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Section-by-Section Journalism Resume Guide + Examples

A journalism resume is a marketing tool that will show a potential employer that you are a suitable candidate for the job. It will help you get your foot in the door so that you can convince whoever is shortlisting and choosing new employees that you are the one they want and need! 

Think of your resume as a snapshot of who you are and what you have achieved in the world of journalism. But you need to keep it reasonably short and ensure it’s easy reading. 

There’s a sample resume at the end of this article that has been designed to stimulate your ideas so you can create your own winning resume. Good luck!

Resume objective for journalists

A resume objective for a journalist should be crafted to convince the prospective employer that he or she meets, or preferably exceeds, their needs. 

It should be short, to the point, and should highlight your writing, interviewing, communication, and other relevant skills. 

The job advertisement will show you what the newspaper or magazine is looking for in terms of education, skills, and experience, and your objective will show that you will pursue the task with enthusiasm and make your reports as interesting as possible within these parameters.

A well-written objective statement will definitely increase your chances of getting the job. 

Ultimately, your resume objective needs to be honest and achievable for you and should present you as the ideal candidate. 

Sample Objective

Experienced and passionate news reporter with photography skills keen to join the political team at the Daily Globe. Excellent team-player with exceptional communication skills. Good investigative skills. Welcomes new challenges.

Resume skills for journalists

Journalism skills shown on a resume will show your potential employers that you have the qualities, abilities, and expertise they are looking for. They should also mirror the skills that the employer is seeking. 

Of course, it should go without saying that you need to have the skills required for the job. If a company wants a writer with strong search engine optimization (SEO) skills and experience to distribute content online, and you have zero knowledge or training in these fields, don’t even apply.

The skills and abilities you need to highlight are those that will enable you to do the job you are applying for. But there is no reason not to highlight skills that aren’t stated on the job brief. You never know, there may be other even better positions in the pipeline. Just make sure they are relevant to the publication concerned. 

Sample Skills

Excellent writing and reporting skills | Versatile writing style | Confidence and determination | Enthusiasm | Reliability, and respect for deadlines | Ability to identify good news items | Objectivity | Ambitious

Journalism work experience

While you might get a job on a newspaper, magazine, or TV channel simply because you are a good writer, more specific experience like news writing, sports or web journalism, court reporting, photojournalism, podcasting, drone photography, and even basic media production will likely give you the edge over other applicants – depending, of course, on the job you are applying for. 

Employers want to know the full range of experience the journalists applying for jobs have. Of course, it’s important that the experience you include on your resume is relevant to the job on offer, but you can include some peripheral information too. 

It can be tough if you’ve just graduated from college because you really are a newbie on the block. This is why internships are so important. Not only do they give you invaluable experience, but they also provide the opportunity for info that can be included on your resume. 

Even experienced journalists sometimes opt for short-term internships to expand their experience base and enable them to get more senior, better-paying positions.  

But mostly it’s your full-time work experience relating to newspapers, magazines, and so on that is important for your resume.

Sample Work Experience 

The New York Times

Pharmaceutical reporter, 2017 – 2020

Covered news and worked on investigative stories. Networked with pharmaceutical company contacts working in the field of drug development. Reported on efforts to develop treatments and vaccines for COVID-19.

  • Built a credible team of pharmaceutical contacts
  • Broke the news about a possible COVID-19 vaccine which was front-page news
  • Was interviewed by a local radio station as a result of the COVID-19 vaccine article
  • Nominated for possible transfer to Washington, D.C. Bureau

Omnicom Health Group

Copywriter, 2015 – 2016

Developed concepts and brand-specific messaging in collaboration with the senior copywriting team. Assisted with the development of strategies for marketing. Compiled references for checking factual information supplied.

  • Supplied creative, brand-orientated copy for use in print and online
  • Wrote effective copy for press releases and the local newspaper
  • Presented strategies and ideas to the senior copy team
  • Participated in creative team initiatives

WNY News Now

Intern, 2014

Reported and wrote news articles for print. Assisted with the production of video presentations. Posted news items to social media. Compiled information about weather and sports results.

  • Achieved publication of several front page articles
  • Awarded certificate of merit for video presentation about recycling
  • Expanded the scope of existing social media platforms used by WNY News Now

Journalism education

Journalism is a varied field that offers a range of careers that differ in terms of content and media used. Journalists work on newspapers and magazines, they write for websites, and are employed by radio and television stations. Some do more than write, with jobs that encompass video and photographic skills, as well as functions that involve vocal communication. 

Students in the US cover a wide range of core courses including media law, ethics, and the history of journalism, as well as reporting and editing. 

While some journalism education facilities offer multi-platform topics, others require students to specialize. 

There are also a multitude of opportunities in terms of study, from short journalism courses to master’s degrees. The higher your qualification, the more you will get paid. But talent, learned skills, and achievements in the field will ultimately count for more. 

Four-year journalism degrees commonly cover a wide range of courses, so even if you have limited experience in the sphere of journalism you are punting for, your education should hold you in good stead. If you got high marks or commendations for any of your subjects, mention these on your resume.

Sample Education

The George Washington University, 2016 – 1019 

Bachelor of Arts in Journalism and Mass Communication

  • A-grade in News Writing and Reporting 
  • B-grade in Media Law and Journalism Ethics 

Courses

Although you will obviously do many different courses if you enroll for a degree in journalism, it isn’t essential to have a degree to get a job as a journalist.

Skills can be learned in all sorts of ways, and there are numerous courses and certificate programs that offer trainee and working journalists, and even those who are not formally studying journalism, the opportunity to gain additional skills and to specialize in certain fields. 

