Layoffs at newpapers, magazines and websites dump more candidates into the job market. Some of these are absorbed as writers and editors resolve to control their own destiny and be their own masters (freelance) or finally get into a line of work that pays (PR). Retiring wordsmiths are replaced by whole new classfuls of bright-eyed graduates looking for that foot in the editorial door--willing to work harder, unencumbered by family, able to survive on a smaller paycheck, while experienced candidates may offer a more settled lifestyle, extensive background and family to support as a reason to stick around.
Whether you're starting or seasoned, here's a reminder that getting into the queues for available jobs can mean creativity in the job search process. Here are some suggestions for improving the odds:
- Job search is like sales -- it's a numbers game. The more applications you make, the better your odds of getting an interview.
- Be prepared -- a good resume, a knock-out cover letter http://www.savvymiss.com/career-woman/career-advice/9-to-5-grind-archive/article/how-to-write-a-great-cover-letter-292/news-browse/5/sspn//c7613c060b.html, prepared references, interview clothes, a prepared approach for your interview.
- Be your own best PR person. Without boring others or droning on and on about yourself, find ways to demonstrate and talk about the things you shine at, from your cover letter to conversations at family reunions.
- Brush up on job search skills -- here's a book that I've recommended often. (It includes ways to answer the 100 toughest interview questions) http://www.amazon.com/Knock-Dead-2008-Ultimate-Search/dp/1598691651/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1202272121&sr=1-1
- Look the usual places -- In addition to employer job boards, company sites (check the HR department for posted jobs) popular journalism jobs sites include journalismjobs http://journalismjobs.com/, mediabistro http://mediabistro.com/joblistings/ , editor & publisher http://edpub.careercast.com/js.php?qInd=vnuuscategoryjournalism.
- Thinking outside the lines can mean looking further afield. True, New York City has huge concentrations of jobs in publishing. There are also a lot of candidates subsisting as baristas at Starbucks while they hope for even editorial crumbs. Check out state press assocation links (you can start here http://www.texaspress.com/StatePressLinks.html) to find jobs outside your region.
- Network like crazy: Ask around. Join writers groups, online forums like mediabistro.com's http://mediabistro.com/bbs/ and associations. Mingle! Get to know other writers. Get informational interviews at places you'd like to work. And be helpful -- bring something to put on the table; networking is a two-way street. http://www.rileyguide.com/network.html
- Don't be too proud to do what you need to do to survive while you look. Use some other marketable skill. http://www.monster.com/ Waiting tables and all other kinds of stop-gap work have their own dignity as you support yourself.
- In the meantime, demonstrate your ability to master technology, as well as an area of expertise, by blogging about an interest at http://www.blogger.com/. See my list of articles on searchwarp.com here. http://searchwarp.com/Author129511.htm Don't forget a succinct, upbeat bio about your skills and background.
- Add experience to your portfolio with volunteer work within your field.
- And get your freelance going by looking for publications needing articles in your area of expertise, or in need of your ability to write about anything. Study up on freelancing here. http://www.absolutewrite.com/
J. Louise Larson http://writingporch.blogspot.com/