that would allow her to quickly assess them without committing to a 30-minute interview.
If you’ve been in my office, we’ve talked about the “elevator pitch,” but the “airplane test” is something altogether different and every bit as important.
“It’s not just about what people say, it’s about what they sound like, how they pull themselves together,” Weinblatt says.
If you haven’t already, it’s time (past time, honestly, since you’re a college student now) to seriously assess who you are and how you present yourself to the world.
Long airplane flights force people to be together in a stressful situation. The workplace is like that too. Make sure you pass the airplane test. Take the Interview (and similar services) move that part of landing the internship/job a little earlier in the process.
By now, you should be deep into your internship search and possibly have applied for a few key opportunities with early deadlines.
However, if you’re hesitant about pursuing a summer internship in a large media market because you don’t think you can afford it, you must apply for funding from the SOJ’s Student Enhancement Fund.
Every year, we solicit applications from full-time undergrads pursuing internships or major-related study abroad programs who need a little help covering their costs. Awards typically range between $500-$1,000. The process is competitive. Applying for an Enhancement does not guarantee an award. There is a review process.
I’ve just finished reviewing the application packet (and have gotten Dean Reed’s approval) and we’re ready to start accepting your applications.
An applicant must:
Be a full-time student in the School of Journalism
Be an undergraduate during the study abroad or internship program
Have completed at least 6 hours of SOJ coursework
Have a cumulative GPA of 3.0 or higher; and
Have already been accepted to and made a commitment to participate in a study abroad program or an internship that requires traveling or living away from home and working in a metropolitan market
How to Apply
Complete the two-page General Application form
Complete the Essay Form and the Essay Assignment
Provide two Recommendation Forms
We encourage at least one academic recommendation (professor, advisor, etc.). The other may be an employer or supervisor (recommendations from relatives and friends will not be accepted). Please have your references return the Recommendation Forms directly to you so that you may submit them as part of your application.
Provide a copy of the official letter or e-mail that you received inviting you to participate in the internship or study abroad program.
Deadline: March 21, 2014
Return all application materials and direct questions to:
Director of Student Careers and Opportunities
P.I. Reed School of Journalism
Room 104B Martin Hall
The new application forms have not yet been uploaded to the SOJ website, but if you contact me, I’ll email one to you.
Don’t miss this opportunity!
Listen. I know that, on a day like today, when the snow is deep and getting deeper, it’s easy to think about spending your entire summer on a beach somewhere.
I don’t mean to rain on (snow on) your parade, but now is really the start of crunch time for summer internship applications.
While there’s no universal deadline for internship applications, March 15th is a good rule of thumb. According to Lauren Berger, “the Intern Queen” mid-March is when most organizations like to have their interns lined up for the upcoming summer.
Of course, many deadlines are earlier and many are later. My suggestion (if the application deadline isn’t explicitly listed on the job posting) is to send a simple letter of inquiry and to do that soon. Just make absolutely certain that the information you need isn’t somewhere in the description. If you’re at all in doubt, send the job description to me or have a friend or parent look it over. It’s OK to ask for more information, but it shows a lack of thoroughness if you’ve missed it and it’s right there in front of you.
Something like this:
Dear (use the real person’s name if you can find it),
I am very interested in the Summer Internship Program at XYZ Agency, which I read about on Internships.com. Could you please provide some additional information about the deadline for submitting an application?
Make certain that you mention where you learned about the opportunity. You might be calling their attention to a deadline date that was left out of the job description by mistake.
In general, you don’t want to make unnecessary phone calls or email contacts—but I really think that it’s OK to show that you’re the sort of person who is detail and process oriented and that deadlines are important to you too.
Last word for this week—if you, like me, are snowed in, use today to start your summer internship search. Come up with a list of about 10-20 companies you’d like to learn more about. Search their sites for internships (often posted under “Careers”). Find out what the deadline is for applying for a summer internship. Find out who the person is who’s doing the hiring. Join the WVU PI Reed School of Journalism LinkedIn group and see if any of our alumni are already working for the company (or at least in the industry) that interests you.
And as always, watch your inbox for this week’s Opportunity Alert (coming tomorrow), and follow me (EricMinorWVU) on Twitter for the latest opportunities.Plus—-one last plug: Join me and Northwestern Mutual’s Beth Schnieder tomorrow at 7pm in Room 205 for our seminar “Building a Winning Resume.” That’s a great way to get your resume up to snuff for summer internship applications.
Use this snowy day to start planning your summer!
