Looking the part…

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

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 BeautyInDC.com — http://www.beautyindc.com 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:

* Start at the top — A good haircut is essential for men and women. Above all, you don’t want your hair falling in your face during the interview.

*Interviewers will be focused on your face for most of the interview, so do a mirror check before to make sure there’s no food in your teeth and for women, that your makeup isn’t smudged.

*Again for women, keep it natural when choosing eye shadow, lipstick and nail polish.

*Men should be freshly shaved. Beards and mustaches should be well-groomed.

*For both genders, nails need to be neat, cleaned and trimmed.

*A business suit in a basic color always works.  (Experts say dark suits are especially good when you are interviewing for a job in a serious area like economics or finance.) Try it on in advance and choose one that fits well and is flattering to your physique.  Check to make sure the suit isn’t too tight or gaping, and has no holes or stains. Look at yourself in a 3-way mirror to make sure it works in the back as well as the front.

*Empty your pockets so they’re not bulging with keys, wallets, etc.

*Polish your shoes, purse and portfolio.  Make sure shoes don’t have worn heels or scuff marks. For women, in D.C. (especially when it’s not summer) panty hose are a good idea — put on a new pair without any holes or runs. (Carry another new pair in your purse or briefcase just in case you snag them on the way over.)

*Be careful about visible body piercings and keep jewelry to a minimum, especially noisy jewelry that can distract from what you’re saying during the interview.

*When it comes to cologne and perfume, it’s probably better to skip it so you don’t go overboard. A no-fragrance or lightly fragranced body lotion is preferable. (Trust me on this one: Several months ago, as a recruiter, I interviewed a perfectly nice woman who was doused in perfume. It took me nearly an hour to air out my office afterward. Believe me, that’s not how you want to be remembered by a hiring manager!)

How far you want to go beyond the basics depends on time, budget and what feels right for your situation. For someone wants to go a little further in their appearance quest treatments like teeth whitening, a professional manicure, or makeup lesson and application might do the trick. Beyond those treatments are things like Botox, dermal fillers and lasers that will reduce or diminish lines and create a fresher appearance.  Older job seekers who are competing with younger workers for the same positions might decide to make the investment as part of their overall job-hunting strategy. Marilyn has some suggestions and deals at her site if you’re interested.

*Calling all women media entrepreneurs! Serious money is available from a grant through the McCormick Foundation in the world of news and information. Details are below:

$200,000 in grants for 8 women-led media startups

J-Lab: The Institute for Interactive Journalism at American University has received a $200,000 grant from the McCormick Foundation to fund eight women-led start-ups over the next two years that will generate new ideas in the world of news and information and model a spirit of journalistic entrepreneurship.


Under the new grant, a total of eight winners (four in 2010 and four in 2011) will be given $12,000 each in funding to launch their ideas and to blog about the process during the first year of their projects. The deadline for next year’s proposals is April 12, 2010.

Full details are on the McCormick site.

*And a quick-approaching deadline…If you want to apply for what sounds like an interesting (and free!)  Knight Center foreign policy seminar, the deadline for applications is today. You still have a few hours, so get going!

Global trends, social media: Workshop deadline looms

Deadline reminder: The Knight Center for Specialized Journalism invites applications from opinion writers for a seminar, “Challenges in Foreign Policy – and a Changing Media World,” December 1-4, 2009.

Applications must be received by Monday, October 26. Seminars are free.

This seminar will focus on covering the economy and multimedia reporting techniques.

Application information and all the details.

As always, there are a couple of job leads to mention:

*The first I’ve heard about from several places, and am including the journalismjobs.com listing as it is the fullest (with the link)…The opening is for a senior researcher with the Center for Independent Media in D.C.

Company: Center for Independent Media
Seeking Senior Researcher
Washington, District of Columbia
Job Status: Full-time
Salary: Negotiable
Ad Expires:
November 26, 2009
Job ID: 1113567
Website: http://washingtonindependent.com


The Center for Independent Media (CIM) seeks a high energy, organized individual to join the DC-based Washington Independent (TWI), a leading political news site. This individual will report to the Editor of TWI

Responsibilities Collect publicly available information on relevant topics and/or perform searches using Internet and online databases to identify and analyze public records; Identify newsworthy nuggets in primary source materials, summarize opportunities for reporters; Write and follow up on Freedom of Information Act requests; Maintain comfortable communications with public and private agencies for data collection; Analyze documents and quantitative data; Monitor media (print, television, and new media) and capture/edit that information for future use; Maintain and coordinate schedules of multiple public events and figures Work closely with journalists as part of a news gathering team; Handle additional projects as assigned by Editor.

