11 Things To Do Before, During, And After An Interview To Stand Out For That Media Job

Wednesday, August 19, 2020 New York, NY, USA

11 Things To Do Before, During, And After An Interview To Stand Out For That Media Job - Taylor Mead

Photo by STIL on Unsplash

Having worked in the media industry for the last four years post-grad and for internships throughout college, I am so grateful to have met so many incredible mentors along the way. They each helped guide me from internship to internship and job to job and gave me all of the tips I have today. 

Here are 11 of the best things I learned along the way that have helped me stand out in the entire interview process — before, during, and after.

BEFORE

1. Create or update a portfolio.
  • When you're just starting out, I recommend Contently. Once you've really grown your portfolio and experience, though, consider starting a portfolio website with your own domain.
2. Update your resume.
  • Resumes should only be one page, believe it or not. CVs, on the other hand, are multiple pages.
  • Get rid of the education "fluff."
    • Other than your school, years attended, and major/minor, you don't need much other information about your college experience. Your GPA, no matter how hard you worked, and courses you've taken just take up precious space on your resume that could be much better utilized to elaborate on past internship and job experiences that are actually related to the job you're applying for.
  • Tailor your resume to the role.
    • If you only have enough room to include relevant jobs and extra-curriculars, you want to strategically pick the ones you showcase on that single page.
  • Include as many numbers as possible, people tend to be drawn to numbers.
    • For writing positions, think about your work: How many articles have you written? How many articles did you usually write each day? How many views did your most viral article get? Include these types of numbers.
    • For social media positions, think about the accounts you've managed: What was the increase in followers under your management? What was the percent of engagement? Did you make any posts or videos go viral? If so, how many shares/views? Include these types of numbers.
    • If you're applying to other roles, consider how numbers impacted that role and include them wherever possible.
3. Print several copies of your resume — on resume paper.
  • I repeat, use resume paper.
    • At the end of my first magazine internship, I was applying to my next position and my manager at the time ran over to me with resume paper because I was about to print on plain printer paper — true story. Long story short, that day I learned printer paper is never an option.
4. Prepare! 
  • Do your research on:
    • The company
      • Know what's going on at the company, what projects really stand out to you, and any ideas you'd potentially want to pitch for them.
    • The job description
      • It sounds basic, but you have to know what the role is that you're applying to. Know what key responsibilities you would have in the role and be prepared to share how your experience matches those requirements.
    • The people with whom you will be interviewing
      • Know the basics (their title at the company) and dig a little deeper just in case there's a connection you might be able to start out with ("As I was preparing for today, I noticed you went to [insert school], so did I!"). If it's possible to connect on something, that's always a great way to start. But it's not vital either, so don't force it if nothing obvious stands out.
  • Practice answering example interview questions
5. Come with questions!
  • At the end of the day, you want to see if the company is a fit for you just as much as they want to see if you're a fit for them. Think of it as a "date," if you want a second date, the connection needs to be felt on both sides. Come with good questions to make sure you like them!

DURING

6. Dress nicely, but not too businessy.
  • Unless it's an executive position, business professional is not necessary and may seem out-of-touch with the industry. Try researching what other people at the company wear on a daily basis and take that up a notch or two. You don't want to wear a jacket, blouse, pencil skirt, and pointy heels if people at the company wear t-shirts and jeans to work.
    • If you're unsure, a dress and nice shoes or pants and a fun blouse are always great options, but they don't have to follow a strict dress code. You can have fun! The media industry is about creativity, so feel free to show your own style.
7. Bring a notebook and pen (along with your resume) just in case.
  • That said, please don't take notes while they are speaking, wait until afterward or there's a break to jot down any notes.
8. Ask for the emails of each of the people you talked to after the interview.
  • This is the only time you should really be writing anything down while the interviewer(s) are in the room.
9. Ask them what the rest of the interview process will look like.
  • This is not too pushy. It shows you're interested in seeing where this goes and want to be mindful of how much time it will take. This will also give you an idea of what to expect from the process since it looks very different from company to company.

AFTER

10. Send a thank you email to everyone you spoke to the same day of the interview.
  • Don't wait until the next day or a few days from the interview to send a thank you email.
    • Do it a few hours later. This makes a difference! Because if another candidate follows up shortly afterward and you wait a few days because you "don't want to annoy them" or "don't want to be too aggressive," they may have already moved onto the next round with someone else.
  • In the email specifically point out something you discussed to refresh their memory on who you are, reiterate your interest in the role, and share why you would be a good fit.
  • If they asked for you to send them anything else in the interview (like writing samples or a portfolio), do it all at once to avoid multiple emails.
  • Keep it short and sweet.
11. Follow up after a few weeks if you don't hear back to let them know you're still interested (if you are, of course).
  • If they said they would follow up within a week and they didn't, feel free to reach out to tell them you're still interested (not on day seven, though, give them some extra time in case things just got busy).
  • If they never told you when they'd let you know, give them a couple weeks and then follow up.