Tips for Interviews and Portfolios

30 04 2014

By Nicole Kiefert (@nicole_kiefert)

Graduating can be exciting, but the thought of entering the real world can be terrifying. What do you do with your free time without homework? How do you find a job? How do you become an adult? Luckily, UW Oshkosh helps to prepare students for post-graduation real world situations.

With services to help you find and apply for jobs, places to get your resume and portfolios critiqued, and mock interviews to prepare you for potential job interviews, UWO wants you to succeed.

I talked to Ben Bissett, one of the students who participated in the mock interviews in the Student Success Center on April 17. He sat down with two employers, one from Milwaukee and one from Oshkosh, and went through the interviewing process as if it were real. Although the mock interviews may not be for a real job, they are still a beneficial experience and the proper amount of preparation should be put into the process. Bissett said he prepared for the interview, doing research, updating his resume, LinkedIn profile and portfolio.

Even if the mock interview does not result in getting you a job, it gives you a great experience before you graduate and interview in a real situation.

“It was great to get experience,” Bissett said. “I’m graduating in May, so meeting with two people who are actually involved with the hiring for their companies is a great experience.”

Here are some tips for portfolios and the interviewing process.


If you are applying for a job that requires some creativity, such as public relations, editorial, advertising and social media, it is good to bring a portfolio to interviews. Not only does a portfolio expand your resume, it gives your potential employer proof of your creative abilities.

Your portfolio should contain your resume, a list of three to six references, letters of recommendation, any academic awards won and, of course, your work. You should have about 15-25 pages in your portfolio, and make sure to keep it updated. The best or most recent work should be at the front for the employer to see right away.


Make sure you do your research. The interviewer could ask what you like about the company, what drew you there, or why you want to work there. Be prepared to answer anything the person might ask, and remember that they know the answers so you can’t make one up.

Plan to sell yourself to the employer. The person does not know all the amazing things you have accomplished, so now is your time to tuck away the modesty and do a little bragging. Pick three to five main selling points about your skills, training, personality, or experiences, and be ready to talk them up. Be ready to answer questions about your strengths and weaknesses, and always state how you are overcoming your weaknesses.

Dress professionally. No one is going to hire someone dressed in sweatpants or stained shirts. Wear solid, dark, neutral colors like black, dark grey, navy or brown. Men should wear a suit and women should wear a pant or skirt suit. Shirts should be conservative colors, fits, and necklines.There should be minimal jewelry for both genders, and shoes should be polished and match your belt.

Be on time. Showing up right at 9 a.m. might be OK for class, but employers are not going to want someone who barely strolls in on time. They are looking for someone who is prompt and dependable.

Even if you had to wake up at the crack of dawn for your interview and you are feeling kind of groggy, show enthusiasm. If you are upbeat, confident and courteous, you will have a better chance than if you are falling asleep in your chair asking where the nearest coffee shop is located.

You should send a thank-you note to the employer the day after your interview, expressing your appreciation to him or her for taking the time to meet with you.


A Day in The Life at the Advance Titan

18 04 2014

by Andrea Larson (@andrea_larson_) and Nicole Kiefert (@nicole_kiefert)

Did you know that the UW Oshkosh student newspaper, The Advance-Titan, won the Wisconsin Newspaper Association’s Student Press Excellence Award in 2012 and 2013? This is well deserved by the A-T staff because every Wednesday night they work to make sure a new issue is released every Thursday.

The A-T has existed since 1893 and continues to keep students and staff updated on what the campus and community are doing. It takes a lot of people to make the paper run, and here are three individuals who work at the A-T and some of their responsibilities.

Page Editor

erin and brennaThere are four different types of page editors: news, campus connections, sports and opinion. There are meetings every Monday between both the entire staff and the specific branch of editors and their writers. On Mondays the editors discuss story assignments with their writers. On Wednesdays the editors work in the A-T workroom, setting up pages and proofreading.

