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Eric Minor This blog will help further the conversation with students about the importance of internships and how to find an internship, as well as featuring some success stories of previous interns. Comments and feedback are always welcome. Thanks for joining the discussion!

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28 Apr

When the home stretch is really just the pre-race warm-up.

Authored By Matthew | April 28th, 2014

Deep breath.

You’ve got this.

It’s finals week and summer is within reach.

You may have your summer internship or first job all lined up and are starting to get jittery about it.

You’ve got this.

You may still be looking.

You’ve got this.

I’m going to go all “old man” on you for just a minute here, but humor me.

Even though I’m 41, I’m feeling what you’re feeling. I’m finishing my Master’s degree through the IMC program and will be graduating with the Class of 2014 next month. At the same time, I identify with the rising sophomores. I’m finishing my first year in a job I’ve never done before. While I feel pretty good about how things went, I am a superstitious person and I fear the “sophomore slump.” I know that I can do better, but I also know that it won’t be easy.

The thing about graduations is that they’re not really finish lines. Graduations are benchmarks. Think back to your last chemistry class. Remember the graduated cylinder? Theoretically, there’s always another line, another mark, another graduation.

Graduation is just the beginning. Everything that came before it was just a warm-up.

When I graduated from the P.I. Reed School of Journalism in 1995, I had completed four internships. The last one was at a local TV station that would allow interns who had proven themselves to report on-air, and I had made the cut. I was reporting every weekend and anchoring the Saturday morning news updates before I’d collected my diploma. My plan was to work for a year at my first station, find a mid-sized market job and then achieve my life-long goal of working in Pittsburgh. I was pretty sure I had all of my ducks in a row and would walk right into the working world.

I didn’t.

There were no openings at the TV station. The station where I had done my other internships didn’t think I was ready to work there yet (in hindsight, they were right). I interviewed at another station, was offered a producer’s job (an offer which I promptly lost when the news director who made the offer took another job).

It all worked out in the end. I eventually got hired by the local station, worked for part of a year, honed my skills and won a job at the station where I had done my other internships.

I thought that I had “made it.”

I signed a three-year contract which turned into a series of promotions that stretched into 16 years. I was pretty sure I would either move from that job into the Pittsburgh market or happily retire in my position as anchor and managing editor. I told people that while I was “content” in my position, I was still “driven” to achieve more. (“Content, but driven” was a quote I stole from Jon Stewart).

Again, I thought that I had “made it.”

And then I enrolled in grad school via the IMC program. I realized that I only knew a small sliver of what there was to know about our collective industry. I realized that I knew virtually nothing about the common qualities between informative and strategic communication. While I had heard the foreshadowing of the “death of old media,” I realized that I was developing a skill set that I hoped would make me “future proof.”

I thought I was again, on the verge of “making it.”

And then my wife found a job posting online for a new position at our alma mater: Director of Student Careers and Opportunities. At first I read it with casual interest. It sounded like a great idea: a person whose full-time job was to help J-school students transition into the workforce through internships, mentorship and networking. I wished I’d had someone like that to help me during those shaky first years. Then we got a crazy idea. Could I do that job? Maybe. I had the journalism experience and was gaining heaps of valuable StratComm experiences through the IMC program. I went for it and won it. I have no idea how. I ended an extremely rewarding career in television and came back home to Morgantown.

This time, I had gained enough wisdom to know that there’s no such thing as “making it.” Instead, I now understand that there’s always another graduation ahead.

Everyone in the J-school, from the Dean to the faculty to every student (and their families) has taken a big chance on me. Aside from being a husband and father, this is the most important job I’ve ever been asked to do. The stakes are real and they are high. I’m not just running my own career any longer. I’m responsible for becoming an effective career campaign partner for more than a thousand people. I have leaned heavily on the Class of 2014 for help in developing the office, I’ve gotten incredible support from the J-school’s administration, from our Visiting Committee and from our network of alumni.

As I wind down the first year of this new office, I’m amazed by what you have accomplished. While I haven’t been here long enough to take any credit for this, I have spent a lot of time over the past month checking up on your trajectories. We’ve got students entering the workforce in the nation’s top media markets. We’ve got underclassmen about to start internships in the nation’s top media markets. We’ve got graduates who, like me, needed to start out in smaller media markets. We’ve got graduates who needed support after school as they tried to find their place.

