I can’t think of anything worse than waiting to hear something back after finishing a job application. In fact it might actually be one of the most soul destroying events in life! And it is something we all go through. All of our hearts skip a beat when we hear the ‘new mail’ message sound on our phones. And all of us die a little inside when we realise it is just GAP having yet ANOTHER mammouth sale. But fear not readers, there is something you can do to increase your chances of getting the job after completing the job application. So if you are interested in getting ahead of the pack, I suggest you read on.
Email the news editor directly
A lot of companies have their own recruitment team to filter through application so it is very likely a news editor will only ever see a select few. By emailing the editor, introducing yourself and copying the key points of an application, it builds a rapport with the person who has a massive say on who gets an interview and the final job. Maybe even pitch the editor a few ideas. Remember editors are always on the hunt for stories so never be afraid to pitch an idea. By doing so, you are building a connection that could also be revisited even if you don’t get the job.
My advice is to search out potential editors on Follower Wonk (massive shout out to Mediargh for introducing me to the website), which helps you find people on Twitter. So if I wanted to find the news editor at a one of the ITV Central, I would type “News Editor ITV Central” and then logically work out what the email is. This approach might annoy some editors but it has worked for me. Be polite, and if you don’t get a reply, don’t be afraid to send a follow up email. Be bold but not a douche.
Research the company’s competitors
Yes, it is pretty obvious to research the company but it is also very important to research the company’s competitors. Why? Because every company is always looking for ways to improve. Look at the ways different newspapers or news programmes present a story. Compare the company and its competitors and then figure out how they do things better or worse. By doing it keeps you ready for the all important ‘how could we improve?’ question in a potential interview. Being aware of the strengths and weaknesses of both the company and its competitors is a must.
Tweet stories the company might cover
More and more companies will research candidates on social media. With that in mind, I would suggest tweeting the kinds of stories the company might cover. If you are applying to a local newspaper, tweet different local stories from a variety of sources – not just the organisation you have applied to. By being aware of the type of stories the companies covers and its target audience, it shows a potential employer that you have a genuine interest in the particular area of journalism beyond filling out a job application. Maybe even tweet potential stories to the journalists that work there or to the official Twitter account. Taking an interest and showing an initiative can go a long way.
Get in contact with other journalists that work there
Following company journalists on Twitter and researching the company website, it is easier than ever to get the email address of particular journalist. To get a better feel of the company and the working environment, I would definitely recommend emailing journalists that work there. Be enthusiastic about the company and also any work of the journalist. Make sure to be nice to them – like most things in life, flattery will get you almost anywhere! Be sure to mention that you would love to work there but don’t make it the sole focus of the email. Be charming but to the point.
Do you have any other advice on how to improve your chances of getting a job once you’ve sent in your application? Let us know in the comments below or tweet us @wannabehacks.
Photo courtesy of Flickr user Jon Liu