You’re on target about shorter, punchier paragraphs and sentences. I’m not aware of your college internships, but two to three such internships are valuable for honing writing skills and for resumes. In college, I did two journalism internships; today’s journalism and PR students often do three, sometimes without pay.
More to the point: Formal “English” writing and more casual “journalism” writing are different animals. I once taught both English and journalism in high school and, believe me, there are major differences. What I call “stuffy” English writing has a certain market; however, more casual journalism writing has a much larger one.
I’ve long written as people speak. For instance, when it comes to contractions, people seldom speak, “Cannot,” “I did not,” “It is interesting,” “They would like to know.” For me, not using contractions in writing is burdensome for readers, lazy or not. (Know I’ll get criticized for this opinion.) If you were to vocally present your essay, would the words be the same as those you’ve written?
Won’t pay much, but might want to get a reporting job with a local weekly community newspaper.
Hope this helps in some way.