Most journalism graduates will have spent the last few months submitting application after application, hoping that each will be the one to end the job hunt.
But with most work experience opportunities cancelled, freelance budgets cut and job openings few and far between, it seems harder than ever to stand out in the application process.
Show your interest for journalism
Their first advice to potential applicants is to get across your passion for journalism.
"It’s great to see applicants doing well in journalism courses, but what really catches my eye are people who have pursued meaningful, on-the-pulse stories, whether it be for a course, a publication or even a personal blog," Dewan says.
Being published in national or international newspapers is not the only way to make an impression, according to Mackintosh.
"The candidates that have stood out so far have a specific interest, such as race or geopolitical coverage, and they’re pursuing that in personal blogs or on social media," she says, adding that other impressive candidates have been 'self-starters' who have put together their own podcasts or are posting regular Instagram explainers.
Show off your digital skills
Digital skills are essential but you do not have to be an SEO or social management expert to impress.
"We are looking for digital natives, people that are really comfortable with using social media, both for publishing and as a tool to get a pulse on what conversations are happening related to the news and what would do well with audiences," Mackintosh says.
Hone your news judgment
There are four key questions that candidates have to answer in the application for the CNN digital news internship but Mackintosh pays particular attention to this one: what news story of the last twelve months is most pertinent to you?
"It gives us a really clear sense of how up to speed the candidate is in terms of global affairs but also the angle at which they’re approaching it," she says.
Personalise your application
The lack of personalisation is one of the biggest mistakes people make in the application process.
“It's easy to think that you can just send the same template off to everyone," Mackintosh says. But part of a successful application "is showing not only that you have a passion about journalism, but the type of journalism that we're doing at CNN."
A good way to get that across is to share in your cover letter what you like about a publication’s coverage and how you will contribute to that but also how you would cover stories differently.
Make your CV concise
With so much personal and professional experience to convey it can be hard to know how detailed your CV should be. For Mackintosh a one page CV is a winner.
"It's a good exercise in the work that you will be doing as a journalist because you're trying to distil information and get across the most important aspects," she says.
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