Requirements College degree plus a minimum of three years proven experience in research and analysis; Strong analytical and research skills are essential; Knowledge of politics and policy; Experience working on political campaigns or as a political journalist; Previous experience working with video production; Extremely organized and detail oriented; Management Experience preferred; Ability to work well in fast paced situations. Salary is commensurate with experience. This is a full-time salaried position with benefits.

About the Center for Independent Media The Center for Independent Media is a non-profit and non-partisan organization that investigates and disseminates news that impacts public debate and advances the common good.  To accomplish its mission, the Center operates an independent online news network. Our reporting emphasizes the positive role of democratically elected government in securing the common good and social welfare, and the continuing benefits of our founding culture of egalitarian government by the people, for the people. For more about the Center for Independent Media, please visit http://www.newjournalist.org, and The Washington Independent at http://www.washingtonindependent.com

To Apply All interested applicants should e-mail their resume, cover letter with salary requirements, and references to applications@newjournalist.org referencing “Senior Researcher” in the subject line. Only completed resumes will be considered.

*The other sounds like an interesting opportunity for someone in public relations, marketing or communications who wants to work with a D.C.-based international research organization (unidentified). Several correspondents mentioned this and I’m sorry I don’t have a listing from the actual group, but journalismjobs.com again has the fullest listing:

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Company: Global Research Organization
International Non-Profit Seeking Savvy
Comnmunications Head
Washington, District of Columbia
Job Status: Full-time
Salary: Negotiable
Ad Expires:
November 20, 2009
Job ID: 1081464

A global research organization based in Washington, DC seeks a Director, Public and Media Relations to help lead the efforts to communicate the organization’s brand to a wide variety of audiences including: the international development community, private sector, donors and potential donors, related organizations and associations, policymakers, and a general public interested in empowering women and bringing an end to global poverty.

You will be responsible for managing the organization’s public and media relations efforts across top-tier national and international media outlets to raise awareness of our work and mission. The Director’s primary responsibility is to promote the organization through coordinated traditional public relations/communications, earned media relations and marketing programs, and new social media, blogger outreach, and advocacy and issues management as prescribed by ICRW’s strategic communications plan. The Director will also serve as a spokesperson for organization with the media (where needed and/or appropriate) and supervise select staff in External Relations.

Our ideal candidate will have a Bachelors degree in Public Relations, Marketing or a related field and seven (7) to ten (10) years experience as a communications professional, in the areas of media relations, public relations and/or marketing, with proven ability to cultivate and secure strategic media. Proven experience serving as a principal spokesperson and working with the media to secure required placements with proven skill in initiating and responding to media inquiries is essential. Experience in supporting project and account management, including measuring results of strategic plans and programs is required. Demonstrated track record in developing and implementing short- and long- term media, guerrilla marketing and public relations plans, and the ability to work effectively with senior management is also required. Nonprofit or nongovernmental organization and international development experience a plus. Proven relationships with existing media contacts and national/global media outlets is a major plus.

Strong writing, editing and verbal communication skills required, as well as highly evolved teamwork and strong time management skills. Computer literacy is required including a proficiency in Microsoft Office applications. Experience with Adobe software packages (including, Indesign, Photoshop, Illustrator and Acrobat) a plus.

Explore a career with an organization that offers a stimulating work environment, challenging and meaningful projects and the opportunity to work with international development professionals who are well-regarded in their fields of expertise.

If you feel your credentials are a match for our requirements, please submit a cover letter, resume, and writing sample and salary requirements as an e-mail attachment to Human Resources at careerchoices@comcast.net. Please indicate “Director PR&MR” in the subject line of email.

Happy hunting this work week!



Entry filed under: Uncategorized.

Some events and some leads A fine line between polite persistence and being a pest

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