When you’re “more seasoned…”

November 9, 2009 at 12:12 pm Leave a comment

An email correspondent recently wrote to say that the “elephant in the room” for many journalism job-seekers these days is that, to put it politely, they’re not as young as they used to be…Well, who doesn’t fit that description? Yet as with any demographic class that the federal government protects from job discrimination — age, race, gender, disability — more subtle and yet pervasive discrimination is often the real threat.

So if you are 40 or older (the age at which age-discrimination laws kick in) or especially in your 50s or 60s, how can you more effectively compete for good positions in this brutal job market with all those whipper-snappers out there?

A good first step, recruiters and hiring experts say, is to consider the negative stereotypes that those in hiring positions often have of older (I prefer to think “more seasoned”) workers, especially veteran journalists. That will make it easier to combat them. On my list of stereotypes would be: backward-thinking, slow, out of gas, reluctant to adapt to new technology, stuck in the past, in love with the “old” forms of journalism, stubborn, annoyed with having to report to younger bosses, old-looking and cranky.

Now on to some tips from these experts on what those 40 and older can do to combat subtle forms of age discrimination in the hiring process:

*Play to your strengths. Turn the stereotypes on their head and focus on what you bring — which younger workers may not: experience of all stripes (with different types of media, with adapting to new technology over decades, with different types of newsrooms and different types of bosses), a broad range of knowledge, persistence, strong contacts and sources, a strong work ethic, and a solid track record. You will likely have a good set of references gained over the years — use them well.

*Have others who the hiring manager may respect — and if he or she is significantly younger, may be in more of their age cohort — help you to fight any stereotypes about you and your candidacy. Among your references, list some of their contemporaries who you have managed or mentored in previous jobs who can speak to your strengths. Coming from them, this may be an important reference.

*Don’t replicate what you’ve always done in a previous job search. More seasoned job hunters sometimes rely on what they’ve done in the past — such as sending out a ton of resumes or cold-calling news organizations. These days, a multi-pronged approach — networking in person and through social-networking sites; responding to openings listed on on-line job boards; seeking contract and free-lance work that could turn into a job — is necessary. And don’t just network with those from previous jobs — seek to network with people at various stages of their career.

*Don’t call undo attention to your age. Make sure your resume isn’t listing 20-year-old positions, and don’t bother listing the years of your degrees if they were obtained decades ago. Try to present as youthful an appearance as possible when interviewing (see former blog post on “Looking the Part” for some tips.) Don’t mention your college-age or grown kids or grandchildren to hiring managers; it isn’t relevant anyway. Emphasize the top half of your resume as recruiters are pressed for time.

*Yet don’t try to look or act significantly younger on purpose. Some job seekers may try — through appearance or things they say in interviews — not to “act their age,” and this could backfire badly. Also, hiring managers as a whole are starting to embrace the concept of “generational diversity,” wherein they accept the fact that hiring individuals of different cohorts actually benefits an organization. So while you shouldn’t emphasize your age, neither should you try to run away from it.

*As always a few job leads to add…The first two are from POLITICO media news items that could send some hunters in the right direction!

*Looks like the following move is resulting in a “news editor” opening at Salon:

Salon’s Schone heads to ABC

Mark Schone, who’s been with Salon since 2006, is joining Brian Ross’s investigative unit as managing editor of ABCNews.com Blotter.

“Mark is a first-rate investigative reporter who has also proven himself to be one of the top editors working in online journalism today,” said Ross told ABC. “We are thrilled that he is joining our team.”

Schone had been executive news editor at Salon, which now has a  job opening listed for “news editor.”

*And Tucker Carlson’s soon-to-launch Web site is hiring. (Several of these jobs had been posted — and then some removed — from journalismjobs.com, so it probably bears some research as to which jobs are actually open.)

Tucker’s hiring for new site

Tucker Carlson has been uncharacteristically quiet when it comes to his forthcoming conservative online news site, The Daily Caller.

Although Carlson hasn’t mentioned any hires since first talking about the site in May, I’ve learned that there’s at least one so far. Moira Bagley, who’s worked for the RNC, Roll Call, and earlier this year, New Majority (before it became FrumForum), has signed on as an editor.

Carlson confirmed the news to POLITICO but declined to discuss other aspects of the site which is reportedly launching later this month. It’s most often dubbed as a right-leaning Huffington Post or Talking Points Memo.

