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!
WVU Journalism student Omar Ghabra, who continues to make the most of his internship at The Nation, has again been published.
Read his latest work ””In Syria, the Assault on Healthcare Is a Weapon of War here#.
If you want to start strategizing to win an internship like Omar’s, contact me and let’s get to work.
Director of Student Careers and Opportunities
P.I. Reed School of Journalism at West Virginia University
Room 104B Martin Hall
LinkedIn: WVU P.I. Reed School of Journalism
Earlier this semester, I posted that the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review was accepting applications for a paid summer internship.
Without question, this internship attracted more attention from our students than any other opportunity.
I personally helped a half a dozen students prepare their applications for the Trib.
This is a statistic you should know about this and all internships.
There are at least six (and most likely many more) WVU SOJ students competing for this coveted spot. And while I firmly believe that all of them are qualified, I’m not the one doing the hiring.
So I wrote to the guy who is doing the hiring.
The Tribune-Review’s Administrative Editor Mark Gruetze has the tough task of sorting through all of those applications. Here’s what he wrote back:
I’m sure you’ve told your students this already, but I’ll offer the advice for them anyway: They should apply to several places for internships, whether paid or unpaid. I contacted your counterparts at six other universities (at least), and we’re listed on the PNA and other websites.
For example, I received a strong application from a UCLA student who doesn’t appear to have worked outside California but says he wants to come to Pittsburgh because he’s been following us online. The competition is great, at least from our perspective, because we have such a broad area to draw from.
Plus, we’re among the dwindling number of papers offering paid internships.
Anyway, the students shouldn’t pin all their hopes on a particular paper.
I also tout the value of small papers. I spent most of my career with community papers where you get to do everything from news to features to obits to investigations. They’re a great place to learn and they face the same journalistic issues as the papers with another zero or two in their circulation numbers.
I don’t share this to throw cold water on your plans for an internship with The Trib. I firmly believe our applicants can compete. But you have to realize that it a competition and that the most successful competitors give themselves lots of options.
Last month at our Major Market Internships panel, a StratComm student revealed that she’d applied for 87 internships last summer. There was an audible gasp. That was a lot of work.
But while the internship she eventually got may not have been her first choice, she did have . And in the end, she got a fantastic internship.
First of all, MAJOR THANKS to our student panelists who shared their secrets at last week’s discussion about how they landed major market internships. It was well-attended for a chilly Wednesday night and so far the feedback has been overwhelmingly positive.
OK—so you’ve landed the internship of your dreams, you’re all set for this summer and…wait. Where in the world are you going to sleep at night?
Housing is a big question you should have answered before you start to plan your internship search. Lots of you will be doing internships close to campus or close to your permanent addresses this summer…but if you’re targeting a major media market, that might not be an option.
This week, Joni Koay, a Public Relations student, has agreed to share her experiences living in New York as she completed an internship with Gucci. She used Educational Housing Services. Learn more by clicking here. (This is not an endorsement of EHS or its services—it is provided here strictly for your information).
If you have questions about how you can make your housing arrangements for this summer, I can help with that too. As a bonus, for those of you who missed last week’s Internship Panel, I asked Joni some of the same questions our panelists answered.
EM: What year are you? Where are you from? What’s your major? What made you choose a PR minor?
JK: I’m a senior from Fairmont, WV. I am a Multidisciplinary Studies major with minors in Business Administration, Communications and Public Relations. I originally chose PR as a major because I find the dynamic of PR in companies fascinating. I switched it to a minor for faster graduation purposes.
EM: How did you find your internship with Gucci? What was the application process like?
JK: One of my good friends landed a position with Gucci and recommended me to their PR department. There were a lot of emails and phone interviews over the course of four to five months. It started with me submitting my resume to their PR director and I didn’t get a call or email back from Gucci for about two month. After that I had a course of two phone interviews with the director. The first was about my background and future plans. The second interview was about what time I could start and where I’d be living in the city. Unfortunately, Gucci didn’t provide me with housing but recommended areas to look.
EM: How did you prepare for the interview?