This office does not exist solely for the undergrads and grad students. It’s for anyone whose academic career has taken them through Martin Hall. I want it to be a hub through which J-school alumni who have had success can extend a helping hand to those who are still looking for success. The office open to everyone and it is open year-round. 304-293-6117. If I’m not in the office, I’m reachable via email 24/7. Eric.Minor@mail.wvu.edu. Put it in your contact list. I won’t have all of the answers, but I will work very hard to get you in touch with the people who might.

*I can’t predict your future, but I do have your back. *

I suppose I can predict at least this part of your future: there will always be another graduation, another benchmark, another line on the cylinder for you to stretch toward.

There really are no finish lines, but there’s an infinite number of starting lines.

We’ve got this.

Ready. Steady. Go!!!

7 Apr

SOJ Student making the most out of an online opportunity

Authored By Matthew | April 7th, 2014

Virtual=Reality

When Kelly Clarkson Tweeted that she was having a baby girl, Alicia Mayle covered it. Her story made the front page of Google Entertainment News.

During her interview with actor/filmmaker Sean Astin, she delved into deeper issues like his religious faith and his thoughts on how the Lord of the Rings films are providing comfort for frightened people in Crimea.

Alicia Mayle’s internship with the New York-based entertainment news website TheCelebrityCafe.com has put her in a position to meet fascinating people and tell interesting stories.

And she has done it all from Morgantown.

The sophomore Strat Comm student from Philippi, W.Va. is one of a growing number of students participating in “virtual internships;” experiences in which student and supervisor may never meet face-to-face, rather communicating, submitting work and making revisions entirely online.

“I was surprised with how easy it was to communicate with my editor,” said Mayle. I could shoot her or one of the other editors a quick email and get a reply within 20 minutes.”

Quick response is crucial, according to TheCelebrityCafe’s managing editor Angela Corry.

“Working online is a very different mindset and needs to be presented that way,” said Corry. “The structure is very important when you can’t sit down with the intern, as is replying to their emails right away, checking with them (we don’t have set hours) and really just continually reminding them that you’re there.”

As part of that structure, Corry teaches her interns how to write “tight” for an online audience, how to incorporate social media into stories and how to strategically promote content.

“(Our interns) are on Facebook Twitter, Google+, StumbleUpon, Reddit, Digg, Delicious, and Fark every time they log on,” said Corry. “They also work within the business platforms to promote work for the company to learn to be the voice of a company as well.”

According to InternMatch.com, 33 percent of employers are hiring virtual interns like Alicia.

YouTern.com reports that the number of virtual internships has grown by 20% over the past year, with opportunities in sales, marketing and social media being the top growth areas.

Distance-learning experiences like this have earned a seal of approval from online internship advocate Lauren Berger, known online as “The Intern Queen.”

“I’ve attracted top talent (to our virtual internship program) and had a great experience,” wrote Berger. “I think the students are equally as fond of the experience.”

Working remotely with students has enabled Angela Corry to recruit talent from West Virginia University—students like Alicia Mayle, who could not have relocated to New York for an internship.

“Alicia has participated in many events not required for interns, but are amazing practice for real-life experience,” said Corry. “(Her willingness) to accept a challenge helps us give her bigger assignments like interviews. She also has a diverse portfolio with us to show us that she isn’t a niche writer. All that, in addition to being a strong writer, has made Alicia stand out.”

Mayle, whose internship with TheCelebrityCafé.com will wind down at the end of the semester, offered three top tips for fellow SOJ students considering this type of work.

1. Communicate with your supervisor. It’s highly important to communicate with whoever is supervising your internship because you probably won’t be meeting face to face. You want to get their feedback on anything, whether it’s good or bad, so that you know if you’re doing something wrong or right.
2. Get a planner. Having a planner is essential if you’re juggling your internship with school and a job. I am an over-planner, and I scheduled my day out, and how many articles I wanted to do, and if I had any schoolwork. I also used different color-coded pens.
3. Go for it and have fun! With my internship at TheCelebrityCafe.com, writing is an opportunity, especially for me, but getting to do an interview with a celebrity an “off the chart ” opportunity. Do your best, but always, always have fun because if it isn’t fun, you won’t be happy.

