Spotlights

Nicole Darrah, WPUNJ 2016

Nicole Darrah graduated William Paterson in 2016, majoring in Broadcast Journalism. She currently works as a Ticker Writer and Breaking News Producer at Fox News and has interned at large media companies such as VH1 and ABC. Darrah tells reader her experience as an intern and advice on keeping your dream alive in the entertainment industry.

nicole

How do you believe your time at William Paterson prepared you for your post graduate life?

Looking back as a communication student at WPUNJ, I realize I learned a lot that prepared me for post-grad life. The professors were knowledgeable and the classes were information and relevant to my daily news life.

What clubs or activities were you involved in at William Paterson and how do you believe they have helped you so far?

As a student I wrote briefly for the Pioneer Times and worked in the WPTV studios as part of my classwork. By far, my time in broadcast news classes were the most beneficial as I now write news professionally each day.

You currently work at Fox News, how was the process of getting this job? What advice do you have for undergrads who are in the process of applying for jobs?

Fox is great when it comes to hiring young, talented people – most of the people I work with are millennials. The job application process was simple enough: I applied online to production assistant positions, heard back from a recruiter who gave me a list of jobs I was eligible to interview for (that weren’t PA positions) and then interviewed from there.

Advice for undergrads: Apply everywhere, even if you’re not sure it’s something you want to do. I didn’t necessarily want to be a production assistant, as I’m more interested in the editorial side rather than production aspect of news – but as you can see, I was presented with the opportunity to write after Fox reached out to me and we discussed what I wanted to do. You never know what can happen after submitting an application, so I highly suggest applying every place possible.

Where have you interned and how have those internships helped you in your career?

During college I interned with VH1 at Viacom, as well as 7 On Your Side at WABC-TV. My time at VH1 was helpful because I learned a lot about the use of social media in a professional environment and I’ve definitely used that experience as a stepping stone in this digital age. But it was my time spent at Channel 7 that really opened my eyes to the industry: I worked in a newsroom, sat in on daily news meetings and ultimately worked hands-on both in and out of the field. These internships allowed me to briefly step out into the “real world” while still working as a student.

What is your ultimate goal career wise? What is your dream job and how will you go about reaching that dream job?

Before and during college, I always thought my dream was to work on-air as a correspondent or local reporter. But now working in the industry for the past 8 or so months, I believe I’ve lost sight (for lack of a better term) of that goal and now see paths leading in other directions, which I don’t see as a bad thing. I was recently offered a job as a breaking news producer with FoxNews.com – not on-air, nor with “television news,” per se. I think I still have the goal of working on-air as a journalist but where my career may take me, no one knows.

What advice do you have for graduating seniors about post graduate life and the “real world”?

Like I said before, if you’re graduating college – apply EVERYWHERE. It’s so important to get your name and your resume out there and to let a variety of companies know that you’re available. The “real world” isn’t glamorous (but once you get a job, it does come with a nice paycheck!), and you shouldn’t fantasize it to be. My most important piece of advice would be to not give up hope if you’re facing obstacles and find walls are blocking your path to finding a job. It took me 4 months from graduation to joining Fox News, while some of my friends were offered jobs before even graduating – but next week I’ll be working as a news producer in one of the largest media organizations in the world, so I’d say working hard and remaining hopeful worked out for me in the end!

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How To's

Tips on How to Make Your Portfolio Stand Out in the Entertainment/Media Industry

It is always nerve wrecking to go in for a second interview at a company you really want to work at. Most undergrads know it is important to have a top shape resume, references and cover letters but what seems to be missing? A star portfolio! It is very time consuming to make a portfolio worthy of bringing to an interview but it is what could set you apart from other candidates. Many students seem to forget that although the internet has indeed taken over many aspects of the job search, bringing something physical and malleable to an interview should be expected.

As an Elite Daily writer states, she didn’t feel as though her resume full reflected the full scope of what she was capable of. That is something I can relate to with my vast amount of experience. It is necessary to show proof and have visuals to back up the claims in a resume.

As my professor once said to my class, portfolio’s can separate you positively from other contenders who have the same basic qualifications. Having visuals at an in person interview can truly be the determining factor between getting the job or not. The ideal portfolio will contain works that prove your strong background in whichever field in entertainment you wish to pursue a career in.

Below are the must have items for a successful portfolio:

  1. Most Updated Resume: Make sure to always carry your most recent resume in your portfolio since they might refer to your resume throughout the interview
  2. Cover Letter: If you are interviewing for a specific job, always bring with you a cover letter that is suited for the job you are interviewing for. They might not read it but will be impressed you have it with you!
  3. Writing Samples: Samples of your writing is where you can most shine in an interview. Your portfolio should have contain your strongest work such as press release samples, script samples, social media posts and more. By having the samples, you can have something physical to refer to in your interview.
  4. Analytics: If you are interested in jobs more on the analytical side such as social media, make sure to have a section with analytics related to blogs or social media pages you have worked on throughout your college career in internships or personal pages. Strong analytics can mean a lot for someone who is interviewing in a more business oriented sector of entertainment where numbers mean a lot.
  5. Recommendation Letters: Many times students think recommendation letters were a thing of the past, just used to get into colleges but they are important to get jobs as well. Recommendation letters written by former or current internship or work supervisors and professors contain information as to why they believe you would be qualified for any job in your field. They are vouching for you and that is a strong feat!
How To's

How to Optimize Your Resume for Entertainment/Media Companies

Courtesy of Fast Web

According to Mashable, “a whopping 72% of resumes are never seen by human eyes”. That is a huge problem to job and internship seekers because that makes their resume more than likely to be ignored by the tracking systems companies use.

Below are some ways to help optimize your resume for entertainment and media companies in order to get your resume seen by a human!

    1. Incorporate Words from the Job Description: This is a tactic that I have used multiple times. Make sure to use buzzwords in your resume that you see being repeated multiple times on a job listing. For example, if the job or internship you’re applying for has specific words/adjectives like: monitor, track, maintain, assist you should include these words in your resume in order for the tracking system to pass your resume along to an actual person.
    2. Friendly Fonts: Make sure your resume has fonts that are easy to read. Many application sites take your resume and use it to directly apply for the job by using the words on the resume; Making sure you use readable fonts such as Arial, Georgia, Calibri is important to have your resume be seen.
    3. No Useless Information: There is only one page for an acceptable resume and you can’t go over one page in order to fill the page with things not relevant to your field. For example, for an entertainment job it is important to include information that can easily translate into what a job in entertainment entails. School clubs can be incorporated to make your resume well rounded but a list of courses that have nothing to do with your field is irrelevant and a waste of space.
    4. Include Volunteer Work: When I lead a group of red carpet escorts I encouraged them to include their time and experience as red carpet escorts into their resume if they wish to work in entertainment. This type of work would be considered “volunteer” and looks great on a resume for a entertainment job because it shows the person has been exposed to the field in more than one way. Make sure to include the name of companies you have done volunteer work for!
    5. Vamp Up the Skills Section: Jobs and internships are looking for the perfect candidate that has all the right skills and more. For example, jobs and internships in entertainment many times want someone who knows how to use media software such as Cision and Critical Mention. Obviously, if you do not know how to use these sites do not put them in your resume but if and when you do know make sure to add them to your resume. A job or internship in production might require more technical and visual skills.