Secrets to Getting Shortlisted for a Job in the Modern World – Eurasia Review


Most people can relate to the overwhelming experience of applying for a job without hearing anything, not even a “thank you, no thank you”. The new QUT research offers answers as to why and illustrates how important first impressions, credentials and external recognition are.

  • Previous experience is the most important attribute employers look for and being overqualified can give you a leg up on the competition
  • When applying for a job, provide concrete evidence of your past accomplishments and experiences
  • Degrees, especially diplomas, are essential in the preselection process
  • If you’ve won an award or other form of professional recognition, don’t be shy

Dr TJ Thomson and Dr Jason Sternberg, both senior lecturers at QUT’s School of Communication, reviewed applicants’ resumes and cover letters to shed light on hiring processes and uncover strategies that candidates use to distinguish themselves.

The results of their study, which focused on applications for a job in visual journalism posted in 2019, have just been published by Educator in journalism and mass communication.

“We’ve all been there. Applying for a job, sending the application materials, then radio silence. What went wrong? Who did they go with? Why? It can be a frustrating experience , but there are some strategies that can give you an advantage when writing your cover letter and updating your CV, ”Dr Thomson said.

“Keep in mind that external recognition matters a lot. Anyone can say how good they are, but having objective evidence that someone else thinks you are great at what you do is gold.

“Applicants from the data pool who had achieved professional recognition or awards were four times more likely to be shortlisted than those who had not achieved such recognition.

“Professional development and training are second on the podium for job applications. All of the shortlisted candidates in the sample had attended training workshops and completed at least one internship or apprenticeship. It shows that you have a personal growth mindset and are adept at teaching, which can have a positive impact on your interpersonal skills.

“You also have to aim to be overqualified to be competitive, depending on your field. The job description for the position in the study indicated that only one or two years of experience was required, but most applicants reported having almost six years of experience.

Drs.Thomson and Sternberg performed an in-depth qualitative review of 32 cover letters / CVs from applicants for the position with a US-based print and digital daily newspaper.

“Although the shrinking of traditional media, converging technology and the resulting democratization of media production and distribution have confused the question of who a journalist is, recent estimates place the number of professional union journalists at around 600,000 in the world. This does not include people working in non-unionized environments and freelancers, who in the United States make up more than half of the visual journalism produced in major news outlets, ”Dr Thomson said.

“A recent survey of 5,000 visual journalists in more than 100 countries found that the majority had a university education, more than half are self-employed or freelancers, and about 98% use digital cameras. A growing number of them are now also using drones. “

Dr Thomson said the range of skills expected of journalists has grown exponentially since the advent of the internet and requires continuous updating to optimize the employment prospects of graduates and seasoned journalists.

“Previous experience is the most important attribute news agencies look for when hiring, followed by web / multimedia skills and video / photo skills,” he said.

“The candidates who could demonstrate such skills, qualities and experience were those who were shortlisted, and these principles may be transferable to many other industries when it comes to the hiring process.

“We’ve found that tangible expressions of what you can do matter – show, don’t say. If relevant to your field, a portfolio or other tangible expression of your talents and skills will speak louder than the narrative you craft in the cover letter.

Diplomas also matter. The screening process has to start somewhere, and credentials are often one of the first aspects hiring managers use to select a pool of candidates.

“Finally, be aware of the ideologies in your field and be prepared to situate yourself in them. Be willing and able to comment – with concrete examples – on ethical practices, social responsibility, sustainability, professional responsibility and general professionalism to ensure that your values ​​and the values ​​of the organization align.


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