Universities, online colleges, tutors, and specialist organizations offer all kinds of standalone courses, some of which might not even be directly related to the industry, but useful all the same. 

Many courses are designed to help students expand their writing skills and knowledge about the industry. 

Others, like shorthand and/or typing, are basic skills that can be used in the field of journalism and for other careers. Courses in photography and videography can be invaluable, while more specific courses in business studies, economics, consumer affairs, or legal topics that might help court reporters, are all relevant. 

List any relevant courses you have completed on your resume. 

Sample Courses

  • Business journalism
  • Copy editing and headline writing
  • News reporting
  • Magazine writing
  • Shorthand and typing
  • News photography
  • Editing and proofreading

Certifications

While certificate programs in journalism are vast and varied, professional certification isn’t common, and it isn’t required to get a job in the field. However, the Journalism Education Association (JEA) does offer certification programs for those who teach the subject. 

National certification via the JEA provides a global standard for the industry.

Sample Certifications

  • Certified Journalism Educator (CJE)
  • Master Journalism Educator (MJE) 

Complete journalism resume sample

Jobs in journalism are remarkably varied, but we are going to focus on a real example of a job offered for an experienced City Hall reporter to cover local affairs in Dallas for the leading newspaper in the city. 

Below the job advertisement, you will find a resume that is tailored to meet the newspaper’s specific needs. 

You will see from the advert below that they are looking for a reporter who is enterprising and can handle everything in the “City Hall” sector, both good and  bad. In essence, they are looking for a talented “watchdog”, with superior reporting and writing skills, who can identify news stories and tell them as they are. 

Several top issues are mentioned in the job description including a need for police reform in Dallas and issues relating to the 2020 coronavirus pandemic. It is clear that whoever gets the job will need to show enthusiasm, dedication, strong writing skills, and an ability to dig deep into local politics in a fair, honest, and transparent way. 

City Hall News Journalist

Objective

Experienced news reporter with key contacts at Dallas City Hall. Portfolio includes many front-page news articles worthy of attention. Key interest in the response of US municipalities to consumer issues. Keen ability to identify stories that matter. 

Skills 

Exceptional writing and reporting skills | Ability to network and find trusted sources | Honest, ethical, transparent | Business and legal writing | Knowledge of City Hall issues | Flexible and available to work after hours without question

Work Experience

Dallas Observer

News reporter, 2017 – 2019

Responsible for daily news and in-depth reporting on life in the local community. Covered local government news focusing on education and health. Took videos and photographs to illustrate feature articles.

  • Invited by the local municipality to report on environmentally-specific committee meetings
  • Achieved a record number of front page stories during my three years with the paper
  • Given a community watchdog column to write
  • Awarded Community News Reporter of the Year grant for further part-time study during 2018

Star Local Media

Community reporter, 2014 – 2016

Wrote meaningful news articles that were important to the local community. Took most of my own photographs to illustrate articles.

  • Created a good list of contacts who trusted me and supplied leads for stories
  • Had several lead stories
  • Increased my knowledge of digital reporting
  • Spent a month standing in for the deputy new editor

US News & World Report

News intern, 2013

Responsible for a range of editorial duties. Wrote news stories under tight deadlines. Assisted with web production projects. Short articles of various events including livestreams.  

  • Paid internship position

Education

University of Dallas 

BA Journalism

  • Journalism practicum included (voluntary)

Courses 

  • News writing and reporting (prior to university)
  • Typing
  • WordPress online course

Key Takeaways

You don’t have to major in journalism to become a successful journalist but you must be a good writer. Also, these days journalists need to be able to do it all. If you are able to report the news in print, online, and in front of a camera, you will stand a better chance of getting a job than someone with only writing skills.

When you write your resume you need to show exactly what you can do in terms of skills and qualifications. 

So let’s look at other key takeaways that you can focus on when you write your journalism resume. These are all excellent assets to mention in your resume. 

  • Multi-platform training is highly recommended because it will teach you the skills needed for print, video, digital, and mobile platforms. You can use these skills to sell yourself via your resume. 
  • While you are studying journalism, find an internship that will give you the opportunity to get real job experience, for example, in a newsroom or magazine house. 
  • Start a blog and write about the kind of topics you would like to cover in your job. Include photographs, videos, and illustrations (if you have the skills). Interview people and share their views. Ultimately, get an online following as soon as you can. 
  • Becoming a successful journalist takes talent, hard work, and very often good luck. Being realistic, resilient, persistent, and flexible will help you get there. 

Tips from Experts

“It’s good to dream big, but you also need to be realistic. Be as flexible as possible when you create your resume.” – Professor Mark Grabowski, Journalism Professor at Adelphi University, New York.

“Put something you know about social media right at the top. You should be on Twitter by now if you are graduating. Put your Twitter handle at the top of your resume along with your email address.” – Chris Harvey, director of internship, Merrill College of Journalism, University of Maryland

Conclusion

Journalism can be an incredibly demanding job, but it offers day-to-challenges and the kind of variety you won’t find in any average office job. 

There are many job choices, from hard news and feature writing, to broadcast and television journalism. Showing that you have the training, experience (if only during an internship), and the will to succeed in a particular field is essential. 

It can be difficult getting a job in the industry for the first time, and for most people, it takes tenacity. It is equally difficult to change your stream of specialization. 

A well-written, well-produced resume is the best way to introduce yourself and share your objectives, skills, education, and experience. You might be one of a number of possible candidates, but your journalism resume is what will help to get your foot in the door, even if you have worked in the field for decades. 

Sources