Your resume is more than a list of where you’ve been; an effective resume will tell a story about who you are and what you’re passionate about. A great way to convey this is by reworking the skills section at the bottom of your resume. While you can’t change your job history, highlighting particular skills you have allows you to tailor your resume to a specific position. And a great way to increase your employability is to grow your skill set. Many media companies are experimenting with new content and business models, so having various media skills will help you stand out above the competition. Here’s a few easy-to-learn suggestions to get you started.
In a recent study by the Tow-Knight Center, coding and development was the most desired skill for journalists among the participating media companies. While it’s not a major part of every newsroom, there is a large need for “newsroom-friendly” coders who can easily work on digital editorial projects and publishing systems. Knowing at least a little HTML/CSS can give you some control and even some project management capabilities on digital efforts. It’s easy to get started with free online courses like Codecademy offers. Even familiarizing yourself with web hosting platforms like WordPress (perhaps while building your online portfolio) can prove useful.
Being able to produce and edit photos and videos means you can market yourself as a multimedia reporter, and is particularly prized by local news organizations. Thanks to the superb quality of smartphones, it’s easy to practice the basics, and many phones have “pro” settings that allow you to try manual settings like a DSLR would have. There are plenty of free editing apps you can use, like Photoshop Express or Snapseed for photos and Quik for video. If you are able to invest in an Adobe Creative Cloud subscription or access it through work or school, there are countless free tutorials online for Photoshop and Premiere, which are used by many media organizations.
Social media has become so integral to news distribution that many media companies have positions specific to social media content. Any journalist these days should be comfortable researching on Facebook and Twitter, and it’s easy to build your own social media experience by sharing your work on personal accounts. This will help you determine best practices for image use, hashtags, and so on to encourage sharing. You can also broaden your skills by building a presence on platforms like YouTube or Instagram, or testing new platforms. To build more formal experience, you can volunteer to run social media accounts for local charities or businesses.
With how visually-oriented modern culture is, everyone working in media should have some basic design skills. As a journalist, you’ll frequently deal with infographics and social media graphics — and thanks to free resources like Canva and Silk, it’s easy to create attractive images with very little know-how and time. If you’re already familiar with coding, polishing the visual components of the websites or applications you build is also tremendously beneficial. Adobe programs like Illustrator, InDesign, Photoshop, and Dreamweaver are also useful to learn and common in the industry.
The newest buzzword in journalism is data. Familiarity with user data and metrics was the second most in-demand skill in the Tow-Knight Center’s study. Journalism is increasingly digital and commercial, so being able to analyze data to understand your audience will put you ahead of the curve in the news business. Specific data metric systems may not be available outside of work or school, but the basics of Google Analytics and Adobe Omniture are easy to acquire through online tutorials.