JK: My father is an employer and I worked a lot with him on questions and answers. My father told me what he looks for in employee responses during an interview. His biggest advice was to be myself and be confident in what I was saying. Also, I had a lot of experience with previous interviews to other companies.
EM: Was it a paid or unpaid internship? How important was it to you to find a paid internship?
JK: I was an unpaid intern but I did get college credit. It’s very hard to find paid internships with big name companies because they know anyone would love to have their name on a resume. Most places anymore require a college credit application so they don’t have to pay their interns.
EM: How big of a concern was finding living arrangements for you?
JK: Living arrangements were the most difficult to find. It really was the make or break point of the whole internship process. I’m so glad I found out about Education Housing Services. I did a lot of research on dormitories in New York during the summer session. I called a few universities at first but after further research I stumbled upon Education Housing Services. EHS is a program set up for summer interns that houses them across the city in smaller college dormitories. I paid for the full summer session prior to the summer. There were multiple options through EHS, from location, to room size and roommates.
EM: Where did you end up living?
JK: I decided to start at Gucci before my housing through EHS opened up, so I stayed with a friend in Brooklyn for two weeks. After that, I ended up moving to the Marymount University dormitories in Midtown East. It was five blocks from where I was working on Fifth Ave. It was about a ten minute walk, so it really saved me money from transportation every day. I also went with the large double suite. It had two bedrooms, one of which was larger. It came with a full kitchen and two bathrooms.
EM: Did you feel safe and were you able to relax at “home” in between trips into the city?
JK: When I lived in Brooklyn, my friend’s place had security codes to get in and out of the building, so I always felt safe. When I moved to the Marymount, I got issued a card that had my picture and housing information on it. In order to get into the building at all points of the day, I had to have my card. There was a security guard at the door at all times. I always felt safe there.
EM: Were you living by yourself? How were your roommates chosen? Were they doing similar internships?
JK: I lived with three other interns that were in the public relations field. EHS had a system where they housed students with similar internships together. One interned for a PR firm called PNKBNC, the second interned for a fashion company called Dareen Hakim Collection and the last interned for NBC. My roommates were amazing! I still keep up with them.
EM: What would you suggest to a student who’s worried about finding a place to live during his or her internship?
JK: I would highly recommend them emailing or calling EHS, if they were looking for housing in NYC. If they were looking for housing in a different city, I’d say call the nearest college campus and ask about dormitory housing for interns. I don’t recommend Craigslist because you never know what will happen.
is the time for you to start preparing for summer internships.
I’ve met with many of you and the most common question I hear is “where do I start?“
Five of your classmates, all of whom won high-value large-market internships, have agreed to share the secrets of their success with you.
Wednesday, OCTOBER 23RD AT 7PM IN ROOM 205, MARTIN HALL
The panelists are:
- Lauren Nickle (Major League Baseball Advanced Media)
- Kelsey Montgomery (the nonprofit Why Hunger)
- Diane Jeanty (National Public Radio)
- Mike Martin (NBC Universal and SportsNet New York)
- Bryan Bumgardner (Scientific American).
Topics will include:
- Finding a high-level internship
- Preparing a winning application
- Winning the job
- Surviving in the city
- Making the most of the experience
This will be a very interactive presentation. . While these student panelists are outstanding, this is less about celebrating their accomplishments and more about distributing their knowledge to you.
While there’s no such thing as “too early” to start planning for your next internship, there is definitely such a thing as “too late.”
While many internships don’t have posted application deadlines, now is the time to start planning.
If you’re home for the Fall Break, scout out a few places that might provide you with a summer opportunity.
Here’s what I need for you to do:
- If you haven’t already, schedule an appointment with me to discuss the sort of internship experience you’re looking for. You don’t have a specific company in mind, but it helps if you know what sort of work you want to do (or at least what sort of work you want to learn more about).
- Polish up your resume. I like to spend about 20 minutes with each student who schedules an appointment going over their resume and giving you tips on how you can play to your strengths. I can also help you with your cover letter and some talking points should you make it to the interview stage.
