As an always-busy college journalism student, I thought today’s post would cover what I think every journalism student needs for optimum success. (Keep in mind, this is all based on what I’ve learned so far.)
- Online portfolio [Weebly]
Weebly is an online portfolio site (there are many), and I’ve recently learned how important that your portfolio, writing samples, work experience and resume should be online. It’s easy to use. Future employers can read everything or download and print. Another thing about Weebly, it’s super easy for beginners to use. I’d definitely recommend creating one, and then make sure you keep updating it! (Helpful tip: With your resume, you should list all of your “relevant coursework” and a small summary, because in college, that is the bulk of your experience.)
- Hard copy of your resume & portfolio/writing samples
With that being said, it’s still crucial to have hard copies of everything. I literally went to Michael’s and bought artist portfolios that I can slip my work between the sleeves. (I have two; one from my high school paper and one for my internship blog. And I’ll probably need another for my college work.) Going to an interview works the best when you are organized with copies of your resumes, writing samples and portfolio work will always impress.
- LinkedIn profile
This is extremely important for networking. LinkedIn is perfect for connecting with employers, friends and family, because you never know who you’ll have a mutual connection with. Networking is probably one of the biggest tips I could give you about being a professional journalist. Get out there and meet people. Not only that, but prove your prowess and your skills!
- Professional Twitter account
Now, I love my personal Twitter as much as the next person, but I can admit that it won’t help me find a job. Tweeting about college traditions, friends, your reality TV guilty pleasures, et cetera won’t seem impressive to prospective employers. And yes, employers will check your social media presence, ESPECIALLY as a journalist. My professional Twitter I use for tweeting things about journalism, as well as links to stories I write (because journalists love self-promotion.). Helpful tip: use a professional headshot as your Twitter profile picture/icon. An iPhone picture is never as good of a quality as a good camera like a DSLR or something. (I don’t know much about cameras, forgive me.)
- A Blog
Like WordPress, etc, having and maintaining a blog is the perfect way to interact with your audience, as well as a way for you to keep writing when you’re not on assignment or you can write about a passion, something you don’t write about as a journalist.
- External hard drive
Okay, this one is more for photography and videography. But, a good journalist can do it all. And having an external hard drive has the perfect amount of storage to hold it all. This one linked above is what I have. It’s very thin, which is perfect for carrying it around.
- USB drives
This one seems like a no brainer for journalists. We need to BACK UP OUR WORK. I know that no one wants to hear it, but, computers have glitches, and when you’re on deadline, you’re going to wish you had another way to access your story.
- Headphones or ear buds
Again, this is mostly for getting sound bites. Good journalists need to be able to do it all, so if you can write a story, conduct interviews, film a quick video or sound clip; you’re golden. It’s such a competitive market that we need to be able to do it all to compete with all the other prospective hires out there.
- Moleskine or notebook (one that can fit in a purse is best!) & pen/pencil
Obviously, a journalism needs to take notes, DUH. A Moleskine is perfect because it’s small enough to always have with you. Perfect for when you see a quick story, get a quick quote or jot down a story idea. Definitely invest in one. You can easily find them at Barnes & Noble or Target.
- Digital recorder
This is helpful for interviews when transcribing quotes. If you are serious about becoming a journalist, definitely invest in a recorder. It’ll help when you’re on deadline late at night and can’t remember the exact phrasing of a quote. Don’t forget to always ask your subject for permission to tape the interview beforehand! (You don’t want to anger anyone!)
- Youtube account
Again, this is more for filming. But, it’s good to have one to quickly upload videos, and you can edit it easily on Youtube.
- SD card & camera
Cameras are helpful when you are writing a quick story and need to get a photo to accompany it. Because you never know if a staff photographer will be covering the event you’re writing about. Again, as journalists, we have to be editors, writers, filmmakers, photographers, etc: we must do it all.
If this list hasn’t scared you off, then go forth and start writing and look for stories!