Resume and Cover Letter Mistakes to Avoid when Applying to a Media Job

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Posted November 8, 2013 by Lisa Granshaw in Building Your Brand
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When I review cover letters and resumes written by young professionals applying to jobs in the media industry for my business Media Career Consulting LLC, I tend to come across a few common mistakes. There are a lot of things to consider when crafting these as part of your job application, which is why I offer consulting services for both, but these mistakes should be avoided right off the bat so you can focus on the more difficult aspects of each.

Here are 4 of the most common mistakes to avoid.

1.  Don’t use the same cover letter for more than one job.

Since cover letters take time and effort to write, many people are tempted to use the same one for the many jobs they’re applying to. This is the wrong way to go. Each job may be in the media industry but each one needs a new letter. You want to tailor each letter specifically to the company you’re applying to, so that you can show them you’re familiar with their product and actually read their website or watch their nightly news program. They can be a similar format or even the same general template that you use for each, but they need to be unique and specific to each position.

2. Don’t go on forever in a cover letter.

I see too many long cover letters that get very flowery with language and make the letter two pages long. It’s a good idea to keep the letter to one page. Letters that go on and on and aren’t focused will lose the attention of whoever’s reading your application.

3. Keep your resume to one page.

For jobs in media and communications, the rule of thumb is still to keep resumes to one page and include relevant experiences. There has been a recent trend of people going with longer resumes but I still hear from hiring managers that they prefer one page. This makes it easier and quicker for them to get a sense of your experience.

4. Cut out irrelevant experience.

Too many young professionals are concerned with keeping everything they’ve ever done on their resumes. You reach a certain point where it’s ok to let go of things like your high school activities. For example, if you worked on your high school newspaper but had four newsroom internships in college and you’re having trouble fitting those on your resume, loose the high school experience. The internships will help you more as a candidate in the long run and you can always bring up being on the newspaper in high school during your interview to show how far back your passion for news has gone if you want.


About the Author

Lisa Granshaw

Lisa Granshaw is a freelance writer and career consultant based in New York City. Her company, Media Career Consulting LLC, offers a variety of consulting services to young professionals interested in a career in the media and communications industry. She began her career as a NBC Page, worked as a production assistant at Nightly News with Brian Williams, and was a producer and writer for the TODAY Show's website. Her work has appeared on The Daily Dot, TODAY.com, Parents.com, Vetstreet, Blastr, and more.

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