How to Make Your Resume Stand Out in Journalism
October 13, 2020
BR Journalism blog header

For those within the journalism field, you may have a passion for writing and storytelling but struggle to tell your own story. This is common for many people, and it usually becomes most apparent when we’re writing our own resumes.

Even if you’re just getting started within journalism or perhaps switching careers, you may be wondering how you can stand out when applying to jobs or internships. Below are a few tips specifically tailored to help those of you job seekers who have a passion for journalism.

1. Write in the proper style

As a college student, do you recall having to always format your papers into an MLA format? If so, you probably used sites like PurdueOwl to ensure you used the correct formatting and rules. Well, journalism also has a particular style that you need to be aware of and adhere to in your resume.

If you’re new to journalism, you may be less familiar with the Associated Press’s (AP) preferred writing style. Much like MLA, AP style refers to the way in which you format sentences or use grammar. It is imperative that you use these rules correctly, otherwise, you will not seem qualified for any role in journalism.

Do yourself a huge favor, and pick up any relatively recent edition of The Associated Press Stylebook. Be sure to start incorporating these rules into your writing and your resume.

2. Use keywords and industry terminology

This one is always a great rule of thumb regardless of industry. When searching for the right keywords, look first at the job listings that you’re most interested in. What words keep appearing?

For journalism, be sure to incorporate the following:

  • Reported
  • Pitched
  • Investigated
  • Researched
  • Edited
  • Authored
  • Identified

The above words are just a few that you’ll want to build into your strong, accomplishment-based bullet points.

Again, let’s go back to that idea of aligning your resume with job listings. This step is crucial to your job search. If you aren’t aligning your resume properly, you most likely won’t even make it past the Applicant Tracking Systems (ATs). For more on how to do that, check out more articles here.

3. Highlight your relevant skills

Journalism is a fast-paced and competitive field. You have to be willing to step up when needed to cover stories as they occur and be able to put together well-done pieces quicker than everyone else while ensuring they are 100% accurate. You also have to be able to prove you can handle that work environment or task within your resume.

It seems like a daunting task, and to an extent, it is. However, it can be easily done if you know what to do. It will all come down to what details are in your bullet points. If you need to prove that you can produce multiple stories within a timeline, quantify your writing experiences. If you need to be able to conduct interviews and create contact lists, include details in your bullet points of contacting sources or conducting interviews. Explain how you did it and what impact it had. It will pay off.

4. Proofread your resume

Did you know that 60% of resumes have grammatical errors? In journalism, you will not make it by being in that 60%. I hate to say it, but it’s true. Before submitting every single resume, double and triple-check it. Look out for those commas and make sure your formatting is consistent.

Poor grammar in a resume is a red flag for any hiring manager, but especially for those within fields like publishing and journalism. To help yourself catch those mistakes, try reading your resume out loud, having a friend look it over, or even using tools such as Grammarly to check for errors.

5. Include a link to an online portfolio

One of the great things about being within the field of journalism is that you will always have proof of your accomplishments to show hiring managers. Whether it’s writing articles, shooting content, or even taking photos, there is plenty for you to include in your portfolio.

And if you haven’t done any of that yet, get started! There’s nothing stopping you from drafting articles or taking photographs even if they won’t actually be published. Building your portfolio works as a means to vouch for what your resume says you’ve done. For more tips on how to create your portfolio, check out this article.

Journalism is an exciting field to work in, but it isn’t easy to get started. To beat your competition and be brought in for that interview, you’ll have to put in work on your resume first. If you need an extra hand, schedule a consultation with one of our professional resume writers to get started. Good luck!


  1. CV Warehouse

    Thank you so much for sharing this great blog.

  2. Director_2022

    At this point you might also be wondering how long your resume should be. If you have several years in journalism under your belt, go for two pages. Otherwise, one-page resume template should do the trick. It s a short and sweet paragraph at the top of your journalist resume that lays down the groundwork of why you re the person for the job. Think of it as the attention-grabbing headline of your application.


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By Emily Provost

Emily is BrandResumes' Content Specialist and is an Associate Resume Writer. She completed her Bachelor of Arts in Publishing Studies with double minors in Marketing and Journalism from Hofstra University. She has had editorial experience working as an editor for various publications from Hofstra and worked as a writing tutor for undergraduate students.

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