Janice’s Review Blog

Workshop ignites spark in audience

Posted on: September 12, 2010

The Society of Professional Journalists put on a lively workshop “Getting the Job” with an expert panel of three women, who gave advice, shared stories and put some humor in the mix. This workshop kicked off a series of six Journalism Jump Start Workshops to be held in September, October and November.

The panelists included Michelle Donaldson, news director at CBS 5 News; Jennifer Stein,  city of Glendale acting senior marketing and communications manager and former KTVK TV 3 producer; and Liz Smith, ASU outreach director at Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communications and Certified Professional Resume Writer.

The panelists encouraged the audience to join professional societies like SPJ and the National Academy of Television Arts and Sciences or other societies that brought them into contact with people in their industry.

Donaldson said she listens to her employees recommendations when she needs to fill a position.

“Network only with organizations that can help you,” says Smith.

She says, keep your focus and energies on jobs you want and take a strategies approach.

The panelists recommended shadowing, interning and volunteering for special projects. This gives the individual an opportunity to experience the job and to get experience to list on a resume.

“Call someone you know to get you an opportunity to shadow,” says Donaldson. “Do not be a silent shadow.”

Volunteer for a big project like the upcoming Fiesta Bowl championship game and work on it from beginning to end to show your involvement in the industry, says Stein.

Smith shared the story of a woman, who worked as an intern for her at Arizona Foothills magazine. Later she said the intern worked on freelance stories, and finally Smith hired her for a permanent position with the magazine.

Audience member Kyle Porter asked about the role of the cover letter.

All three panelists agreed the cover letter acted as a sales tool to get the applicant an interview.

“Got to have one,” said Donaldson. It works as a sales tool and serves as a writing sample, and it can never hurt you unless it’s done poorly.

“Very important. Crucial in e-mail,” says Smith. She encourages people to portray their magic power, and answer the question, “How do my skills solve this person’s problem?”

Smith says, be truthful and able to perform the skills listed, use bullet points to highlight three things and convince the potential employer to read your resume.

Smith added that she doesn’t believe in job boards and emphasized the importance of resumes done as hard copies on good quality paper. She said, do not fold the resume and either hand deliver it or mail it directly to a specific person. Smith gave her top online resume example as Christina Boomer’s at http://christinaboomer.com/bio/.

The panelists concluded with these thoughts.

“What can you do to advance your brand?” asked Smith.

“Be yourself,” emphasized Donaldson.

“Help each other form relationships,” concluded Stein.


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