Landing your first job in Media and Publishing is one of the most exciting and challenging times in your career. But as you’d expect from this industry, a robust and sharp CV is a prerequisite to get you through the door.
Whether you’re searching for graduate media jobs in Scotland, a full-time media job London, or a marketing internship in Manchester, you’ll need to invest time into your CV.
Key to this is highlighting your strengths, letting your personality shine through, and providing just enough information to pique employers interest. You’ll also need to consider content and layout, especially for highly contested graduate jobs in the media.
Whether you’re aiming for a career in PR, your first foray into editorial publishing jobs, or hoping to become the next budding broadcaster – these CV tips are designed for all media student placements.
The Two-page Rule
The first, and possibly most important rule of CV writing, is not to exceed two pages. In fact, one page is best if you’re applying to adverts stating ‘marketing graduate jobs no experience’.
The art of brevity is often overlooked by entry-level job seekers, yet it’s a gift that recruiters in media and publishing will be looking for. Keep this in mind when drafting your CV, opting for punchy bitesize paragraphs.
Picking the Right Template
One of the top tips that media candidates should consider is the right CV template. In the media industry, where cultural fit is as important as talent, you’ll want to cut through.
There are plenty of different CV templates available. Choose a style that reflects your personality, but is also professional and easy to read. Give consideration to; fonts, layout and headings, particularly with editorial publishing jobs.
When in doubt, refer to this media CV example, from former Yahoo CEO Marissa Mayers.
1. Putting your CV Together
It’s important to have a solid CV to use for all graduate jobs in the media. However, for the best results, tweak your CV and covering letter accordingly for each role.
All CVs tend to take the same format. Here we’ll go through writing this step-by-step, our graduate CV guide is also a useful reference.
A Snappy Summary
It’s a good idea to include a brief summary of your strengths at the top of your CV. This should be no longer than one or two sentences. This is a little harder when you have little experience, in which case focus on your interests or passions.
Here’s a typical media CV example:
“Confident communicator with a passion for consumer brands and creative strategy”
Career Highlights / Work Experience
If you have a few industry jobs under your belt, your career/experience section should come ahead of qualifications. However, if you have little or no industry experience, place your qualifications first.
Be reassured that graduate recruitment agencies and HR departments don’t expect entry-level candidates to have years of experience on their CV. What they do expect, is to show transferable skills in previous positions, be it from publishing internships or working in a library.
For instance, mention examples of people skills, leadership qualities or where your organisation prowess came in to play.
If you have volunteered this is also the section to brag about your achievements, and what you have learnt from volunteer working.
In terms of layout, your CV should follow the following standard:
- Job title, company name, location
- Start and end dates
- Responsibilities (summarised)
Here’s an example:
January 2019 – January 2020 Assistant | Publishing Inc | London
- Worked as part of a five-people team to assist on the day-to-day management of publishing. This ranged from fact checking details with suppliers, to providing a daily summary to clients.
- Responsible for producing weekly timesheets and news cuttings, to share with the wider team. Liaised with international teams to ensure a consistent message.
- Worked on the high-profile ‘graduate Milkround 2020’ project, developing content for new starters across the business.
Qualifications and Education
While it’s tempting to list every GCSE, swimming medal and Duke of Edinburgh Award in this section, remember to keep it relevant. Jobs in publishing London and elsewhere are looking for top line facts.
- Start with your most recent qualification, typically for this industry, this should be your university degree.
- Showcase any specific courses you majored in that might be useful or relevant
- Cross-reference the job application to pepper your training with suitable references
- If your degree isn’t relevant to the job you’re applying for, try to pluck out transferable skills
- Highlight any distinctions, recognitions or awards
- In the ever-evolving world of media, explain your experience and training in the latest technologies or tools used. For instance, being Adobe fluent is helpful for journalism and photography graduate jobs
- Finally, if you worked on the campus newspaper or radio station, be sure to include this as useful experience
GCSE and A-Levels
- In terms of layout, list the school or college you attended with start and end dates
- Include A-levels (or equivalent) first, stating grades obtained
- There’s no need to list all GCSEs gained. These should be summarised, such as 10 x A-C grades, including Maths and English
Keep this section to the point, outlining any notable skills that are relevant to the job you’re applying for.
For instance, if you’re applying for graduate schemes, include your interest in learning about the company holistically, and how media roles contribute to the wider business.
Use examples to illustrate your skills as well. For instance, if you’ve worked in groups explain your ability to work in teams with ease, as well as take the initiative to lead where required. If you have great proofreading skills, then explain how and where these have been put to use.
Hobbies and Interests
Being sociable and clued up on popular culture is particularly relevant for a career in the media industry. Use this section to reflect your cultural fit, noting any groups or clubs you’re part of. Also, try and weave in examples that show a passion for your industry. This could be running your own blog, or book group, which are impressive when applying for jobs in publishing London.
Some candidates will put ‘references available upon request’, others will have a specific professional they defer to. In any case, ensure you have their permission before adding them to your CV.
2. The All-Important Cover Letter
And finally, no application is complete without a robust cover letter. Whether you’re going for media student placements or full-time roles, you’ll need a superior cover letter to wow potential employers.
Keep it brief and tailored to the role you’re applying for. Here’s some top tips to help you draft the perfect sample cover letter for media jobs:
Keep the introduction punchy and interesting. Put yourself in the recruiter’s shoes and imagine what it’s like to read several applications all saying the same thing. This is your chance to shine and stand out from the masses. Throughout your cover letter imagine what everyone else might say, and how you can differentiate yourself.
Also, reference the job you’re applying for, where you came across it and why you decided to apply for the role.
Do your Research
In the preceding paragraph, explain why you want to work for the company, and why you believe you’re a good fit.
Do they have any specific areas or parts of the business that appeal to you, if so mention these? For instance, new recording studios, or state-of-the-art printing facilities. Perhaps they were recently mentioned in the news or on ‘The UK’s most attractive graduate employers’ list – make a passing reference to showcase your interest and knowledge in the company.
Without being repetitive, touch on your key strengths, training and experience and show why you would be an asset above all others.
Conclude your letter with a quick summary, leaving it on an upbeat note. Provide any information on your availability and how to get in touch.
Be sure to sign off using the correct salutation, more of which you can find here.
For media student placements and graduate jobs, attention to detail is essential. Therefore, check and double check your CV and covering letter for accuracy, consistency and grammar. When in doubt, ask a friend to proof read and use a spellcheck for corrections.
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