Hear that? That’s the sound of time running out for registering for spring 2014 internships.
The deadline for enrolling in JRL 441 or JRL 442 is 5pm Tuesday, January 14th.
The process is fairly painless and takes very little time. In fact, I can serve up some internship opportunities that are essentially “shovel-ready;” you just have to be the one to pick up the shovel.
Once spring internships are under way, we’ve all (especially me) got to get dead serious about what we’re going to do with our summers.
I want you to think big and aim high…but also to think wide.
Come up with between 10 and 20 places that you could feasibly spend a chunk of your summer. If you’re struggling with the list, come and see me.
Anyone who’s been in my office has gotten my “Hot List” of sites—online resources that I like because they’re free and easy to filter by region and discipline.
Here they are again:
These are by no means the only sites you should be searching. If you haven’t already, register with MountaineerTrak through career services.
I’m adding a new site to the list. YouTern.com.
Creating a culture in which internships are common is a big part of my mandate for this new position at the J-school.
I feel like we’re getting there, but I called up YouTern’s CEO and Founder, Mark Babbitt today to talk about how he created that same culture within his online community.
His two word answer is one that I really like: “actionable inspiration.” In fact, I’m printing that phrase in my now-trademark 72-point Avenir Black font and posting it on the wall next to my diploma.
So are the programs I’m putting together for the spring semester, starting with our “Building a Winning Resume” seminar coming up on Wednesday, January 22nd at 7pm in Room 205.
These are simple, free and hopefully, they inspire you to take action. It’s a scary process, this career planning thing. You don’t have to do it alone.
Do yourself a favor and check out the “actionable inspiration” on YouTern.
Let’s get to work!
Welcome back and Happy 2014!
First up, a quick housekeeping reminder: If you are taking an internship for credit during the Spring Semester, please come to my office (or email me at Eric.Minor@mail.wvu.edu) and complete the necessary paperwork. You can enroll in the course up until the end of the day on Tuesday, January 14th. Please don’t wait. I’m keeping my schedule as open as possible so I can accommodate late notice from your internship “employer,” but I would hate to see someone miss out on a hard-won internship because of a missed deadline.
While you were enjoying (I hope) a nice long winter break, we were hard at work in the Office of Student Careers and Opportunities developing programs to help you stay on track with your career campaign.
Add these important events to your calendar and please attend. I’m building these programs around suggestions you’ve made to me (as well as other recent grads and alumni).
January 14, 10:30 a.m. – 12:00 noon
The C-SPAN Bus will be returning to campus (location TBD, but it will be impossible to miss). WVU’s History Department is coordinating the visit, but they graciously gave me a heads-up so Journalism students wouldn’t miss out. C-SPAN does offer outstanding internships and they will be promoting their program during their visit.
Regardless of your major (StratComm or Journalism) there are plenty of reasons to visit. From C-SPAN’s promotional materials:
Aboard the C-SPAN Bus, visitors can learn about StudentCam, First Ladies and the networks’ other programming and resources through interactive technology:
In-depth public affairs coverage and educational outreach
Touch-screen quizzes on C-SPAN and the three branches of government
Social media networking including Facebook, Twitter, Foursquare, YouTube, Tout, XM Radio and mobile apps
HD cameras and production equipment demonstrating C-SPAN’s capability to produce public affairs programming aboard the Bus
C-SPAN also provides a unique way to experience public affairs through its Video Library and Congressional Chronicle, in which more than 200,000 hours of political and governmental footage have been archived since 1987.
January 22, 7pm, Room 205 Martin Hall
Career Campaign Seminar: “Building a Winning Resume”
I’ll be joined by Northwestern Mutual’s Beth Schneider to present tips on how to best market yourself through a razor-sharp resume. I’ve been meeting with Beth since my arrival on campus this summer and we’re both in agreement about strategies for making your resume work for you.
This really is a can’t-miss event. I will always be here to offer basic resume building advice, but think of what we could accomplish together if you already have a killer baseline resume for us to work with when you come to my office.
(Northwestern Mutual is also very interested in developing relationships with our students. They’ve got a potentially lucrative internship program if you’re interested at all in sales).
January 29th, 5-8 p.m., Rhododendron Room, Mountainlair
I’m not being coy, but I’m really not supposed to be aggressively promoting this yet. Put it on your calendars. Trust me on this. I’ve got the inside track on an exciting new competition on campus with some real prize money (which would be nice for Spring Break, right?).
I’ve discussed this with the StratComm faculty and they’re very excited about it as well. I promise that I’ll give you more info as soon as I get the go-ahead from the people who have done all of the heavy lifting.