You can read some of Alicia Mayle’s work for TheCelebrityCafe.com here.

31 Mar

Don't call it a field trip. This was something else.

Authored By Matthew | March 31st, 2014

A few weeks ago, I heard that Professor Emily Corio and the members of the Radio Television Digital News Association at WVU were planning a day trip to Washington DC to visit several national media outlets.

Hoping to expand my network of DC-area contacts (and being a shameless opportunist), I invited myself along for the ride.

I knew we would be visiting the newsrooms at National Public Radio, the Wall Street Journal’s Washington bureau and both the NBC network and its owned and operated local station in Washington.

I’ve worked in or toured dozens of newsrooms at various levels of the industry and I was expecting a nice sightseeing visit.

I could not have been more wrong. This was not a field trip. This was a masterclass in career planning, industry opportunities and media convergence.

We met with Doug Mitchell, a consultant and project manager for NPR who prompted us all to answer a pretty important but oft-overlooked question: “why do you want to work in this industry?” He made us squirm because he wasn’t looking for simple answers about our dream jobs. He wanted specific answers about the types of stories we would tell given the resources to do so. I’ve been in story meetings. If you don’t have a somewhat formed idea, you’re going to do a lot of squirming.

“It definitely made me more excited about radio,” said RTDNA president Zach King, who helped organize the trip.

As we toured the facility, we met numerous NPR employees who Mr. Mitchell had mentored as they entered the industry. This was a vital piece of information for RTDNA member Briana Parks.

“Make sure you network,” said Parks. “I hope to stay in contact with Doug Mitchell. I spent only a few hours with him and he’s already been influential. I hope to have him as my mentor throughout college.”

Mr. Mitchell then introduced us to Melody Kramer, a digital strategist for NPR whose credentials read like the script for an NPR pledge drive. She’s worked on Wait Wait Don’t Tell Me and Fresh Air with Terry Gross (two of my favorite shows, BTW?if you’re not listening to both, shame on you for six weeks! Wait Wait is hilarious and a really fun way to keep up on national news and Fresh Air is one of the best straight interview shows anywhere).

Ms. Kramer is now responsible for integrating social media tools into NPR’s newsgathering apparatus. For example, she showed us how she’s overcome a unique social media challenge faced by radio: audio does not quickly go viral. She’s working on that in some pretty innovative ways.

From my perspective, though, the takeaway from Ms. Kramer’s presentation is that she personifies what I am trying to teach you: that you have to know your personal and unique value to an organization and you have to work to make yourself indispensible. (I’m in the process of asking her if she’d consider giving the same talk to more of our students via Skype. It’s inspirational stuff and she has demystified it).
“I was very impressed with Melody Kramer at NPR,” said RTDNA member Kiley Putnam. ” She is successful at a young age and showed us many of the new social media resources NPR has to offer. She helped ease minds about not exactly knowing where you will end up. She didn’t exactly have a plan. It’s always important to set goals, but seeing things from her perspective was interesting.”

Our next stop was at the Wall Street Journal where we heard the story of Mark Anderson, the Washington Bureau’s Deputy Chief. Mr. Anderson came to the Wall Street Journal as an intern. That, in and of itself, should have been the big lesson for our students. Internships count. He distinguished himself as an intern years ago. Now he’s essentially running the place. DO INTERNSHIPS. Ahem.

One of our students asked Mr. Anderson what qualities make a good journalist. He gave my favorite answer: “curiosity.”

This also resonated with TVJ senior Anthony Pecoraro.

“It instantly stuck with me,” said Pecoraro. “If you are not always curious, you will not be able do succeed. Curiosity is a must.”

Mr. Anderson also showed us how the WSJ is converting a corner of its newsroom into a multimedia studio. The glassed-in area (roughly the size of my office) has four cameras which can quickly be activated to record multi-angle sit-down interviews which can then be exported to the paper’s website.

They’re also working with an innovative product called SpreeCast which allows its reporters to interact with readers/viewers/users while they’re working on stories. Here’s an example of how they’re using it.

