Write the Perfect Cover Letter

Screen Shot 2015-05-06 at 1.17.42 PMWhether for a job or internship, a cover letter introduces you to a potential employer and offer a first impression. Your letter MUST make a connection and be concise, grammatically perfect, well written and professional in tone. This letter tells your prospective employer what YOU can do for THEM, not what they can do for you. So don’t bother writing about how much you’d like to work for the company because it will help you in the future. What do they care?

Show YOUR value. Explain why they should bring you on. Here’s a sample:

Dear, ______________________________________________

I am writing to apply for an internship in AREA OF INTEREST with NAME OF COMPANY. I’m a senior at The City College of New York, where I am majoring in XX.

As my resume indicates, I have completed major coursework including INTRODUCTION TO JOURNALISM, SOCIAL MEDIA STRATEGIES, AND PROSE WRITING WORKSHOP, among others. These hands-on classes provide me with a strong understanding of the demands of the profession, and the knowledge and skills to make a valuable contribution as an intern.

I have prior work experience having been a JOB TITLE for COMPANY. In this capacity, I brought my strong work ethic and professionalism to my employer. OR SAY SOMETHING THAT DEMONSTRATES YOUR PROFESSIONALISM.

In addition to my abilities and passion for this profession, I am hard working, ADD MORE PERSONAL QUALITIES HERE THAT DEFINE YOU.

I am especially interested in this internship because of NAME OF COMPANY’S excellent reputation for SAY SOMETHING ABOUT THE COMPANY THAT BRANDS THEM, BASED ON THEIR WEBSITE COPY OR WHAT YOU LIKE ABOUT THEM

I would welcome the opportunity to meet with you. Please contact me via e-mail or by phone at YOUR NUMBER.

Thank you in advance for your time and consideration.



Your Name



The Right Resume

Now’s the time to work on your resume. Here’s a template to download: Resume Sample Format 8 13

Here’s a good resume courtesy of my student Daniel Friedman. (Thanks Daniel!!!!)

Screen Shot 2013-12-14 at 12.48.33 PM

Why do I like this resume so much:

1. Clean, straightforward, easy-to-read format. The red is a nice extra. Makes it pop.

2. Has the good stuff at the top. He had me with the qualifications. Always start with a list of the skills and talents you bring to the party. They can be listed under “Qualifications,” “Summary,” or “Skills.” Be sure to list any social media proficiency–Twitter, Facebook, WordPress–as well as computer, audio and video skills if you have them.

3. Doesn’t have an “Objective.” Hate that. Don’t ever list an “Objective”–even if you’ve been told to do that. Objectives tell employers what you’re looking to gain from them. What do they care? Tell them what you have to offer.

4. Is specific. Have a resume tailored for each job or each industry. Daniel’s makes him look journalistic. He has another one that is shifted around and tweaked to make him seem more techie. I have one for academic jobs, another for book writing, one for health, one for LGBT, one for newspaper gigs etc.

5. His classwork is listed out. Daniel doesn’t have a ton of experience, but he has taken some journalism and communications courses. Those add weight to his resume.

6. “Media and Work experience are two separate entries. Daniel hasn’t had a job in media, but he has (unpaid) experience with the Campus and as a blogger–which is great. He also listed his CCNY web job…which is how he pays the bills. This shows that he’s held down a job, which HR may want to know.

Good luck! Daniel got an internship, that turned into a paying gig at a sports magazine using this resume!!! Now he’s working at Sports Illustrated as the NBA editor.


Welcome Back!

Earlier this month, a group of City College alumni visited our campus to talk about their experiences working on The Paper “back in the day.” Albert De Leon, Jerry Mondesire, Charles Powell, Greg Holder, and Jeff Morgan covered events, wrote about issues, shot photographs and edited articles during the turbulent 70s. Here, journalism student Jalesa Tucker discusses their homecoming:


Left to right: Jeff Morgan, Greg Holder, Charles Powell, Jerry Mondesire and Albert De Leon with adjunct professor Janus Adams.


Some of the original members of The Paper stopped by Shepard Hall on April 16 to talk to current students about the significance and legacy of CCNY’s only campus publication run by students of color. City College in the late 60s – early 70s was a very different place, wrestling with race, politics, social justice and other issues of the day.  Working at The Paper offered refuge. “We didn’t feel like we belonged here but The Paper was a place that created our belonging and camaraderie,” said Charles Powell, who is now a lawyer. “The fellowship and the friendship and the commitment to each other was what we felt was necessary for our own survival.”

The publication began as a supplement to Tech News in 1970. “Tech News was the paper that was run by the architecture engineering students that were on the north side; of course the African-American students were on the south side,” recalled Jerry Mondesire, now a Philadelphia newspaper publisher. “We never came up here. There was hostility on campus toward African Americans and non-white.”

By joining forces with staff members of Utambuzi, a newsletter for Black students, their advisor the late Louis Reyes Rivera was successfully able to establish a black student voice within Tech News.

“Louis had the idea to go after the Tech News,” said Mondesire. “I had started Utambuzi but that didn’t have the campus distribution that we wanted. So Louie said let’s take that and meld it into Tech News.”

