Tips for job/intern interviews

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After what I would call a successful internship interview with the Dallas Morning News this morning, I thought it would be appropriate to share that experience. After all, moments like these are the culmination of all my hard work. Here are the two biggest tips I can give you for impressing your potential employers.

First, nail your cover letter.  Lisa Kresl, who represented the Dallas Morning News at our college’s job and internship fair, was impressed with what I had to say in my cover letter about why I was interested in sports writing. I wrote something along the lines of “during my internship at the Pensacola News Journal, I learned that behind every athlete there is a human being with a story to tell.”

Another way to impress in your cover letter, which brings me to my second tip, is to research the company you want to work for and its market. Why do I want to work for the Dallas Morning News? Because it’s arguably the paper with the best sports coverage in the country with the biggest market to cover. Research the paper’s Web site. Tell them what you like and offer suggestions for what they could improve on. I told Lisa I was impressed with their blogs. Every major team they cover has its own blog that serves as a one-stop shop for news.

Another thing to look for: What kind of stories do you see? Are those the kind of stories that appeal to you that you can see yourself writing one day?

Also research the person interviewing you. Lisa is a travel writer, a far cry from sports, but I read some of her articles anyways. Turns out her husband lives in Fort Walton Beach, a neighboring town to my hometown of Pensacola, and they often visit the Florida Panhandle. It seems a lot of Dallas residents like to travel to the Panhandle for vacation and the paper calls upon her to write travel articles for that audience. This really helped break the ice early on in the interview and it was all smooth sailing from there. Try finding any common interest you can with the person interviewing you.

The high point in the interview came when Lisa told me I was one of the few candidates that took the time to do some research.

Though most of the questions she asked were based on the flow of our conversation, here are a couple of general questions you can expect from your interview:

Tell me about yourself (probably the most important).

What article did you enjoy writing the most and why?

The journalism job interview is unlike any other job interview. After all, there are journalists on both sides of the equation and as a journalist you should be ready to ask questions and want to learn as much about your interviewer as they want to learn about you.

Lisa said getting the internship is very difficult and competitive, but it’s apparent to me that I struck her as one of her best candidates so far. Even if I don’t get it, I know I did my best.

On an unrelated topic, I wanted to provide a link for a wonderful story written by a friend over at the Independent Alligator about a UF soccer player who lost her mother to breast cancer.

The reason I think this is important is that it shows that you’re not far behind in the game if you’re not covering a huge football or basketball beat, such as Florida or Texas or USC. In fact, the best stories are to be found in areas like soccer, where you have more access to players. I don’t recall in my time at UF seeing an article like this on a football player.

Just trying to provide some encouragement here. If this doesn’t have you inspired to write a story by the time you finish reading  it, then maybe you should rethink your major.

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One Response to “Tips for job/intern interviews”

  1. Sports PR Weekly Roundup, October 30 Edition | Sports PR Blog Says:

    […] Sports gives some tips for people interviewing for an internship or full-time gig. The post is directed for individuals […]

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