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How She Got There: Constance C.R. White, Consulting Editor at OZY

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Name: Constance C.R. White 
Job Title: Consulting Editor at OZY
Website: www.ozy.com

What does your current job entail? Is there such a thing as a typical day?

Constance C.R. White: Currently I’m a consulting editor with OZY and my job entails writing stories, recruiting writers and developing concepts. A typical workday first includes reporting. It might be doing a formal or informal interview or write-up on any number of things. It also involves checking a lot of emails and going to meetings of different kinds. I might also be out at events or speaking about any given number of topics, like OZY or recruiting.

What is the best part of your job?

CW: I love to read, so I think the best part of the job for me is reading about what’s going on and reading good stories. To do my job, I have to know what’s happening and I have to read a lot, whether it’s reading what’s on OZY or reading about what our competitors are doing. It can even be just reading to learn more about the world and what would make a good story.

What has been the most surreal moment of your career thus far?

CW: One was when I was consulting on a project and I had the opportunity to meet and work with Laila Ali. I was very impressed by her, but what was surreal about it was thinking about how far I had come that I had the opportunity to work with the daughter of someone whom I consider to be one of the greatest Americans of the last century.

Muhammad Ali is someone that so many of us admire; he was more than a sports hero, and he’s revered around the world for his courage and for being at the top of his game. And it was so surreal to me to meet his daughter who just seems so much like him. It was just so surreal to me.

What do you look for when considering hiring someone?

CW: The first thing I look at is matching the job skills to the job at hand. So that seems pretty obvious, but it’s helpful for people to know and to indicate when applying for a position.

The second thing I look for is potential. It’s obviously hard to judge someone in an interview setting, especially if you don’t know that person well or at all, but there are a few touchstones to look at. First, I look at the work someone’s done before. Has that person had internships? Has he or she volunteered? When someone says [he or she is] interested in a particular industry, you look to see if there’s evidence of that. Additionally, has the applicant done research [on his or her own] to display in an interview setting? Do the applicant really know about this business?

Next, does the person has to have an interest in the company [he or she] is applying to? Can an applicant speak to what is great about the company and what can improve?

Finally, I look for personal character. Is this someone who is going to work hard, be a team player, and have enthusiasm for the job at hand?
 
What advice would you give to a 20-something with similar aspirations?

CW: I’m a big believer in internships, so I very much would recommend that college women get internships in journalism. If you’re early in your career, try to work part-time or freelance at the very least. You really give yourself a leg up with the competition if you have experience, and you get to show that you’re truly interested in the industry.

Second, make sure you can read and write well. It sounds obvious, but if you’re going into journalism, whether you’re writing on the Internet or editing a newspaper, good reading and writing are still essential. They’re cornerstones of what we do. You’re called to multitask when you’re a journalist, so it really helps to know what you’re doing.

The other thing I would say is that it’s important to be well versed in social media. Nowadays you want to be involved with it, even if you become a senior executive. Doing it now helps you know what’s going on, and it helps you promote your work. 

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