Selling ourselves short

When I was sifting through applications for vacancies, any that featured spelling mistakes were likely to be binned.

Those hitting the cutting room floor often included submissions from people who couldn’t even get the name of the paper right, or work out how often it was published.

The way people present themselves when applying for jobs can speak volumes about their attention to detail, professionalism, and commitment.

And the same can be said of the way in which media organisations present themselves when advertising those vacancies.

Even in these difficult economic days, there are times and places where news organisations can struggle to attract top quality applicants.

But they don’t always help themselves.

How about this one, from a very big daily paper?

We are looking for a senior content editor to join one of the biggest regional daily newspaper’s in the country

Ironically, it went on to demand the ability to “write crisp clean copy”.

At least that one also went on to have a bit of life to it.

Too many journalistic job ads appear to have been written by a speak-your-weight machine, or more likely by an editor’s PA (and no disrespect whatsoever to those very lovely and talented people) cutting and pasting from the last one.

The very qualities of accuracy, invention and energy that we look for in people can be sorely missing from the messages we employ to get them.

But there is hope.

Step forward Patrick Phelvin, the very personable and very dedicated editor of the Mid Devon Gazette in Tiverton, who produced this ad – bursting with warmth, life and – that much-abused word – passion.

The Mid Devon Gazette series has a vacancy for a
multi-media journalist who has bags of enthusiasm and can
spot a great story in a letter, council agenda or an interviewee’s
throwaway comment.
The Gazette is a web-first operation which has seen its online
audience grow at an incredible rate in the past 12 months and
which is still very much in love with its print products.
The small and friendly team pride themselves in punching
above their weight and are used to seeing their work picked
up the national press.
You will have an NCTJ qualification or be close to achieving one,
have an understanding of the power of social media and live,
or be prepared to move to, the stunning patch of South West
England our news operation serves and all our editorial
staff call home.
In return you will receive a competitive salary, a Local World
pension and training and support to help you fulfil your
career aspirations.

His paper is in what could be regarded as a rural backwater, as unsexy as they come in many people’s eyes.

But gratifyingly, Patrick had a great crop of applicants – and has found what he hopes is the right person.

Over the border in Somerset, Western Gazette news editor Thomas Cock has also been waxing lyrical to good effect.

Sailors missing in the Atlantic. Communities cut off for weeks by floods. Jagerbombs gave me three heart attacks.
These are just some of the stories we’ve covered in recent weeks.
Our patch may be a beautiful place to live and work, but there’s no shortage of hard news for you to uncover.
The Western Gazette is a 7-day online news operation with five weekly print editions. Our online audience has doubled in the last year. The pace is fast.
So, have you got what it takes to be our next news reporter?
Do you want the opportunity to run your own news patch? Are you committed to reporting local life and breaking hard-hitting news first?
Do you want to be part of a friendly, helpful team of talented reporters?
Are you equally at home chatting on social media, on the phone or face-to-face?
You will need passion, creativity, imagination and the desire to be first and the most informed source of local information. A full set of NCTJ exams is extremely desirable. A driving licence is a must.
We have a track record of turning NCTJ qualified juniors into award winning senior reporters.
Shortlisted candidates will be invited to take part in a day-long work trial plus interview.

Again, an advert clearly written by a human being. And again one where the employer’s energy and commitment shines through.

If we want to get the very best people, we need to make sure we are selling ourselves in the very best possible way.

Otherwise, we’ll end up on the cutting room floor, too.

And finally, if there are any more jobs in Patrick’s neck of the woods, you could do a lot worse.

Some of the best people started their careers in mid Devon.

I remember those heady days of covering Crediton as if they were, oh, 29 years ago.






One thought on “Selling ourselves short

  1. I wish I could find the Press Gazette ad for a striker for the Derby Evening Telegraph football team who could also write a bit. We found one.

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