How to be the ideal job candidate

Hundreds of resumes and business cards changed hands at the Online News Association’s job fair yesterday. Twenty-one media companies were recruiting for online news reporters. But not all applications are the same.

Four recruiters offered tips on how to make your application stand out.

Jane Elizabeth, Senior Web Editor, The Washington Post
“I also recommended that they list every single technical skill they have, even though they might think ‘Well, of course everybody has that.’ You shouldn’t assume everybody has that or knows how to do that. If you are good with working on spreadsheets or databases, you need to play that up. Any kind of content management systems that you’ve worked on so you can show that you are familiar with different management systems.”

Sharon Feder, Managing Editor, Mashable
“In terms of what puts a candidate on top of the list is really an entrepreneurial spirit — being able to create their own projects, whether they’re a part of their current job or outside of their job, and creating a really amazing online presence that stands out. For us, that means having your own Tumblr where you write about what really matters to you or what matters in the space and really showing us that you believe in what you’re writing about.”

Tim Windsor, Editorial Director, South, Patch
“When I see a candidate for the first time, I’m seeing a resume. What I look for there is a really easy through-line to understand what skills this person may have, what experiences they may have, links to things they may have already done. That could be live links to stories elsewhere on the Web. That could be links to stories on your own personal website. I think a personal website is a great thing to have for a candidate for us because it gives me a sense of who you are.”

Brenda Pullman, Recruiter, The New York Times
“You’re telling a story online, so not only do you need the journalism but you also need good technical skills: Final Cut Pro, HTML, Photshop, CSS, things like that.”