Finding job opportunities can be a daunting task for media professionals, especially recent graduates and freelancers who may not know where to look.
However, career openings for journalists “are everywhere, ubiquitous, and cosmopolitan,” said Paul Adepoju, the ICFJ Global Health Crisis Reporting Forum community manager.
Learning how to spot job opportunities and hunting them down is what catapulted Adepoju to be the journalist he is today, with bylines in news outlets like Business Insider, Nature, The Lancet, New Scientist, BMJ, Quartz and CNN.
In a recent ICFJ Global Health Crisis Reporting Forum webinar, titled “Hunting for Journalism Opportunities,” Adepoju discussed strategies and tools for finding your next job, and he provided insight into his job-seeking experience as a science journalist.
“Every now and then, Forum members ask me why there are no opportunities out there. There are! You just have to know where to find them,” he said.
Here are some points to consider when searching for your next job:
Figure out your beat and stick to it
A key step in creating a deep connection with editors is being open and honest about who you are and what you can do or deliver, according to Adepoju.
“Putting yourself out there, you have to know some housekeeping rules. Identify the beats you can prove you cover. For example, sports, agriculture, religion, crime — because it will be difficult to jump from one beat to another. Be ahead of the pack, early to apply and early to respond,” he said.
Always be the first to respond to applications, he noted — but be aware that you won’t get every opportunity you apply for.
Rejection is inevitable
You can’t avoid rejection when applying for job opportunities, Adepoju said. To avoid fatigue, and to be taken seriously by editors, journalists shouldn’t apply for everything.
“Always be prepared for rejection and don’t be hard on yourself if you don’t get the position you applied for. Take your time to study the application and prepare. For instance, many people make the mistake of copying and pasting information from an old application,” he said.
[View past webinars and key quotes]
Build relationships with editors
Most jobs require applicants to have references who speak to why they are the best candidate for the job they are applying to. Establishing relationships with editors is an easy way to ensure that you have people who can vouch for you when trying to take that next step in your career.
“Try to be your own marketer to editors and reach out to them during sideline events. Nobody should market you more than yourself. Get recommendations from editors and endeavor to prioritize relationships,” he said.
Journalists can also find editors on Twitter, and they can easily reach out to them in their inboxes, Adepoju added.
Use these tools to hunt for job opportunities:
- International Journalist’ Network
- Global Investigative Journalism Network
- Reuters Institute
“Journalists can subscribe to IJNet’s weekly newsletter for free, to get new job openings aggregated according to their region and ending time frame. Google search is [also] interesting: it brings out jobs at your location, and if you set up your profile well on LinkedIn, it will bring out job openings relevant to your resume,” he said.
Craft a strong resume
Crafting a web-based portfolio or a one-page resume works well when looking for journalism opportunities. This is because editors don't have a lot of time to go through lengthy documents, explained Adepoju.
“Journalists can use a one-page resume for their job-hunting applications and can create one using Office.com templates. They must also include two relevant quality writing samples in their resume. On original emails, avoid mass sending copies to several editors. And don’t send your resume on Microsoft Word — send it out as a PDF [file],” he said.