(http://www.spreecast.com/events/how-to-retire-abroad)

This gives WSJ subscribers an additional point of connection with the reporters—allowing readers to view and interact with the process of story research, development and execution. This is one of the ways the WSJ is working to grow its audience (the paper’s average reader is 62 years old—so they’re working hard to reach new and younger audiences).

We ended our trip at the Washington bureau of the NBC news network. This is an interesting facility in that half of the building exists to produce content for NBC News and the other half is a local TV station (owned and operated by NBC) which serves the DC viewing area.

Mr. Mike Judge, a graduate of the SOJ, was our tour guide. He’s worked for several network newscasts and is currently an editor for NBC Nightly News and Meet The Press. He introduced us to several leaders who have direct oversight of the internship program (on both the local and the network sides). Among them was SOJ alumna Patti Pettite, who got her start at Clarksburg’s WBOY-TV after graduation. Today she’s a consumer producer for one of the biggest newsgathering organizations on the planet.

Every single person we met started somewhere small and worked their way up,” said RTDNA member Whitley Rose. “I think everyone in broadcasting will agree we get a little discouraged if we are not going to be immediately known, but this trip taught me that feeling that way is normal.”

We observed the last-minute production of WRC’s live evening newscast (a marathon broadcast that goes on the air at 4pm and continues until 6:30).

We were scheduled for a visit with Mr. Albert Oetgen, a senior producer for NBC Nightly News, during what is typically a quiet point in his day.

We were in Mr. Oetgen’s office just moments after we learned that Russian President Vladimir Putin had spoken on the phone with President Obama about the annexation of Crimea. We listened in as Mr. Oetgen dissected the finer points of the official White House statement on the conversation and as he relayed his thoughts to both the NBC office at the Pentagon and to NBC headquarters in New York.

We ended the day by watching that night’s NBC Nightly News live from the Washington control room.

We returned to Morgantown just before 1 a.m. Saturday morning (we left just after 5 a.m. Friday) both exhausted and invigorated. Students are still buzzing about it today.

How do you get to have these sort of experiences as a student? Get involved. This wasn’t a class trip. This was a direct benefit of being involved in RTDNA.

“It felt good as president of the club to be able to take a group of students on the trip and share such an awesome experience with them,” said King.

I did this sort of work every day for 17 years. I’ve been on and have given dozens of newsroom tours.

Trust me. You just don’t see this sort of thing every day.

24 Mar

Plan Z: What to do if you don't have an internship

Authored By Matthew | March 24th, 2014

On my desk, I keep a leatherbound copy of one of my favorite books: The Hitch-hiker’s Guide to the Galaxy. On the back cover are the words “Don’t Panic.” I keep the back cover turned outward to remind me…and to remind you.

Summer internships are the most competitive and by now you may have been informed you didn’t win the one you really, really wanted.

Don’t Panic.

While I pushed heavily for you to be “in the game” no later than March 15th, there are still internships available. Time’s still of the essence, but you still have options.

Keep on utilizing the resources of this office (and of WVU Career Services).

Visit the websites I shared with you during our first meeting. In case you’ve lost the email I sent to you, here they are again.

http://www.thecreativeham.com/jobs/
Internmatch.com
Internshipking.com
Internqueen.com
MarketingCareerNetwork.com
TeamWorkOnline.com
AfterCollege.com
Internships.com
JournalismJobs.com
InternAvenue
ThePRCoach.com
Mymusicjob.com

All of these sites are free and are updated very frequently. Internships.com is my personal favorite because it’s so customizable. One caveat: I don’t suggest applying through these sites if you can avoid it. It’s a personal worry of mine that putting your application into someone else’s hands increases the chances something could go wrong. Instead, use the sites as a bulletin board and then look up the job directly on that company’s web site. Cut out the middle man.

Consider Volunteering

Even if you’ve only completed your freshman year, you’ve accumulated some knowledge and skills that will be valuable to some of the lean non-profit organizations doing work where you live. Just make certain that your volunteer opportunity includes a communication component. If you’re working in an agency’s soup kitchen, ask if you could also contribute to their blog or manage their social media. Chances are you could do it as well or better than the person who’s already doing it as an afterthought. Just make sure to keep an eye on your measurables and keep everything you create.