- Plan to attend the “How to Land a Major Media Market Internship” Panel scheduled for October 23rd at 7pm in room 205 Martin Hall. Five of our outstanding upperclassmen will give you their tips for finding and winning a high-value internship.
Ask your professors about the weekly “Opportunity Alert” which I distribute to them via email and keep an eye on your own email accounts and my Twitter feed (@EricMinorWVU) for Internship Alerts and Job Openings as they develop.
Interns from the P.I. Reed School of Journalism are not only polishing their craft, they’re contributing thought-provoking and relevant content for their internship providers.
Last week, Omar Ghabra, who studied Journalism (as well as Political Science and Journalism) wrote an article for The Nation called “How Bashar al-Assad Destroyed My Country.” Ghabra, a former editor of The Daily Athenaeum, grew up in southern West Virginia and offers a Syrian-American perspective on the civil war.
I urge you to read this exceptional piece of writing.
If you’d like to know more about how you can position yourself for an internship like Omar’s, contact me at Eric.Minor@mail.wvu.edu or call me at 304.293.6117.
Plus: five of the SOJ’s top interns are ready to share with you their secrets for landing, surviving and maximizing the value of a big-city internship.
Join us Wednesday, October 23rd at 7pm in Room 205 Martin Hall.
Once again, our students are stepping up to share their internship experiences firsthand.
This week, TVJ senior Anthony Pecoraro tells us how he found and landed an internship in the biggest TV market in the country. While Anthony found his internship without much help, remember that I’m here to assist.
I recently met with Eric Minor, Director of Student Careers and Opportunities. He invited me to share my experiences as an intern in the number one television market in the nation.
In January 2013, I began to do a number of Google searches for journalism internships in New York City and, after some let-downs, was accepted for an internship with WABC-TV.
A typical day consisted of me watching all the New York professional sports happening and recording all the highlights. After the game was over, I would go over which ones I felt should be used for the 30 or so second highlight reel during the news. After that, the sports anchor, either Rob Powers or Laura Behnke, the sports editor and I would go into the editing suite and put it all together while the anchor wrote his or her scripts.
This would occur for all the games and between all of this the producer that day, either Mitch Fields or Joe Rupolo would just discuss sports with me or I would ask any questions I had and both were more than welcoming to answer them for me. During the week, I would finish at 11pm and head home. I then worked every Saturday which was usually more of a 1pm until 9pm type of shift.
Working alongside the best in the business is what made this internship very special to me.
Due to my previous internship at WBOY-TV in Clarksburg, I know generally how a television station is run, but I was surprised by how similar the work was in a much larger market. Whether it’s the 210th market or the number 1 market, basic journalism is always what gets the job done.
It was quite interesting to see how although these professionals have years of experience and have risen to the top, the way they go about producing and anchoring their stories is just how it was for them as they started out in Binghamton, NY as Rob Powers did or as Laura Behnke did in Rhinelander, WI. I learned a very valuable lesson throughout the summer; it doesn’t matter where you start off, what does matter is how you rise up to the top and the steps you take to get there.
Sound interesting? Here’s how I landed my internship.
WABC-TV requires its interns to have a New York, New Jersey or Connecticut address or to attend school in the New York area. I suggest doing a Google search for “WABC Internships.” I expect that summer and fall internships will be posted in January. After filling out an application and resume, I moved on to the interview stage.
I encountered a line that stretched through the streets of NYC and more than 300 students coming out for this amazing opportunity and an internship of a lifetime. I knew it would not be easy competition. While it was a little intimidating at first, once I was inside, all I could do was give it my best. Even though I only had 60 seconds to make my case and a resume with just a few things on it, I was able to beat out over 60 others for an internship in the sports department.
In retrospect, I wouldn’t recommend this internship for everyone. I wouldn’t recommend it for your first internship experience. However, after learning about the news industry first hand by interning at a small station and learning the basics, then I believe this internship offers a great opportunity to network, shadow and motivate you to learn what it takes to get to the top.
The link I have attached below is my intern reel that I completed in my final week of the internship. This was something that the entire crew volunteered to help me do and something that really made everything worthwhile. I hope this writing piece helps everyone out as their ideal internship search occurs.
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