Assistant news editor Scott Bellile said his favorite part is being able to take the more artistic approach in journalism. “It’s pretty fun to take on this more artsy aspect to journalism,” Bellile said. “Having your own say and what you think is a good front page picture is cool. When it comes out on Thursday morning and you look at it and can be proud to say that it’s something you built in a night.”

Copy Desk

The copy desk is a group of students who are responsible for reading over stories and checking the AP style and grammar. Each story isn’t fully proofread until it has been viewed by at least three members of the copy desk. The pages then go back to the page editors, who make the changes and send them back to the copy desk. This exchange continues until hopefully there are no mistakes left on the page.

Copy chief Alissa Knop’s favorite part of being on the copy desk is the interaction between the editors.
Knop said, “I like that it’s different from the other sections in that I get to work with all my editors instead of the writing editors never see them except for the meetings.”

Editor-in-Chiefjes and brenna

When landing the role as editor-in-chief, be prepared to take on many responsibilities. The editor-in-chief is in the A-T office almost every day of the week besides weekends and rarely on Thursday and Fridays. Monday and Tuesday night responsibilities include making sure the other A-T members on staff are on track and their duties are going smoothly, and to address any problems they might have.

On Wednesdays, the editor-in-chief is in the office all day until the paper is ready to be printed. Responsibilities include:

  • Send printing company the amount of print for that day; what color and how many pages they need printed.
  • Walk around to see if there are any major problems and jump in to help.
  • Rewrite stories or rework pages.
  • Keep in contact with the web staff, and send the payroll for the week.

Despite all the responsibilities of the editor-in-chief, he or she will gain experience in all the roles it takes to create a newspaper. The editor-in-chief for the A-T, Jessica Kuderer, shares her favorite part of the job. Kuderer said, “I like being able to float around and help each section, bounce ideas off of them and get, I guess, a broader focus on everything than just the news, which I was heavily invested in before.”

If you are interested in working for The Advance-Titan, send an email to and ask about the opportunities available to you.

Who To Follow on Twitter

10 04 2014

By: Andrea Larson (@andrea_larson_)

Twitter is not used just for socialization; it is also way to stay connected to the people and companies that will keep you informed. Twitter is important for journalism students to master because knowing how to connect with your audience in new ways, bringing attention to you work, enhance your personal brand and finding new ways, trend and resources, will impress your employers and get you noticed.

Now is a good time to start developing the mindset of what employers will want to see on your Twitter account. Your posts do not have to be all business; showing your personality is important too. But now that employers are starting to look at job applicants’ social media accounts, showing that you know how to conduct yourself in a professional manner will help you stand out.

Here are 10 people and companies that I think offer an ideal mix for students to follow. Within the 10 are information from public relations and advertising experts, journalists, and media and technology experts.

1) PR DailyOfficial feed for;  it is a one-stop shop for news on PR, marketing, social media & more.

  • Followers: 45.7K
  • Tweets: 6,209

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2) Ad WeekThe leading source for news, insight and community for marketers, media and agencies.

  • Followers: 231K
  • Tweets; 22.5K

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3) Social Media TodayPublishing ad distribution of great posts by the world’s best thinkers on social media best practices, tools and social marketing.

  • Followers: 299K
  • Tweets: 55.3K

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4) 10,000 WordsMultimedia journalism blog; where journalism and technology meet.

  • Followers: 36.9K
  • Tweets: 5,376

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5) Vadim LavrusikPublic Content Manager for Facebook; working on improving content features. Former professor  at Columbia, social at Mashable  and NY Times.

  • Followers: 31.6K
  • Tweets: 16.4K

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6) Callie SchweitzerDirector of Digital Innovation at TIME, former Director of marketing and communications at Vox Media Inc., former deputy publisher at TPM; loves news and technology. shares the latest news and facts in the journalism world.

  • Followers: 56.1K
  • Tweets: 58.8K

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7) Associated PressNews, discussion and behind-the-scenes insight from The Associated Press. Managed 24/7 by a team of editors based in New York.