Shadow a Mentor

Whether you have an official mentor through the School of Journalism or not, there are kind career pros with sage wisdom they’re willing to share with you.

Send an email to a professional that you admire and ask them if they would consider allowing you to shadow them for a day. Shadowing isn’t something you can necessarily put on your resume, but it will give you some additional insight.

Don’t give up! And Don’t Panic!

20 Mar

The Crushing "Wait"

Authored By Matthew | March 20th, 2014

Coping strategies for after the application

You’ve researched, you’ve polished your resume, you’ve applied, you’ve had two rounds of interviews and now you wait. And it stinks.

It’s an intense time for those of you who have aggressively pursued internships, jobs or grad school. And now that you’ve worked so hard and spent so much time on preparing for the application process, it’s natural (and even righteous) to expect a little instant gratification.

Unfortunately, that’s not how it works. I’m not just sympathetic, I’m empathetic. I’ve been there. The application process that eventually brought me back to Martin Hall took months. It was worth the wait, but it was not easy.

So what do you do while you’re in limbo?

Here are my nonscientific suggestions. Keep in mind, these are not career skills I’m giving you so much as they are life skills. I just don’t want you to flame out during this, the hardest part of the process.

  • Stay positive, be confident. Nature abhors a vacuum. Once you’ve done your part of the application process, your brain is suddenly a little emptier. And that’s when self-doubt and second-guessing about your application can rush in. Don’t let it. It’s done. You can’t change it. Congratulate yourself on your hard work, realize that it’s in the hiring manager’s hands and move forward rather than looking back.
  • Resist the urge to follow-up. Read my earlier blog about when and how to follow-up. Following-up because you feel like you have to do SOMETHING is not a good reason to bother the boss. Waiting a week or two and sending a single follow-up call or email may be OK. Be strategic. Do it with a purpose. Just because you’re freaking out during the wait is not a purpose. The HR department or the boss are not torturing you. They’re going through a process. The process is complicated and the decision is a big one. This isn’t a blind date they can simply walk away from if it’s the wrong choice. Respect the fact that they’re working hard on the hiring process and probably doing other full-time jobs at the same time.
  • Show gratitude. Now’s a good time to send thank-you notes to everyone who helped you get to this point. You don’t jettison those relationships immediately after the application. You’ll need those folks in the future. Tend to those relationships now.
  • Focus on the future. As I mentioned, you can’t change your application process. That rocket has launched. You can’t predict the outcome, so prepare for all potential outcomes. Create a back-up plan. Hope for the best, but prepare for the worst. It’s possible that you won’t get any of these opportunities. Mentally prepare yourself. It’s a good buffer against shock. Shock can lead to apathy and apathy is a killer.
  • Shift your focus. Remember, you’re still, at this moment, a college student. You’ve got classwork to fill your time. You’ve got organizations that have projects you’ve probably put on hold in order to focus on your job search. It’s ok to focus a little energy back on your personal relationships. Worrying about the future could cause you to miss out on some of the really great things about your life that are happening right now.
  • There is no such thing as a master schedule. Some places will notify chosen applicants immediately. Others will wait until the application process is closed and will notify their choice later. This means your friends and classmates may hear good or bad news before you. Unless you are applying for the same job or internship, this information is irrelevant. Be happy for your friends (or be sympathetic if the news isn’t good). Don’t project their results onto your situation. They’re different animals operating on different timelines.
  • If you’ve followed my guidance, you’ve got a “brass ring” internship or job that you REAAAAALLLLLY really want. You should also have some alternate choices. Don’t consider these to be “safety” or “fall-back” choices. Something attracted you to those “Plan B” options. Focus on those good attributes. Learn more about the companies that may be calling you back and be enthusiastic about those.
  • Take a breath. A student who’s in the same boat as you are right now just came and asked me if it would be OK to go see a movie. Yes, my friend. It is OK to go see a movie. You have worked very hard to get to this point and it is completely acceptable to want to distract yourself for a moment. See a movie, take a walk, play racquetball. Do what you enjoy. Trust me. Being able to balance aggressive excellence with a complete life is a valid life skill for you to develop.
  • Come and see me. Seriously. Not even kidding. It won’t show up on my yearly reports. It’s not measurable. But it may make you feel better to just talk about it. I consider that to be part of my job (if not part of my job description) and part of being a good partner in your job search.

