Credit: Photo by Steve Johnson on Unsplash

When you are a journalism graduate, getting your foot in the door is hard. Competition is tough, editors are busy and fewer publishers now work in a physical newsroom. All this shrinks your chances of gaining that crucial first experience and contacts.

I have been there myself. But now, as an editor, I also see the flip side. Proper work experience, rather than just parking the student by the proverbial photocopier, takes time and dedication from the whole editorial team. We have bucketfuls of goodwill but when it comes to time and resources, our small team is in dire straits.

Despite that, we try to take on as many journo students as we can. So when last month we received not one but two applications where the students did not double-check the sender and put the wrong company name, I turned them down. But then I had a bad conscience. I was pondering over and over again whether we could afford to bring in someone with poor attention to detail, risking mistakes and doubling our workload. Was I too harsh and petty, overblowing a small mistake?

I asked my LinkedIn community for thoughts and you were generous with your opinions and tips.

In fact, 122 of you responded and three quarters (76 per cent) agreed, saying they would disregard the application for showing poor attention to detail. A good 12 per cent of you considered this position harsh and petty, and the rest (11 per cent) sat somewhere in between.

Let's get into the comments. Some agreed with me straight away.

Others were much more willing to cutting the students some slack and I was also very pleased to see lecturers weighing in.

As is often the case, the best solution may be a dialogue.

Natalie Fahy from Reach shared another precious piece of advice for both the students and their parents (does anyone really still do this?)

And John Crowley reminded everyone that the quality of an applicant cannot be measured by one email mistake.

What would you do? Join the discussion.

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