Speaker: Deborah Brewster (Deputy Managing Editor of The Wall Street Journal)
Time: 9 a.m.
When Anna and I were planning our schedule, we saw this session and had to attend. I mean the managing editor of the Wall Street Journal was speaking.
Deborah was a no-nonsense woman. She was not there to hold our hands through the job searching process, nor was she going to sugar coat anything for us. Her advice was brutally honest and exactly what I needed to hear.
-Dropping names is a double edged sword: Referring to a connection is a HORRIBLE way to start a cover letter, application or resume. Most of the time the hiring staff does not care if you know someone, especially if the person in question is only a reporter. Also if the person is not in good standing with the company or not a top executive, chances are your application will not be taken seriously. You will be thought of as someone who rides the success of others, instead of creating your own.
-The process of getting an interview is the first test: If you can get an interview after being persistent and hard working, and be impressive, you can probably get an interview with a top CEO and ask hard-hitting questions.
-Do not list chronologically on your resume: do not waste space on every minor internship you have had. If you had six internships, simply say, “In the last six months I have had 6 internships in 4 months.” They really do not care to read six descriptions of the same thing.
-Affirmative action: Deborah was very honest in saying that if you were part of a minority, you had a much better chance in getting the job. As the Wall Street Journal, or any news industry, the staff is composed of Caucasian males, they need to represent diversity.
-Generalists are dead: For a big name and specialized paper like WSJ, generalized reporters are not impressive. Instead, become knowledgeable in a specific field.
Deborah ended with a story of an intern last summer. His name was Chris and he was in a pool of 30 other interns. On paper, he was not the best guy out of the bunch. But he had taken the time to get to know everyone on executive staff and told each one that he would do anything to stay on at WSJ. When a new position came up, he was the only one they all knew and liked. Hard work really proved to be better than talent . . .