Like all advice I try to give to you, none of this is foolproof and none of it comes with a guarantee. Except for this part: I’ve been there. I hate the wait as much as you do. You don’t have to go through this part of it (or any part of it) by yourself.

17 Mar

Hurry up and wait...to follow up or not to follow up?

Authored By Matthew | March 17th, 2014

Spring Break’s over. Now What?

I hope you’ve gotten your summer internship applications submitted. While every internship is different, I’ve suggested that March 15th is a good self-imposed date for getting those applications in. (If you haven’t done yours yet, don’t wait even if there’s a lot of time until the deadline. Very little good comes from putting things off).

If you have crossed every t and dotted every i, polished your resume and cover letter to a brilliant shine and gotten everything in the mail (or submitted electronically), now comes the hard part. Waiting.

The urge to make a follow-up call or email is a strong one. In some cases, it can show you’re serious. In other cases, it can paint you as a nuisance. So do you follow up or not? If so, when and how?

“Our friends over at The Savvy Intern have done some research that may help you decide when to “check in.””:http://www.youtern.com/thesavvyintern/index.php/2014/03/17/managers-reveal-the-difference-between-job-search-persistent-and-pest/

Research shows that contacting employers directly may be more efficient than working your network, but if you choose the path of persistence, step carefully. It only takes one email, Tweet or LinkedIn message to push you into “pest” territory.

Here are the highlights (although I recommend reading the entire article and reading this blog daily):

1. Follow Up With a Generous Sample

“Write some code, create a new feature, redesign their homepage, bring a new client to the table, write some advertising copy, and send that in with your resume. Giving someone a work product for free is the opposite of irritating, and it displays your drive quite well,” says Colin McIntosh of Spoon.net.

For managers like McIntosh, this is way more impressive than a simple cover letter or follow up email.

Bottom Line: Show them rather than simply telling them about your talent and interest in a follow up.

2. Managers Love to See that You Follow Them on Social Media

If the company has an active social media presence, the folks there will truly appreciate your following. “What I appreciate the most is when a candidate follows us on Twitter or LinkedIn, a few days before they even apply,” says Bethany Perkins, Director of HR at Software Advice. “This makes me think that they’re taking the next step in their career seriously by researching the company first.” Retweet or “Like” some of their informative updates to show you’re engaged with their brand.

At the same time, your social media interaction should be tactful. “What I’m not a fan of is when a potential candidate tweets “hey, your company looks great?where can I apply?” Although they are being proactive, they clearly didn’t look at our website at all, or the Careers page that I spent a lot of time developing. So to me, they come off lazy,” Perkins says.

Bottom Line: Use social media to your advantage by engaging with your employer about what they share.

3. However, Don’t Expect a Response on Social Media

McIntosh says it’s fine to reach out to hiring managers or would-be colleagues on social media, but—chances are—you won’t get a response.

“Unless the company specifically advertises job postings through social media channels,” McIntosh says, “Targeting someone at the company, finding that person’s email and personally reaching out is a much better way to kick off a conversation than a Tweet.”

Bottom Line: Social media is not the primary medium for professional correspondence.

4. Email is a Great Way to Go?.But Make it Just Once, Meaty and Worthwhile

Rather than sending multiple follow up emails to remind them who you are and how enthusiastically interested you are in the job, make it just one email shortly after you send your resume?filled with something juicy (re: No. 1).

And you should send it fairly quickly. Research shows that timing is really important for an effective follow-up.

“Effectiveness of follow-up is directly tied to how quickly follow-up occurs,” according to Andy Paul of Sales Force in a recent blog post. The key is to keep your name at the top of his mind.

Bottom Line: Exercise quality over quantity when following up.

Here’s my advice:

Again, read the job description. If it says “no phone calls, please,” you’ve bee warned. If you’re hoping to work for a newspaper or TV station, be aware of their deadlines and the ebb and flow of their typical day. Sending a follow-up during a newscast is a sure-fire sign that you’re not being cognizant of the industry.

Keep looking for internships even if you’d applied for your “dream job” already. It never hurts to have lots of alternative plans, and it may be a more productive use of your “wait time” than making a follow up.

