Archive for October, 2009

Staying positive through avoidance

I’ve paid so much attention lately to “do’s” that I thought, for a change, it would be useful to get some advice from career experts and a psychologist about some things to avoid while job hunting. The goal is to stay focused and upbeat so the general rule is to stay away from those activities and people that are likely to distract and depress.

Their tips, and some of my coping strategies, are to avoid: (more…)


October 30, 2009 at 3:41 pm Leave a comment

Networking tips from a pro

Recruiters and career experts agree — and successful job seekers can attest — that most jobs are not landed through list serves, ads or job fairs but through contacts and networking. We hear it all the time. Okay, it’s true. But how do you network in a way that leaves you some time to actually apply for jobs, follow up on leads and go to interviews?

I decided to turn to an expert and ask for some detailed advice on how journalists — who already know a lot of people — can most effectively network to land a job. I chose Bill Stokes because he is a D.C. networking guru; he’s an executive recruiter and also chairman of the Washington Network Group. (Here’s the plug and link: (more…)

October 29, 2009 at 12:00 pm Leave a comment

Getting the most out of your references

Another big issue in the job-hunt world is references: when to offer them, how many to list and who to list — especially for veteran journalists who have a lot of choices.

Here are some tips gleaned from recruiters and from my own experience: (more…)

October 28, 2009 at 10:40 am Leave a comment

A fine line between polite persistence and being a pest

When to contact a hiring manager and how often is one of those “elephants in the room” that job hunters think a great deal about but no one really discusses. For job-seeking journalists, it can be a vexing problem, especially if in your
former position at a well-respected news organization your calls and emails were returned pronto.

Now it’s hurry up and wait — having to be ready to spring into interview mode when the organization calls, but often waiting days or weeks between the initial expression of interest and follow-up. And once the interview occurs, you can wait again for another set of interviews or an offer. And some hiring managers, obviously, are better at staying in touch and acting like human beings than others…

Here are a few tips from recruiters and career experts to help you from becoming that job-candidate pest that everyone wants to avoid but still allow you to remain assertive and proactive in your search: (more…)

October 27, 2009 at 11:05 am Leave a comment

Looking the part…

Once you’ve done all the hard work to land an interview for an actual open position, done your research on the organization and prepared good questions, you’re still not finished. It’s appearance preparation time! Though for many journalists (myself included) this falls into the category of who-has-time-for-such-nonsense??, we ignore our appearance at our own peril.

First, there’s the old saw: (why are all the job-hunting cliches true?) “You never get another chance to make a first impression.” Recruiters and hiring managers make subconscious, snap judgments about job candidates, and besides being on time and prepared, looking the part for the job is essential to making that on-the-spot connection. Also, ultimately hiring managers want to be able to “see” you as being in the job — if they can’t  picture you fitting in at the news organization, they likely won’t go beyond the interview.

Fortunately, there are some relatively simple things you can do (and more complicated ones if you wish) to spiff up your appearance — you’re going for polished and professional, this is D.C., not L.A. For some advice on this, I turned to my friend Marilyn Thompson, a well-known Washington radio and TV personality, who also operates a Web site, aptly named — who offered some good tips. As she points out, while appearance may be skin deep, your grooming and wardrobe choices can reflect your confidence, motivation and professionalism.

Some general guidelines that will help you look the part: (more…)

October 26, 2009 at 3:10 pm Leave a comment

Some events and some leads

Today’s post will be an abbreviated one, but I have a few events and a couple of job leads to mention.  And please be in touch about successes in job-hunting land!

*The first event is an invitation from the good folks at SmartBrief, which is launching a new SmartBrief on Your Career in November. They are hosting a happy-hour event on Nov. 19 in D.C. to celebrate. They thought readers of this blog might benefit from the chance to mingle with recruiters and career experts. The link to sign up follows: (more…)

October 23, 2009 at 9:50 pm Leave a comment

Late-in-the-week Grab Bag…

A grab bag of items today — some thoughts about courses, more info on the IRS re out-of-work vs. self-employed workers, a thank you, and a couple of leads!

*One of the questions a laid-off or bought-out journalist is going to get in an interview is this: What have you been doing since you left your news organization? (I promise you that you’ll be asked this, even if it has only been a few weeks). The wrong answer is “just” job-hunting (though we all know job-hunting is a full-time job). As discussed in yesterday’s post, free-lance work is a good way to stay current. Another may be volunteering (a topic for a future post). And another is brushing up your skills — especially digital and technical skills — by taking courses. That could impress future employers as well as give you a chance to learn some new things.

Unless you’re willing to foot the hefty bill for college courses, though, a good affordable alternative might be online and multiday in-person courses offered through journalism programs and non-profits. The following is a few I know about that offer quality courses at little or no cost — please send other suggestions for future posts!

*The Donald W. Reynolds Center for Business Journalism housed at Arizona State University in Phoenix (and whose Web site is offers a bevy of online courses (some one day, others weeklong) on business, economics and financial topics for working journalists. And they’re free. Below is an example of an upcoming online seminar: (more…)

October 22, 2009 at 9:21 pm Leave a comment

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