5 ways to prepare a journalism career fair

August 28, 2019 01:30

I’ll never forget the first time I went to a then “RTNDA” career expo. I was a student at the University of Florida, and I attended the convention in Miami Beach (I won’t say how long ago that was, only that internet blogs were not a thing). I was afraid to approach recruiters who, it seemed, where “larger than life” to a college kid hoping to work in journalism.

I’ve worn different hats during my career so far. I’ve gone from the “recruited” to “recruiter” and I’ve learned A LOT. Here are a few tips if you are headed to San Antonio for EIJ19.
  • Do your homework BEFORE the conference. Research the companies that are going to be there, the locations they have, and the types of jobs they hire for. Target companies that have geographic locations and positions you might be interested in (I can’t tell you how many people come up to us at conferences asking about jobs in LA or NYC…markets where we don’t own stations).
  • Have an easy to find link to your portfolio (writing or video) available. When you sit down with a recruiter, they are going to want to see your work. If it’s not your absolute best work, don’t include it in your portfolio.
  • Dress to impress. While the conference is not considered business formal attire, you want to convey that you are a professional. Don’t wear jeans, sneakers, or anything that you would wear to the clubs on the Riverwalk at night. You are interviewing for a job and you want to make a great impression.
  • Don’t just think about your next job…think about your career. What companies have a career path that can lead you to your dream job, whether it’s a title or a geographic location. If you are a college student, does the company own small, medium, and large market properties to allow you to grow?
  • Finally, there is more crossover between industries than ever before. Newspaper reporters and photographers produce video, broadcast reporters write for digital and mobile, and everyone produces social content. Don’t limit yourself. I know at TEGNA, we are looking to hire innovators and disrupters on all platforms. If you can write, shoot and edit video, and have a creative spark and an interest in creating great work, come see me. 
Truth is, there has never been a more exciting time to be in journalism, in my opinion, but you must be willing to embrace the present (and future).  See you in San Antonio.

More than 50 major media companies, schools and journalism organizations will be represented at the EIJ19 J-Expo and Career Fair. Find your next career move or newsroom resource there! 

Neal Bennett is a Senior Recruiter at TEGNA Inc. He has been a news director, assistant news director, and digital director in markets in Florida, Virginia, South Dakota, and Missouri.



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