24 Feb

Video Interviews and "The Airplane Test"

Authored By Matthew | February 24th, 2014

My background is in TV news, so I have long believed that video interviews can tell you something different about your subject—something that a phone conversation or replies to questions via email just can’t.

There’s something powerful in that sort of presence, even if it’s “tele-presence.”

This week, I met with a student whose next internship interview will be conducted via a video screening service called “Take The Interview

In my brief (very unscientific) polling via Twitter, I found only one other student among our ranks who’s been through the process, so this was something I clearly needed to research for you.

Here’s how it works: Using your computer’s webcam and microphone, you answer a series of standard interview questions which appear on-screen in front of you. In many cases, you’re given a time limit and there are no “re-dos.”

You can read more about the process and what to expect on Take The Interview’s “Candidate’s Corner-.”

The point here is that this is a technology that allows employers to size up a pretty important thing about you (how you present yourself) much earlier in the screening process.

Take the Interview founder Danielle Weinblatt explained to Mashable.com’s Sarah Kessler why this is important.

“I would get people who had been resume- and phone-screened, and it boggled my mind how many of them would come through and not be able to answer these three simple questions,” she says.

She also applied what she calls “the airplane test” — with an unfortunate rate of success. If she could imagine sitting through a flight between New York and London with the candidate, that person was a potential fit. But this quality was something neither a resume nor a phone screening did much to help assess.

What she wanted to do was to ask her most important questions to candidates up-front in a way that would allow her to quickly assess them — without committing to a 30-minute interview.

If you’ve been in my office, we’ve talked about the “elevator pitch,” but the “airplane test” is something altogether different and every bit as important.

“It’s not just about what people say, it’s about what they sound like, how they pull themselves together,” Weinblatt says.

If you haven’t already, it’s time (past time, honestly, since you’re a college student now) to seriously assess who you are and how you present yourself to the world.

Long airplane flights force people to be together in a stressful situation. The workplace is like that too. Make sure you pass the airplane test. Take the Interview (and similar services) move that part of landing the internship/job a little earlier in the process.

17 Feb

Cost Concerns? How You Can Apply for a Student Enhancement Award

Authored By Matthew | February 17th, 2014

By now, you should be deep into your internship search and possibly have applied for a few key opportunities with early deadlines.

However, if you’re hesitant about pursuing a summer internship in a large media market because you don’t think you can afford it, you must apply for funding from the SOJ’s Student Enhancement Fund.

Every year, we solicit applications from full-time undergrads pursuing internships or major-related study abroad programs who need a little help covering their costs. Awards typically range between $500-$1,000. The process is competitive. Applying for an Enhancement does not guarantee an award. There is a review process.

I’ve just finished reviewing the application packet (and have gotten Dean Reed’s approval) and we’re ready to start accepting your applications.

Eligibility
An applicant must:
• Be a full-time student in the School of Journalism
• Be an undergraduate during the study abroad or internship program
• Have completed at least 6 hours of SOJ coursework
• Have a cumulative GPA of 3.0 or higher; and
• Have already been accepted to and made a commitment to participate in a study abroad program or an internship that requires traveling or living away from home and working in a metropolitan market

How to Apply
• Complete the two-page General Application form
• Complete the Essay Form and the Essay Assignment
• Provide two Recommendation Forms
We encourage at least one academic recommendation (professor, advisor, etc.). The other may be an employer or supervisor (recommendations from relatives and friends will not be accepted). Please have your references return the Recommendation Forms directly to you so that you may submit them as part of your application.
• Provide a copy of the official letter or e-mail that you received inviting you to participate in the internship or study abroad program.

Deadline: March 21, 2014

Return all application materials and direct questions to:
Eric Minor
Director of Student Careers and Opportunities
P.I. Reed School of Journalism
Room 104B Martin Hall
(304) 293-6117
Eric.Minor@mail.wvu.edu

The new application forms have not yet been uploaded to the SOJ website, but if you contact me, I’ll email one to you.

Don’t miss this opportunity!

21 Jan

THINK SUMMER!

Authored By Matthew | January 21st, 2014

Listen. I know that, on a day like today, when the snow is deep and getting deeper, it’s easy to think about spending your entire summer on a beach somewhere.