With a staff of eager journalists and a desire to have the issues they cared about heard, members of The Paper went on to break some of the biggest stories of the day. In 1970, The Paper broke the story of the student takeover of the CCNY campus in protest against the U.S. invasion of Cambodia. Student journalist David Friedlander wrote the Attica prison uprising in 1970. several weeks before the New York Times. 

These days, Mondesire, Powell, Albert De Leon, Greg Holder, and Jeff Morgan still look back fondly on the early days of The Paper as the start of their respective careers and a lifelong friendship. “Being handed The Paper felt like we had literally been handed lemons with which we made some beautiful rich sweet lemonade every week,” said Powell. “We savored that to the point that all these years later we still get chills when we mention that word or the saying from Langston Hughes and all the rest.“






Congratulations to The Campus [update 4/20/2015]

Screen Shot 2015-03-09 at 4.28.45 PMThe Campus, our student-run newsmagazine online and in print, received a runner-up honor in the Northeast region’s Mark of Excellence Awards, presented by the Society of Professional Journalists. Our entry, The Silent Scream, looks at the underground epidemic of depression and suicide among college students recently highlighted in the New York Times. A team of journalism students told the story through a reported article, infographic, video and photographs. This special report was anchored by a package of deeply-felt first-person essays.
[On March 15, 2015, at the College Media Association conference in Manhattan, A Silent Scream was also the runner-up for a prestigious Big Apple Award in the multimedia category!]
In a sea of Harvard, Yale and Columbia, Aurea Gonzalez picked up our Mark of Excellence award. She managed our project, wrote two parts of it and appears in the photo. Other contributors: Marla Sanchez, Taylor Coleman, Anne Jean-Paul, Janis Jimenez and Dominique Dajer along with several photographers.

Our Journalism Instructor Breaks News — and Wins Awards! [update 4/20]

Screen Shot 2015-03-16 at 1.16.05 PMLast week, our journalism adjunct Andrea Bernstein nailed New Jersey governor Chris Christie (again) with her stinging report on the continuing “bridgegate” scandal. A series of emails she dug up in relation to the 2013 GW bridge lane closure cast serious doubt on Christie’s version of the truth. Andrea appeared on MSNBC on Sunday to talk about the story. (Click here to watch)

Andrea, a senior political reporter for WNYC, has been on the story from day one, except on Tuesday evenings when she teaches our Reporting and Writing course.

[Update: Professor Bernstein won a Peabody — broadcast journalism’s high honor —  for her reporting on Christie’s abuse of power.]

Listen to her WNYC investigation here.


Stuart Elliott — Former NY Times Ad Columnist Offers His Take

stuart elliottEarlier this month, Stuart Elliott, the New York Times’s advertising guru, took a buyout after 23 years at the paper. Now that he has more free time, Elliott, who Ad Age called “massively influential,” stopped by City College recently to entertain our MCA students with his wit and wisdom. 

Journalism student Jose Cardoso covered Elliott’s “Lunch with Leaders” presentation. 

Last month, former New York Times columnist Stuart Elliott held a special Q&A presentation in Shepard Hall at The City College of New York. He spoke to the audience a little bit about himself, answered student questions, and discussed the future of the digital media.

First things first: Why did Elliott leave the Times? “The buyout offers were structured so that the longer you had worked at The New York Times the more lucrative the buyout offer was,” said Elliott. “For somebody like myself who had worked at the Times for more than 20 years, it turned out to be like they say in ‘The Godfather’ an offer that I couldn’t refuse.”

Elliott has seen many changes in the media industry over the years, including a new generation of “digital natives.” “That generation is growing up without ever having known a day without tablets,” he said.

Even an expert like Elliott isn’t sure where the advertising-marketing business is headed in five years.  “I’m a lousy predictor,” he said. “I thought aol would be like the biggest thing.”

Still, he added: “Technology is going to continue to remake the advertising and marketing business whether it’s the agencies and how they make ads or how the clients want the adds created. There’s going to be much more of an involvement with public relations.”

He offered some parting advise to the roomful of students. “Start putting down some digital footprints,” said Elliott, “but be very careful about what you do and say in the social media. “Clean up your act kids!”

You Better Work! — Check Out Our Summer Course


Interested in some of New York City’s hottest industries? Want to have fun, improve your writing and earn three journalism elective credits? Experience our summer class, MCA 31109: Food & Fashion, Arts & Culture: Covering New York’s Hottest Industries. It’s offered Summer Session 1: June 1 – June 25, 2015 (11:30 AM – 2 PM)

This course will use New York as a lab for reporting and writing about some of the industries that fascinate everyone. Through “beat” journalism, it provides a fun and practical way to improve writing, build digital literacy, strengthen photography skills, learn new research strategies and explore New York. Students will write feature stories, profiles, reviews, Q&As, how-to articles and blog posts. Guest speakers will share first-hand experience and insider information and offer down-to-earth career advice.

Screen Shot 2015-03-14 at 10.37.28 AMOur instructor knows her stuff. Julia Chance is a former editor at Essence and the Source magazines, with extensive experience covering fashion, beauty, food and lifestyle topics. She is the author or co-author of four books, and contributes frequently to both consumer and industry publications.