  • Followers: 3.11M
  • Tweets: 76.6K

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8) Student Press LawThe Student Press Law Center is an advocate for student free press rights and provides free legal help and information to students and educators

  • Followers: 6,910
  • Tweets: 5,121

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9) Masable JobsTech, digital and social media job openings, innovative resume and interview tips, and occasional workplace humor.

  • Followers: 43.7 K
  • Tweets: 5,977


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10) Poynter: School for journalism and democracy. The Poynter Institute focuses on what is happening within journalism and uncovers fascinating stories in the process.

  • Followers: 105K
  • Tweets: 36K

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Start following and staying updated on the latest news and findings. Comment below if you have any suggestions on people or places to follow or share your favorite from the suggestions above.

Flipboard: The Interactive App to Keep You Informed

8 04 2014

By: Andrea Larson (@andrea_larson_)

College life can be hectic with all the activities and schoolwork students are juggling, and staying current with the latest news sometimes is not on top of the priority list. Thanks to social media sites, staying up-to-date is getting easier. And with more applications being designed, there are ways to stay connected to trending stories and news. I want to share one with you because I have fallen in love with it.

Flipboard is a way to discover, read, collect and share news you care about. It is an application you can personalize to include your favorite social networks, publications, blog articles and topics to stay connected and informed on the things that interest you the most.

How Flipboard works

After downloading the app and creating a free account, you choose categories you want to show up on your Flipboard. The categories house the latest articles and publications that are newsworthy. The categories you choose will show up on a virtual, interactive magazine for you to easily flip through. You can choose to include social networking sites like Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and more, which also will show up one your Flipboard.

Example of my Flipboard on my phone

Example of my Flipboard on my phone

If you don’t find a category you are looking for or want to focus on a specific topic, you have the option to search anything from hashtags to websites to further narrow the information.

You have the option to create your own magazine(s), outside your Flipboard, with the content you liked the most so you can revisit them anytime. You can create multiple magazines with different topics and discussions.

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How to navigate your Flipboard


Where is Flipboard available to download? It can be downloaded straight to your smart phone or tablet:

  • Apple app store
  • Google play
  • Windows store
  • Blackberry world

Use Flipboard as a widget or profile badge to share your Flipboard on your website or blog to promote your findings and increase your traffic on the web.

Why Download the App?

As students pursuing a career in journalism, PR, advertising and other areas in a media-driven society, knowing what is happening around you is important. Consider downloading Flipboard so you can stay connected and push out compeling content.

NEWSPA Preview

7 04 2014

by Nicole Kiefert (@nicole_kiefert)

The annual spring conference of the Northeastern Wisconsin Scholastic Press Association, or as it is more commonly known around here, NEWSPA, is this Wednesday, April 9. Here is a brief run-down of what to expect.

NEWSPA is one of three statewide organizations for high school journalists. The UW Oshkosh Department of Journalism sponsors the conference, and faculty and students participate in some sessions.

There are impressive speakers with helpful information for prospective journalists in any area of journalism. This year there are two presenters coming from out of state to speak at the conference.

For the keynote panel session, all four of the participants are working at impressive jobs, having gotten to where they are before age 30. The speakers will share ideas and insights of how today’s students can get their dream job, and get it soon.

NEWSPA has three time periods with 40-minute sessions for a total of 40 sessions throughout the day. Speakers will cover an array of topics from Taking Your Newspaper From Print to Online, to Photoshop Tips and Tricks. The sessions will include pointers for students to be successful both in college and in getting internships.

The conference also conducts high school newspaper and yearbook competitions judged by professionals. There were more than 600 entries this year with 300 first-, second- and third-place awards being presented in the closing ceremonies. The judges provide feedback so the students can learn and improve in the future.

NEWSPA can also benefit the students of UWO by giving them the opportunity to meet professionals in their field and learn their secrets to success. This also gives them the chance at building relationships and possible networking for the future.

The 2014 NEWSPA conference sessions on Wednesday will be in Reeve Memorial Union. Registration begins at 7:30 a.m.