Pick Me
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November marks the start of the journalism training scheme application season in the UK, as media organisations begin to open the application process for schemes starting in September 2015.

But with thousands applying, how can your application stand out? And once you do find yourself in the newsroom as a trainee journalist, either on a scheme or on a different type of contract, how can you make the most of the experience?

"When you're writing your application, try write it as if you're shouting it to someone who's just racing past on a bus, you have so little time to get their attention," Erica Buist, a writer at the Guardian, told Journalism.co.uk in a podcast.

Buist spent a year on the Guardian's digital journalism scheme, and was offered a contract at the end.

The most important thing is that you're able to communicate effectively.Julian Joyce, BBC
She said those looking to apply to a training scheme should spend a full day working on the application and "write it as if it's going to be published".

Tell your story

"Your writing skill is one of the only ones that you can actually showcase when you're applying," she said.

"If you're brilliant at coding it's probably not going to show up in your application, all you've got to say is 'I'm brilliant at coding I promise' so I would say just make it a really good piece of writing."

Julian Joyce, programme manager of BBC's journalism schemes, said successful applications for BBC's flagship Journalism Training Scheme (JTS) had to be well written.

He said the online application form had to tell an interesting story, be well-structured, and, of course, be spell checked.

"If you're applying to be a journalist then I would have thought that the most important thing is that you're able to communicate effectively," he added.

"Evidence that you can't do that is going to count against you I'm afraid."

Applications for the BBC's JTS will open in January, and those successful in the online stage will be invited to assessment centres and interviews.

Early on in your career in journalism everything is an opportunity, everything goes in your portfolio.Erica Buist, the Guardian
JTS is not a graduate scheme, and Joyce said he is looking for "evidence of journalistic achievement" when going through applications.

This can be running a successful blog or social media account, for example, some experience of working in the media, or a "creative career switch" to journalism.

Say yes and contribute

And once you have made it through a tough application process and become a trainee in the newsroom of media organisations such as BBC, the Guardian or the Times, how can you maximise your time there?

"Early on in your career in journalism everything is an opportunity, everything goes in your portfolio," said Buist.

So it's important to say yes to anything that comes your way, she said, as this offers trainees a chance to establish themselves as productive and reliable team members.

"If you put yourself early on as someone who says yes to everything, you will rarely have to go around desperately pitching ideas to editors trying to get work."

Younger journalists also have more of a sense of "guerilla journalism where we just run out and do it", said Buist.

"One of the main things I've learned is how much we have to contribute as a group, not just because we're digital natives but also [because] we just have a little bit more of a 'let's just get on with it' kind of attitude."

However, being accepted onto a trainee scheme does not guarantee a job at the end in all cases. Joyce advises all of his JTS trainees to network and make as many contacts in the organisation as possible.

He said getting some experience across all platforms, from web to radio, was also a good way to set yourself up for success.

"Get to know as many people as possible in the environment that you're in," he said.

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