There’s more to come in February and March.
The second half of our split Finals Week is under way!
Despite all of the cramming, writing and not-sleeping, many of you have been in my office asking about spring and summer internships.
We’ve spent a lot of time talking about strategies for scoring an internship in a large media market, but this week, we’re looking at all of the benefits you can get from a small-market newsroom or boutique agency.
I did all four of my internships in small-market newsrooms and firmly believe that those experiences were vital in keeping me on the career path I had planned after graduation.
What follows is an interview I did with TVJ student Adam Woodring about the internship he did last summer at WCTC, a talk radio station in central New Jersey.
Before interviewing Adam, I reviewed his reflective journals and final reflective paper to get a better perspective on his experience. Read carefully and you’ll find answers about how this internship helped him conquer some insecurities, develop and build upon skills he learned in classes and how he even had a few celebrity encounters.
Eric Minor: In your final reflective paper, you said you were “blown away” by the operation at WCTC. What was it that surprised you the most about the level of professionalism at a smaller radio operation?
Adam Woodring: To be completely honest, the thing that surprised me the most about the level of professionalism that I was seeing every day was the fact that everything was taken seriously. When it came to going on air and reading the stories, there was no such thing as joking around or slacking off. Regardless of whether my boss Bruce was reading a story about the passing of a NJ senator or a local story about rising gas prices, he always sounded extremely professional. There was no cute, fancy, or joke filled writing that was made to make people laugh. Everything was very short, sweet, and to the point and was not messed around with.
EM: In your final reflective paper, you talked about the challenge of doing “street pieces” (person-on-the-street interviews about topics in the news). Were you surprised that the station gave you equipment and assignments on a regular basis? Even though you found this experience to be initially uncomfortable, do you feel it gave you a better perspective on what a broadcast reporter does?
AW: Yes, I was surprised by this. I didn’t think that after only being an intern for a few weeks, they would already trust me with such a large amount of work. I knew coming in that my workload would be increasing steadily as the days went on, but to start at such a high level was a bit of a shock. This was especially evident when it came to street pieces. By the end of my third week, I was already being trained on how to approach people on the street and talk to them. I was not at all expecting this to happen so quickly, but I was certainly ready for the challenge. And yes, I absolutely believe it gave me a better perspective into what exactly reporters do. I had heard hundreds of reports on the radio in my lifetime that featured sound clips from various people that I could tell were just on the side of the street. But actually going through the process of putting one of them together by myself made me realize how difficult it really is. I came to realize that questioning the difficulty of it in the past was pretty foolish because of the amount of work it turned out to be.
EM: You mentioned attending news conferences with Gov. Chris Christie and John Bon Jovi. Did you feel initially “star-struck” to be around powerful people? What did you observe about the more experienced news professionals? Were they equally impressed?
AW: The first time I attended an event of this nature, I most definitely felt a little star struck to be so close to someone with so much power and influence. When I went to cover Chris Christie’s campaign event where he accepted his party’s nomination to run for Governor of New Jersey, I actually made a big mistake. When he got up to the podium and was making his speech, he said some things that I agreed with so I applauded to show my agreement. At that moment Mike, the other employee at the station I would see every day, looked at me and told me that as a member of the media that is not appropriate behavior. He said that as members of the media, we have to remain impartial and neutral so that we can be viewed as fairly reporting the events we are covering. And of course after that moment, I basically did not move from my chair the entire night. The other media members at that event and the other events I attended were motionless and not at all star struck by what was happening so I felt kind of silly. But as I went to more of these events, I felt more and more used to them and began to view them as just another thing.
EM: What did you observe about the differences between one-on-one “street piece” interviews and larger-scale news conferences?
AW: Well just to clarify, at the news conferences I went to I was not required by my boss to ask questions because of my inexperience so I didn’t do any of that. But based on my extensive experience with street pieces and the observations I made at these press events, I could certainly compare the two. The biggest difference is the level of personal interaction. During the street pieces, I am standing on the sidewalk of a street and sticking a microphone in the face of a random person that just happens to walk by. At the press conferences, the media is separated by a big amount of space from the podium so they have to yell at the person so they can hear their question. At these events, there was always a box where you could hook up a recorder and get all the sound, but the lack of personal interaction definitely made it a little weird.EM: How valuable was it for you to learn a different writing style—-that is, what you were used to and what WCTC expected of you?