Last week, Carlson put up an ad for an executive editor, and the site is also looking to hire some bloggers and reporters—one who’s expected to cover the White House. Over the past few years, conservative sites have lagged behind liberal ones when it comes to original reporting that gets filtered into the mainstream. (Andrew Breitbart is helping to change that).

TPM got attention in the Beltway on Friday when it joined the White House press pool—further evidence that Josh Marshall’s site is both beefing up its DC presence and increasingly recognized as a peer with legacy media outlets in the briefing room. Salon joined earlier this year, and I’ve been told that HuffPo also has plans to get in the pool.

The Daily Caller, on Facebook, describes itself as “a comprehensive news site, providing original reporting, constantly updated links to the latest news, analysis of current events, satire, research on current policy issues, columns from thought leaders, and Congressional Member reviews.”

While no specific mention there of a right perspective, I’ve heard Carlson has been reaching out to some conservative writers around town. Still, that doesn’t mean he’s not contacting non-partisan journalists, too.

If looking for conservative scribes, Carlson will have to contend with the Washington Examiner, which has been scooping up right-leaning reporters and opinion columnists all year. There’s all the Washington Times, which launched an opinion site last month, The Conservatives.com.

But the Daily Caller — overseen by both Carlson and former Cheney aide Neil Patel — will have some money to throw around while building a completely new staff. PaidContent reported this week that the site has $3 million in seed funding coming in from conservative businessman Foster Friess.

*And the next two positions are listed on journalismjobs.com, so if you’re interested, get going and beat the competition!

*The National Retail Federation needs an editor/production manager in its D.C. office:

Company: National Retail Federation
Seeking Dynamic Copy Editor/Production
Washington , District of Columbia
Job Status: Full-time
Salary: Not Specified
Ad Expires:
December 11, 2009
Job ID: 1120635
Website: http://nrf.com

STORES Media, the publishing and communications group of the National Retail Federation — the world’s largest retail trade association — is seeking a dynamic Copy Editor/Production Manager. In this position, the candidate will copy edit, fact-check and proofread all editorial, advertising and promotional material generated by and for the various outlets of STORES Media and manage the production of Stores Magazine and related titles, including schedules, page and ad materials trafficking and the flow of editorial photography.

The ideal candidate will be a team player with a degree in English, journalism or a related field and a minimum of 4-6 years editorial and publication production experience. Strong editing, proofreading and organizational skills, as well as proficiency with PDF and photo editing tools, are required.

National Retail Federation offers a friendly and collaborative staff, plus a comprehensive benefits package that includes a focus on work/life satisfaction and an Employee Assistance Program, Domestic Partner Benefits and 401k with match. Salary up to low $60s.

To apply, submit resume and cover letter with salary requirements to Human Resources, National Retail Federation, 325 7th Street, NW, Ste. 1100, Washington, DC 20004, fax to 1.866.223.5393 or email hr@nrf.com. EOE

Find us on the web: http://nrf.com and http://www.stores.org

*And finally, IFES is looking for an editor in chief in D.C.

Company: IFES
Editor in Chief
Washington, District of Columbia
Job Status: Full-time
Salary: $50,000 to $60,000
Ad Expires:
December 11, 2009
Job ID: 1120617

Position Title: Editor in Chief Location: District of Columbia Division: Program Management Department: MENA

Project Description: The Editor in Chief is a specialized position at IFES. As a senior member of the team the Editor in Chief will manage the publication of an online resource created by IFES for those interested in Middle East politics. Job Responsibilities: Under the supervision of the Program Manager, the Editor in Chief: • Manages, assigns and approves all content for the website; • Oversees the collection and editing of news articles for the website; • Tracks current events; • Contributes to the outreach and marketing strategy for the website; • Assists with recruitment of qualified website contributors; • Manages the editorial staff; • Contributes to the development of the website and other initiatives; and • Other duties as assigned. Qualifications: • BS/BA with 10+ years experience as an editor/writer for a media publication; • Middle East Language skills preferred including Arabic, French, Persian and Hebrew; • Experience with online publications, social media and web based resources. Other: • Strong writing and editing skills; • Excellent management and team-building skills; • Ability to prioritize, take direction, and handle varied tasks within deadlines; • Strong communicator, both verbally and in writing; • Collaborative, team oriented individual. Applying: Applications will be accepted online only, through the IFES website. To apply visit our careers website (http://www.ifes.org/careers.html). Then follow the instructions on how to upload your resume and answer prescreening questions.


Happy hunting!



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