I don’t mean to rain on (snow on) your parade, but now is really the start of crunch time for summer internship applications.

While there’s no universal deadline for internship applications, March 15th is a good rule of thumb. According to Lauren Berger, “the Intern Queen” mid-March is when most organizations like to have their interns lined up for the upcoming summer.

Of course, many deadlines are earlier and many are later. My suggestion (if the application deadline isn’t explicitly listed on the job posting) is to send a simple letter of inquiry and to do that soon. Just make absolutely certain that the information you need isn’t somewhere in the description. If you’re at all in doubt, send the job description to me or have a friend or parent look it over. It’s OK to ask for more information, but it shows a lack of thoroughness if you’ve missed it and it’s right there in front of you.

Something like this:

Dear (use the real person’s name if you can find it),

I am very interested in the Summer Internship Program at XYZ Agency, which I read about on Internships.com. Could you please provide some additional information about the deadline for submitting an application?

Sincerely,

Make certain that you mention where you learned about the opportunity. You might be calling their attention to a deadline date that was left out of the job description by mistake.

In general, you don’t want to make unnecessary phone calls or email contacts—but I really think that it’s OK to show that you’re the sort of person who is detail and process oriented and that deadlines are important to you too.

Last word for this week—if you, like me, are snowed in, use today to start your summer internship search. Come up with a list of about 10-20 companies you’d like to learn more about. Search their sites for internships (often posted under “Careers”). Find out what the deadline is for applying for a summer internship. Find out who the person is who’s doing the hiring. Join the WVU PI Reed School of Journalism LinkedIn group and see if any of our alumni are already working for the company (or at least in the industry) that interests you.

And as always, watch your inbox for this week’s Opportunity Alert (coming tomorrow), and follow me (EricMinorWVU) on Twitter for the latest opportunities.

Plus—-one last plug: Join me and Northwestern Mutual’s Beth Schnieder tomorrow at 7pm in Room 205 for our seminar “Building a Winning Resume.” That’s a great way to get your resume up to snuff for summer internship applications.

Use this snowy day to start planning your summer!

13 Jan

Tick...tock...tick...tock...

Authored By Matthew | January 13th, 2014

Hear that? That’s the sound of time running out for registering for spring 2014 internships.

The deadline for enrolling in JRL 441 or JRL 442 is 5pm Tuesday, January 14th.

The process is fairly painless and takes very little time. In fact, I can serve up some internship opportunities that are essentially “shovel-ready;” you just have to be the one to pick up the shovel.

Once spring internships are under way, we’ve all (especially me) got to get dead serious about what we’re going to do with our summers.

I want you to think big and aim high…but also to think wide.

Come up with between 10 and 20 places that you could feasibly spend a chunk of your summer. If you’re struggling with the list, come and see me.

Anyone who’s been in my office has gotten my “Hot List” of sites—online resources that I like because they’re free and easy to filter by region and discipline.

Here they are again:

Internmatch.com
Internshipking.com
Internqueen.com
MarketingCareerNetwork.com
TeamWorkOnline.com
AfterCollege.com
Internships.com
JournalismJobs.com
InternAvenue
ThePRCoach.com

These are by no means the only sites you should be searching. If you haven’t already, register with MountaineerTrak through career services.

I’m adding a new site to the list. YouTern.com.

Creating a culture in which internships are common is a big part of my mandate for this new position at the J-school.

I feel like we’re getting there, but I called up YouTern’s CEO and Founder, Mark Babbitt today to talk about how he created that same culture within his online community.

His two word answer is one that I really like: “actionable inspiration.” In fact, I’m printing that phrase in my now-trademark 72-point Avenir Black font and posting it on the wall next to my diploma.

It’s my job to inspire you to take action with your career. This blog, my Twitter feed and the WVU PI Reed School of Journalism LinkedIn group are all a part of that.

So are the programs I’m putting together for the spring semester, starting with our “Building a Winning Resume” seminar coming up on Wednesday, January 22nd at 7pm in Room 205.

These are simple, free and hopefully, they inspire you to take action. It’s a scary process, this career planning thing. You don’t have to do it alone.

Do yourself a favor and check out the “actionable inspiration” on YouTern.

Let’s get to work!

-EM

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