Here are 7 common mistakes to avoid on your journalism CV

My resume is just a list of things I really never want to do again

1. Talking about the activities that you‘ve done rather than the skills that you built

2. Cliches and unnecessary words

We’d love to hire you but your spelling mistakes and poor grammar show you’re not as detail oriented as you claim. Sorry.
Image: vmiskell

3. Overlooking mistakes or inconsistencies

  • Spelling mistakes are the first. Double-check that any names (not just people, but also places and organisations) are spelt correctly. Watch out especially for homophones (e.g. their/they’re/there).
  • Grammatical mistakes include using capitals when they’re not needed (a very common mistake) and vice versa (less common). You should check every apostrophe in your application, but also look out for other punctuation mistakes like failing to close parentheses or misusing semi-colons (on the whole it’s just better not to use a semi-colon at all)
  • Using words incorrectly is something else to watch out for: in seeking to show off their vocabulary, people sometimes use an impressive word without being 100% confident about what it means. If you have any long words in your application, look them up. (And if possible, use a simpler one: journalists are rarely hired because they are sesquipedalian 😉)
  • Inconsistency and style: part of the professionalism of a journalist is an awareness of the conventions they operate within, including consistent style. If your CV has bullet points, for example, make sure that you are consistent in how you start and end them (capital letter? Full stop?)

4. Education treated as a tickbox

I’m sorry but my resume says i went to college nowhere does it say i am well educated
Image: dancarroll

5. No examples of work

6. Lacking personality

7. Underestimating the value of your personal experiences



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Paul Bradshaw

Paul Bradshaw

Write the @ojblog. I run the MA in Data Journalism and the MA in Multiplatform and Mobile Journalism @bcujournalism and wrote @ojhandbook #scrapingforjournos