AW: I would have to say that learning a different writing style was the single most important thing that I did during my internship, other than doing street pieces. I had been so used to writing in a way that would make my paragraphs longer and give me the correct word count that I needed. But one of the things that Bruce told me throughout my time there was that I should use the smallest amount of words that I possibly could to get my point across. That was basically the main idea of all the writing I did. When I would be done writing one of the versions of my story, Bruce would come over to check it and a lot of the time would see that I was using too many words to say something that could be said with less. In the first few weeks, he quite often had to tell me to cut out certain words that just didn’t need to be there.
EM: What would you say to a younger TVJ student who was “on the fence” about doing an internship in local radio as opposed to seeking out a “big newsroom” internship?
AW: If I was counseling someone on this matter, I would absolutely recommend they take the opportunity at the smaller radio station. While it may be cool to be able to work with people who are maybe better known and more recognizable, what work will you actually get the chance to do? While you might end up just sitting around doing a lot of watching or fetching coffee at the larger station, at the smaller one, you might the chance to do the kinds of things I did. I was making phone calls almost daily on different stories, going to press conferences, and doing street pieces without any help from anyone else. I was recording my voice in the computer and then the next morning hearing played on the live internet stream of the radio station! It gave me such a sense of accomplishment and pride to get these assignments done and hear the finished product. That is something that you probably wouldn’t get to do at a bigger station in a larger media market.
My thanks to Adam for giving us an inside look at his learning experiences at WCTC. Good luck to all of you as you finish up your finals and head home for a well-deserved break. Remember to use your downtime to its fullest potential—this is the time to look for your next internship. Call up your hometown paper, review the internship search websites I’ve shared with you over the semester and think about what you need to accomplish now to make yourself more marketable in the future.
If you find a spring internship opportunity and want to (or are required to) earn college credit for it, remember that you can enroll in the internship courses (JRL 441 or JRL 442) up until the final day to add a class.
I will continue sending out job and internship alerts throughout the break and you can always reach me via email.
If you’re on the School of Journalism ListServ (if you’re a current student or recent graduate, you are), check your MIX account today.
I just sent out the Finals Week edition of the Opportunity Alert!
Inside are 50+ internships for spring and summer, paid and unpaid, companies and non-profits, in all disciplines and in all corners of the country.
It’s a lot to digest, but the point is that there are internships out there. Even if you don’t find one that works for you, use this as a guide to find similar companies, agencies and newsrooms that might work out for you.
While you’re at home for the holidays (or wherever you are) block out some time to do some career planning. If there’s business at home that intrigues you, see if you can schedule a visit or spend a day shadowing a professional. If you’ve been putting off polishing up your resume, take an hour and do it. If you just graduated, realize that many of the companies listed here will take on a recent graduate and pay you an entry-level salary.
Whatever you do, don’t let the break cause your career campaign to stall out. Your competitors are going to use every free second they’ve got to strengthen their resumes and portfolios. What are you going to do?
As always, I’m here to help you wade through it.
Whether you are a December grad or a halfway-there Freshman getting ready to head home for holiday break internship interviews, you need to know the answer to this vitally important question.
Just who are you?
You’ll hear me use the term “elevator pitch” quite a bit. It’s a short summary of who you are. Short enough that you could give it to a hiring manager while riding with them in an elevator.That’s between 30 seconds and two minutes. That’s not much time to encapsulate between 18 and 22 years of personal growth, achievement and development, is it? But, hey—-hiring managers are very busy people.
You’ve got to, above all else, answer the question any hiring manager is really asking you:
What’s in it for me?
This is precisely why I advise you to never include an “objective” or “goals” statement on your resume. That answers the question of what’s in it for you.
Your elevator pitch answers the other question. It can be daunting to answer that question. Let’s break it down into questions that are a little easier to answer:
Who am I?
What do I offer?
What problem does hiring me solve?
What can I contribute?
What should this person do as a result of hearing this?
Ask anyone who’s come into my office since June. They’ll tell you the first thing I do after offering them a seat is to start asking a series of probing questions that are aimed at helping you answer these questions.
My new friend Demetrius Greer in Student Services just shared with me a pretty solid checklist that can really help you sharpen up this verbal self-portrait.
1. Write down everything that comes to your mind when you ask yourself these questions.
2. Cut out the jargon and details. Make strong, short and powerful sentences. Eliminate any unnecessary words.
3. Connect phrases to each other. Remember, this is a piece of strategic and journalistic communication. It must flow.
4. Memorize key points and practice reciting them. This will be hugely helpful when you land an interview
5. Make certain you’ve answered the key question of WHAT’S IN IT FOR THEM?
6. Make sure that your elevator pitch is tailored to a variety of jobs. One size does not fit all.
It seems daunting, but it’s what we’ve been taught to do as communicators here at the SOJ:
It’s your brand identity, your thesis statement, the subject of your personal infographic (I’m trying to appeal to all majors here).
