MMA Panel: Job Application and Interview Tips

For its last meeting of the academic year, the Media Management Association invited four faculty from the Department of Journalism and Media Management with considerable professional experience to offer advice to graduating seniors about their first job applications and interviews. The participating faculty were Professors Andrew Barton, Ana François, Sam Terilli, and Boriana Treadwell; they represented all areas of study in the department. Together, the four panelists (affectionately nicknamed "The JMM Gang") shared crucial knowledge necessary to enter the professional world upon graduation.

Sending out job applications can be overwhelming and particularly challenging for the graduating college student. François recommended that students first seek assistance from the Toppel Career Center with résumé and cover letter writing. It is also desirable to ask an industry professional in the student's area to look over the application materials before submission. Treadwell added that while there is no “one size fits all” type of résumé, a résumé should not be longer than a page to enable quick and effective assessment of it by potential employers. 

Barton and Terilli explained that the cover letter is equally, if not more, important as the résumé in the job application process. Contrary to popular wisdom, a cover letter should not be a simple summary of one’s résumé, but rather an opportunity to highlight one’s skills and allow the potential employer to learn more about the individual in ways that are not already addressed in the résumé. They suggested to emphasize such qualities as creativity, flexibility, reliability, and teamwork.

Once into the interview phase of the job application process, preparation is key. Applicants should search for information about the company and the interviewer, as well as study the position being applied for carefully and thoughtfully. Professor François indicated that reviewing one’s own résumé prior to an interview could lead to fresh recollections of previous achievements. Terilli noted that, in the case of uncertainty, it is always better to dress conservatively for an interview. When it comes time to ask the interviewer questions, the applicant should not focus on what is already described online or in the job application. Instead, thr applicant should try to ask inquisitive questions about the company itself.

Interviewees should follow up with a prompt thank you note via e-mail or mail. After this initial follow-up, they should then wait a certain time before contacting the interviewer again to let the company's decision-making process take place. If the applicant does not secure the job or internship, but is still interested in the position, it is advisable to keep in touch with the interviewer once or twice a year or after any perceived milestone related to the applicant's professional life.

For internship and job advising through the School of Communication, send an email to Kebrina Maharaj at kmaharaj@miami.edu. Visit http://com.miami.edu/career-connection/about for more information.