Applying for a media job has typically centred around creating a CV where you can show how your experience and education to date make you the best fit for the role.
But what if there was a different way to put your best foot forward – one that could potentially lead to more diversity in the workplace?
According to the recruitment software specialists TestGorilla, 2024 is going to be a pivotal year for what’s called ‘skills-based hiring’.
It’s not the first to pinpoint the growing importance of skills when it comes to hiring. In 2022, the Harvard Business Review reported on how skills-based hiring was on the rise.
Using the skills-based approach means – as the name suggests – emphasising the transferable skills a candidate has gathered and honed across their career journey.
Instead of giving a chronological rundown of your experience, you focus on the competencies and techniques you’ve learned throughout your various roles – and if you’re an employer, you look at what skills are required for a role rather than strictly sticking to education or job history.
The Test Gorilla survey points to the success achieved by employers who try this approach, finding that in 2023, more than 70% of respondents agreed that all forms of skills-based hiring are more effective than CVs.
Additionally, it says 91.9% of employers believe that skills-based hiring is more effective when identifying talented candidates than resumes. Overall, 73% of its survey respondents were using skills-based hiring.
It also found that on the candidate side, 86% said that the opportunity to showcase their role-relevant skills would increase their likelihood of securing a dream job.
But what could skills-based hiring mean for the media?
Journalism is an industry that requires editors and reporters to have a range of hard, soft and technical skills across different areas. It’s not enough to be a good writer, or good at spotting a decent news hook.
Whether you’re a reporter, producer or editor, you’ll also need to have interview skills, editing skills, communication skills, IT skills, people skills, and be good at critical analysis and idea generation.
The media has changed hugely over the past 15 years, particularly since digital media took off. This has brought significant challenges, particularly for print media, but the changes have also meant that journalists now need to add new skills to their repertoire. These are skills that aren’t simply tied to studying journalism in university, but ones that can be learned, and transferred, across different industries.
Take social media, for example, these days, if you work in the media, it isn’t opt-in. Reporters need to be able to use social platforms to promote their work or find stories. Skills in videography and photography are also important, with reporters having to snap pictures from press conferences or videos of political statements, and share them instantly.
Data analysis is also a skill that can be massively important in the modern newsroom, enabling a journalist to comb through FOI requests, statistics and datasets to put together a cogent piece of reporting.
While making its predictions in the 2020 Future of Jobs report, the World Economic Forum’s (WEF) top 15 skills for 2025 included those essential for journalism: analytical thinking and innovation, active learning and learning strategies, complex problem-solving, and critical thinking and analysis. The top two WEF most in-demand skills of 2023 were analytical thinking and creative thinking.
There’s a long history in journalism of reporters coming to the industry later, having built up experience in a sector like law or business.
Digital media has provided a new platform for people to pivot into the industry, building on their specific area of knowledge or interest, but whether you write or edit for print or digital, you call on a variety of skills every day to do your job.
One key draw to a skills-based hiring approach is that it can mean a more diverse talent pool within an industry that is in need of diversification.
The TestGorilla survey found that 84% of employers using skills-based hiring report that it has a positive impact on diversity. By focusing on skills, employers can enable people who didn’t go the ‘traditional’ journalism route, but who have transferable skills, to get a foot in the door and bring new perspectives to the newsroom.
Journalism is a dream job for many. It’s also an industry that is changing rapidly and always in need of new voices. If the recruitment experts are correct, skills-based hiring could be a huge benefit to workplaces as newsrooms continue to grapple with a fast-changing and evolving environment.
Looking to move into a media job? Here are three roles hiring on the Press Gazette Job Board.
In this assistant producer role, you would report to the executive producer, take phone calls for phone-ins and competitions, generate ideas, compile features, write scripts and assist during live broadcasting. The day-to-day role will also involve collaborating with the production team to develop engaging and entertaining radio content, and assisting in the planning, scripting, and execution of on-air segments, interviews, and promotions. Find out all of the details for this job.
PA Media, the UK’s national news agency, is looking for a high-quality reporter to join its news reporting team covering the East Midlands. You will report on all aspects of the region – from court to politics – produce accurate and impartial copy, take stills and video where required, and use social media to source exclusive and breaking news stories. See all of the information on this role.
ITV is looking for a talented production journalist to join its team in Belfast working across a range of platforms. You will have a track record in finding your own stories and will demonstrate an ability to bring in ideas. You will also be adept at using a variety of technology, including for picture editing and the formation of graphics. Skills needed include knowledge of media law, strong writing, and innovative thinking around presenting news stories. If this role sounds like it’s for you, find more information here.
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