I firmly believe that this sort of self-reflection can help guide your resume, cover letter and interview prep.
Come and see me if you need help!
Welcome back from the fall break, my friends.
As we head into the home stretch for the semester, I’m busy helping students prepare for spring and summer internships. Come see me if you’re interested in getting the ball rolling on either semester! The internship courses (JRL 441 and JRL 442) do not fill up so you can register for the course as late as January 14 (but PLEASE don’t wait that long!)
While I’m working on that, Print-J senior Bryan Bumgardner has picked up the slack and is blogging this week about the trip he and several members of our chapter of Ed on Campus took to New York.
The takeaways from this trip:
- NETWORKING LEADS TO WORKING
- THERE IS NO SUBSTITUTE FOR WORKING HARD
Bryan, you have the floor!
New York City: the name itself invokes a mythical paradise of movie stars, fashion designers and Wall Street executives. For journalism students it often seems like a place of impossibilityof impossible-to-win internships, impossible-to-earn jobs and impossible-to-meet people.
Last month, 11 P.I. Reed School of Journalism students visited New York and learned the truth: anything is possible.
My name is Bryan and I’m a member of Ed on Campus, a student organization offshoot of Ed2010, a networking organization for the magazine industry. Our goal is to connect our students with potential employers in the magazine industry and find opportunities for internships and jobs. Often we discover these practical goals have holistic consequences: not only do we help people find opportunities, but through Ed on Campus students find the confidence to think big.
Last month we took 11 students to New York to network and explore. Over three days we toured Meredith Corporation’s American Baby magazine offices, took a walkthrough of the Associated Press headquarters and met with prominent alumni Karen Snyder-Duke and David Wilkison. We also found some time to explore the city, a must for NYC-first-timers.
While we met with industry professionals, we had the opportunity to ask them all the hard questions. How did they get these jobs? What should we be learning? How can we break into the industry? Each professional had their own story, and there was a predictable (yet refreshing) common denominator: all of them worked hard.
But New York isn’t just about jobs. New York is a lifestyle. To truly experience the city, we stayed in a hostel in the Upper West Side and took the subway to all of our meetings. On Saturday we explored Midtown and Central Park, stopping to enjoy classic New York pizza and the madness of Times Square.
Thanks to this experience, our group’s perception of New York changed. We discovered the people who work at magazines are just thatnormal people. It’s totally possible to get on their level if you work hard and stay dedicated.
The trip inspired everyone to think critically about their own aspirations. Over more than one meal we discussed how to build resumes, perform powerfully during interviews and how to get the most of our educations.
On the trip home, our students weren’t sad they had to leave the city. Rather, people were concerned with their next step. The future wasn’t murky anymorethey know how to succeed. Now it’s up to them to get there.
Some people call New York the city of dreams. I believe all you need is a taste and you’ll be inspired to chase your own. Here’s to hoping our students go far.
Bryan Bumgardner is a print journalism major with a Twitter. A big shoutout to the WVU Student Government Association for their generous grant to fund this expedition. For the full collection of photos, visit Bryan’s Flickr page.
Several SOJ students have interviewed me this semester for class work. All of them have done an exceptional job distilling my ridiculously long answers into tight quotes.
Here’s a great example from Abigail Campbell, who profiled me this week on “The Cap, The Gown and the Pursuit of Happiness.”
This is (my interview notwithstanding) a really exceptional tool to add to your career planning arsenal.
Here’s how the authors describe their blog:
The Cap, The Gown & The Pursuit of Happiness is a blog aimed at preparing college students for graduation and career success after graduation. From being aware of all the necessary paperwork to becoming a successful professional in your chosen career path, we will help readers explore every step in between. We will share first hand experiences from college advisors and successful graduates to further educate readers on what to do and what not to do. This blog will cover every topic necessary to make the transition from college life to the real world as smooth as possible.
This blog is an assignment for our interactive journalism class at West Virginia University. We hope to connect with an existing community of bloggers and readers in need of our findings, interviews and experiences. The purpose of this blog is not to be a how-to, but to serve as an encouraging resource or those who are experiencing this transitional period of their lives with us!
I know I’m adding it to my weekly reading list. So should you!
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