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An effective journalist CV is focused and tailored to the specifications of the role. It has a clear format that draws attention to any skills that match the criteria of the job, such as ‘investigative reporting’ or ‘delivering factual, concise, and elegantly written pieces’. This is backed up by professional experience in a concise work history.
You can see how that’s all put into practice with our journalist CV sample, showcasing all the qualities of a good journalist with an impressive design from one of our CV templates. That’s paired with all the information you’ll need about the journalist CV format and content.
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Journalist CV Sample
Journalist CV – 5 top tips
Whether it’s an in-house role or a freelance journalist CV, take a look at these tried-and-tested tips to ensure your CV fits the bill.
Do your research
Research is vital to the role of a journalist. But it’s also important for your CV. Before writing your CV, have a good look at the journalist job description. Note down all the main requirements and criteria that match your own experience and skills. You can then include these in your journalist CV to tick the recruiter’s boxes.
Show your versatility
Journalism comes in so many different forms, from the topics you cover to the media you work on. To show that you’re up to the task, try to cover as many different duties and responsibilities as you can in your work history. If you’ve already mentioned research and interviewing for one role, why not focus on your knack for story development in another? It will make your journalist CV well rounded and showcase even more of your skills.
Use a suitable journalist CV format
The structure you use for your journalist CV will depend on your experience. Those who have worked in a few different roles should generally use a reverse-chronological CV format. This puts the focus on your work history with the most recent role first, like our journalist CV sample. However, if you’re new to the scene and trying to build a portfolio, the skills-based CV format for journalist roles could work. In this case, your personal statement will be followed by a breakdown of journalist skills and qualities with examples to back them up.
With the role of a journalist so competitive, many recruiters use ATS software to narrow down their search. That includes scanning CVs for keywords to find a good fit. To increase your chances of success, include relevant phrases in your journalist CV like “NCTJ”, “sports journalism”, or “digital broadcasting” – depending on the role, of course.
Check, check, and check again
Sending a journalist CV with errors is as devastating as sending an incomplete article to press. Eagle-eyed recruiters will spot your mistakes and question your grammar and spelling skills, attention to detail, or both. Make sure you proofread your CV, from the professional summary down to the finest details on your education section.
Journalist – CV skills
The qualities of a good journalist can be hard to find. Here are the skills recruiters are looking for to match the journalist job description.
Must-have skills for a journalist
- Thorough research
- Interviewing skills
- Excellent grammar and spelling
- Story development
- Media operations knowledge
- Audience understanding
Nice-to-have journalist skills and qualities
- Calm under pressure
- Excellent time management
- Good interpersonal skills
- Diligent and determined
- Professional and objective
- Flexible and adaptable
Journalist CV – starting strong
Your personal statement can be pivotal on your in-house or freelance journalist CV. In 3-4 sentences, you need to convince recruiters to read on rather than placing your CV in the ‘no’ pile.
It should be packed full of journalist skills and qualities to set you apart from other candidates. Highlight any specialisms you have, such as broadcast media or sports journalism. Don’t forget to tailor it to the journalist job description, highlighting any of the must-have requirements you meet.
Journalist CV top frequently asked questions
What does a journalist do?
Broadly speaking, the role of a journalist is to research present information on a wide range of topics. That can be anything from the music and film industry to politics and economics. It can also cover a variety of media, including newspaper, magazines, radio, TV, and online.
What qualifications do you need to be a journalist?
The qualification that you need to be a journalist is typically being NCTJ (National Council for the Training of Journalists) qualified. If you’re not NCTJ qualified, employers look for a BA or MA degree and solid work experience such as being a digital journalist, multimedia reporter, or junior reporter.
How to become a journalist (UK)?
To become a journalist, you should start by writing as much as possible about your chosen subject. Whether it’s a personal blog, publishing platforms like Medium, or voluntary writing work – start building up a portfolio, so it’s eventually easier to secure an entry-level role. A relevant degree in journalism, English, or a specialist subject like politics will also be beneficial to your journalist CV, followed by an NCTJ-accredited MA course.
How much do journalists make?
The journalist salary (UK) can typically fall anywhere from £25,000 to £100,000, depending on your level of experience, authority on a subject, and the type of organisation you’re working for. An average journalist salary is between £30,000 and £40,000, while a freelance journalist salary (UK) will depend massively on experience, authority, and how much work you take on.
Can anyone be a journalist?
Technically speaking, anyone can be a journalist. Alongside the qualities of a journalist, recruiters are looking primarily for experience with examples of your work – whether it’s broadcast or written journalism. It’s a good idea to link to these in a cover letter.
How do you write a journalist CV?
Write a journalist CV by focusing on the following items:
- A strong professional summary, highlighting any specific qualifications such as the NCTJ qualification, as well as your most relevant skills.
- Using a clear layout with concise bullet points to explain your responsibilities and achievements.
- A strong list of relevant skills that make you ideal for the role.
What qualifications do you need to be a music journalist?
General journalism courses are a good fit for music journalists. That includes a BA in journalism, broadcast journalism, English, or creative writing – along with post-graduate courses accredited by the NCTJ. You can also demonstrate your subject knowledge with a degree or diploma in music or music history.
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Sign off on a great journalist CV
Writing a CV doesn’t have to be as time-consuming as a well-researched report. Using our journalist CV example, UK candidates can get a clear idea of what’s required, then get started on their own application with ease. Our CV builder comes equipped with customisable templates and relevant content for the role of a journalist, so you’ll have an impressive journalist CV in a matter of minutes.