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How to get a journalism job: 9 tips that will improve your chances

Updated: Sep 11, 2021


Global Business Journalism visiting professor (2019)

If you have passion and like to work hard, you can get a good job in journalism! It is a field that can be very demanding but the opportunity to serve communities with news they need is priceless! When should you start looking for a job? Now!

1. Have a good portfolio containing work that you're proud of. It is important to have at least five or six work samples that are published on the website of a reputable journalism outlet and three references who know your work well.

2. Understand that your path may not be the one you expected – or wanted. Sometimes, unexpected opportunities in unanticipated places can change your career trajectory.

3. Money is the lubricant of life, but is not the first consideration. Look for a job that you will enjoy and find satisfaction in. Nobody goes into journalism to get rich.

Steve Gunn

4. You may need to make sacrifices, but sometimes you will gain unexpected benefits. Sometimes you might have to move somewhere you don’t want to live. But you might learn from it – and enjoy it.

5. Be flexible. The job that's available may not be what you expected or hoped for, but you can learn a lot from trying different things.

6. Have a good cover letter and résumé. Create multiple versions that emphasize different skills, talents and experiences. Be concise in explaining what you've accomplished in a particular job or during university studies. Use strong action words and keywords.

7. Always maximize your strengths, and emphasize you are a lifelong learner. Employers value both expertise and adaptability.

8. Ask people for advice and help before you need a job. It is important to engage, get feedback, and advice from others constantly. You don't want to start thinking about your job search after you have left your job (or graduated).

9. Keep your eyes open. Be open and on the lookout for up-and-coming media companies, media start-ups, and opportunities beyond traditional news outlets.

10. Network, network, network. There are always new people to meet.

Steve Gunn is a retired American newspaper editor. You can contact him at

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