Arriel Vinson hones marketable skills at NABJ/NAHJ 2016 National Conference.

On Wednesday, the first day of the NABJNAHJ Joint Convention, I walked into the hotel with my luggage. The image before my eyes was refreshing: black media professionals and student journalists bustling about in their business attire, with their convention pass hanging from their neck. This was the first career convention I’ve attended, and though my NABJ advisor and mentor gave me advice beforehand, I was still anxious.

arri

My biggest priority at the convention was the career fair. I have a year left of undergrad, so I knew networking and finding internship/fellowship opportunities would be important. I went to the career fair with Feyi Alufohai twice and we tackled it together, piggy-backing off of each other with questions for employers (as well as answers). This method made the career fair less daunting and easier to navigate.

Our main question was, “what should we be doing in our last year?” The sports editor from VICE, Jorge Aranguré Jr., gave us an answer that I won’t forget.

He said that we need to continue building our resume. That’s a given. But he also said that we need to find those one or two things we’re good at, because when journalists call themselves a “multimedia journalist,” it can sometimes be hard for employers to place them. Aranguré Jr. thinks it would be better to tell employers that we are print journalists who also have photography skills. Now, he  didn’t say that a journalist shouldn’t know how to do everything, but he said being really good at a few things will make a journalist stand out.

Employers at the career fair were eager to tell us about opportunities and listen to our experience/what we wanted from a job. I left the career fair with knowledge on companies I hadn’t given much thought to before and I also learned of opportunities that I can’t wait to apply for.

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