August 22, 2011

Advice Straight from the Professionals

The MTV Intern program has these wonderful bi-monthly meetings where you get to meet with different professionals. I learned so much from the people I met and I just wanted to compile it all and share it. These are all things that either intrigued me or that I never knew before. First is some advice from a current job recruiter who works for MTV. She gave a lot of general knowledge about how to get a job and do well in an interview. Then I put some tips for your resume, cover letter and interviews that follow.

Tips from a MTV recruiter

  • Your first job will not be your dream job. It’s okay to take a job that you are not head over heels in love with. That job will come. Use this one to figure out what your likes and dislikes are and to network.
  • When on an interview, evaluate the person who could potentially be your boss. Do they seem like someone that you could work for? Are they clear in articulating what they want from you? You should be comfortable working in that environment and a lot of that comes from the management.
  • Average media starting salary is between $35,000 and $42,000.
  • She personally looks for humility and making sure that it is not all about you. You are asking to be a part of a bigger thing, so make sure you let them know what you are willing to do for the company.
  • When asked about what your weaknesses are, stick to things that can be overcome through training or job experience. Picking out a personality trait (lazy, workaholic, etc.) are going to make them see you as only those things and not the good things you are. Also, these traits are hard to change as they are a part of you.
  • When doing research about the company, dig deep. Most interviews will ask you “Why do you want to work for this company?” Your answer needs to be greater than just I love to shop here or I love this network/channel or I always wanted to. This is your opportunity to show them you did your homework. Impress them by mentioning something about their corporate responsibilities (charities, social impact, etc.) or about the work environment. This will show them you want more than to just brag about working at the company but actually care about what your company is doing.
  • Don’t beat yourself up if you don’t get the job. Especially at the entry level, so many resumes look alike in their amount of skill and experience so it may not have been that you did something wrong. Just keep a positive attitude.

Cover Letters

  • Tailor specifically to the company/position you are applying for
  • Put in if someone recommended you. They will contact that person first as they will have something good to say about you.
  • Do not re-write your resume in paragraph form. Use this as a highlighter to shine a brighter light on certain things that may apply to the position.
  • If the job is in another state or country, make sure to write in the dates you will be staying in that location so they know you are willing to relocate.


  • If you have space to fill, try adding in related course work (to the position) in the education category. You could also add any going abroad or externship experience.
  • Remember, your school email will expire. If this is post-graduation, then make sure to have your personal email and not your school one on your resume.
  • Every resume should be tailored to the job. It should only be one front faced page but it is okay to have one huge resume saved that has everything you have ever done on it. You can then take that and narrow it down each time you apply somewhere.
  • Watch your tenses when you are describing past or current job activities.
  • Put your computer skills at the bottom of your resume. It is also preferred if you put your knowledge of social media (facebook, twitter, linked in) all on there as a skill.
  • Make a reference sheet with business contacts. Bring it with you but only mention it if they ask for it.


    • Always ask the interviewer at least one question. An example could be “What do you enjoy the most about working here?”
    • DO YOUR RESEARCH. You should know more about the company that anyone else you know. Also do your research on your interviewer if you know who it is.
    • If you get stumped on a question, it’s okay to ask for a moment to think of an answer or to ask to return to that question at the end. They would rather have a coherent and real response than a rushed fake one.
    • Don’t say anything negative about previous employers. Just don’t. It’s tacky.
    • Follow up by writing a thank you card or email if they don’t say when they will be getting back to you.

Phone Interviews

  • Stand in front of a mirror. It forces you to look forward and focus on what you are saying.
  • Dress the part. While it may seem weird to dress up on the phone, it gets you in the interview mindset, which will help you sound more formal and treat this just as if it was a face-to-face interview.
  • Smile! It makes your personality come through on the phone, which is difficult to do.

 I hope everyone’s summer is finishing off well as we all gear up to head back to the Hill.

posted in Charnelle Pinkett

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