Giving of your time while job hunting

November 25, 2009 at 4:29 pm 2 comments

It seems appropriate to focus on volunteering on this day before Thanksgiving. Career experts often recommend that job seekers — especially those who aren’t engaged in free-lance projects — volunteer with worthwhile organizations to help fill their time, provide a positive focus and help others who may be in much worse straits. Volunteering can be a positive, feel-good distraction from the often lonely, emotionally draining work of job hunting.

Yet experts caution that job seekers shouldn’t go into a volunteer experience expecting too much — especially that it could lead to a full-time job. Though the networking that occurs through volunteering can help you expand contacts and may indirectly lead to a job, don’t put too much pressure upon the experience or you could end up viewing it as just another burden in your already burdened job-searching life.

Some tips from career and volunteering experts on how to give of your time — and get something positive back — while job hunting:

*Find a good fit in terms of an organization and your schedule. Start small; offer a few hours a week of your time at a point in the week that makes sense for your schedule. (It won’t benefit the organization or you if you cancel on a regular basis.)  Look for organizations that could benefit from your skills, both as a journalist (editing a newsletter, helping with literacy efforts, organizing a book drive) and other talents you may have (sewing, cooking, handiness with tools or even just being good with kids or animals). The Washington area has a wide range of organizations that happily accept volunteers. A good way to start would be to go to the Corporation for National and Community Service’s Web site,  — — which then takes you to,(  asking for your city and what you’d like to do to help out.

*Use the opportunity as a way to network and create “unscripted” networking opportunities. Networking experts say that the connections made through these kinds of situations can be very valuable as they can be more natural than networking at cocktail parties and job fairs. Follow up with the contacts you make and add them to your more established network.

*Give of your time in a way you enjoy and likely won’t have a chance to do once you land a full-time job. View this as an added bonus of having a more flexible schedule for a while, and the experience will likely be more enjoyable. Many parents volunteer at their kids’ schools while job hunting, it gives them a chance to give back to an important institution in their lives and community, and often schools (especially middle and high schools with school newspapers and journalism classes) are grateful for help from experienced journalists. (Just remember to let the kids be in charge of the student paper; you’re there in an advisory role!) I know several job hunters who are turning their love of animals into a volunteer experience — one is volunteering with a pet adoption group and another just started giving some time to a horse rescue center. Neither had time with a full-time job and commute to do this and is relishing the opportunity.

*Certainly use the experience as a way to fill in gaps on your resume and be open to job opportunities that may result from volunteering, but keep your expectations low on that front. Volunteering professionals are often wary of job seekers looking to them for “retraining” and using this as a mid-career internship of sorts. Give of your time in a generous way without necessarily expecting a payback and you’ll likely have a more successful experience. Also, don’t drop the organization once you fill up your time with free-lance work or if you land a full-time job. Find a way to continue to give to the organization.

Today I’ve got several leads on good free-lance and part-time opportunities that can be done remotely….I list these with an eye toward D.C. journalists but others outside the Beltway may be interested as well!

*Financial News, owned by Dow Jones, and the Wall Street Journal Europe needs some biz-oriented free-lancers:

Financial News
Freelance Writers
Location: N/A
The features desk at Financial News (a weekly newspaper covering European financial markets owned by Dow Jones) and Wall Street Journal Europe is looking for freelance contributors to regular features particularly in the areas of  (institutional not retail) investment banking, capital markets, fund management, hedge funds, pensions, wealth management, private equity, restructuring, trading and technology, stock exchanges, custody, clearing and settlement, derivatives, fund administration, liquidity management, trading and technology from a back-office perspective, commodities, SRI, FX, Gulf financial markets, Islamic finance. Please send a CV outlining your areas of coverage and up to three writing samples to Yasmine Chinwala,

*Dow Jones Newswires is looking for a translator for a 30-hour-week position:

Dow Jones Newswires
Translator / Copy Editor
Location: East Coast or West Coast or home
Dow Jones Newswires is looking for a Translator/Copy Editor to join our Japanese Language Service. The position involves the translation of Dow Jones’ English language business and financial market news into Japanese and the editing of translated articles from other members of the team. The successful candidate should have experience as a Japanese-to-English translator, preferably in the financial field. Native level Japanese writing and English reading ability is required. A good understanding of financial markets and experience in real-time financial journalism will be a significant advantage.  This position is part-time, for a 30-hour week, Monday to Friday. We’re looking for someone in the U.S. who would either work in one of our offices on the east or west coast, or from home. We offer a competitive compensation package and the opportunity to work for one of the world’s leading financial and business news companies. To apply, please visit and search for job number 090382

Dow Jones & Company ( is a News Corporation company (NYSE: NWS, NWS.A; ASX: NWS, NWSLV; Dow Jones is a leading provider of global business news and information services. Its Consumer Media Group publishes The Wall Street Journal, Barron’s, MarketWatch and the Far Eastern Economic Review. Its Enterprise Media Group includes Dow Jones Newswires, Dow Jones Factiva, Dow Jones Client Solutions, Dow Jones Indexes and Dow Jones Financial Information Services. Its Local Media Group operates community-based information franchises. Dow Jones owns 50% of SmartMoney and 33% of STOXX Ltd. and provides news content to radio stations in the U.S.

*Some energy free-lancers are sought by

We are looking for 5 or 6 freelance journalists/reporters to write energy-related articles a couple times per week at $100 per article.

These would be 300-500 word articles that would appear on, a global energy site that is visited by governments, banks, commodities traders, hedge funds and many other interested readers of energy issues.

We would provide the topics and the reporters would do original research and writing for posting on the site upon submission and a bit of editing.

This is a wonderful opportunity for global exposure and to add/develop a portfolio of interesting work.

Interested reporters/journalists can contact me via email:
Michael Bagley Director
Energy Hedge Fund Syndicate
Washington DC

*Finally, a short-term (two-month) part-time copy editing position with UPI in D.C.:

Company:     United Press International
Copy Editor
Washington, District of Columbia
Job Status:     Not Specified
Salary:     Not Specified
Ad Expires:
December 25, 2009
Job ID:     1125980

Company: United Press International Position: Mentor/Copy Editor for aspiring journalists Location: Washington, District of Columbia Job Status: 8 weeks (December 7-February 4) Salary: Not Specified

Description: 100 year old publisher seeks individual to take on part time copy editing and mentoring role for a new initiative for aspiring journalists.

Responsibilities of this freelance position include: Ensuring fair, balanced and accurate news coverage from U.S. and international student journalists as well as guiding/liaising with UPIU writing interns. The UPIU mentor is assigned to the UPIU Desk to monitor story flow and to edit articles of varying length identified as worth publishing, working with authors through the editing process. Expected to work under minimal supervision to manage the story flow, assign articles for platform users and interns and to meet the responsibility of publishing a set number of articles a week. The UPIU Mentor must possess at least 10 years of experience reporting and working in a newsroom, be able to edit multiple news briefs, longer stories and human interest features by authors learning to be journalists and to video conference with journalism schools and students. Candidate will be required to learn how to use the editing functions of the UPIU website, and to work within this platform on a consistent basis.

Candidates must live in the DC area.

Please send compensation requirements with resume and cover letter to No calls.

Happy hunting and have a relaxing Thanksgiving weekend! Even those of us in the ranks of the unemployed still have much for which to be thankful including living in the land of the free (including free speech — and that’s still in short supply in many parts of the world, sadly). I’m taking the long weekend off and will return with a blog post on Monday, Nov. 30.

~~ Jodi


Entry filed under: Uncategorized.

Looking forward even when you don’t feel like it Investing in your job hunt

2 Comments Add your own

  • 1. annie groer  |  November 25, 2009 at 4:59 pm

    J – Impressive site, full of solid info. Happy Thanksgiving to you and yours.


  • 2. Maryann  |  November 26, 2009 at 12:41 am


    Of course I have to comment. As you know (and others may not) I have taken post-buyout volunteering a bit to the extreme–I’m now more than half way through two months in Guatemala. I’m not changing the world. I’m also not working as a journalist–mostly what I do during my volunteer time is help kids with jigsaw puzzles & assist them in choosing the proper color crayons if they would prefer to color.

    What this kind of experience does–a point you didn’t touch–is that it helps you clear your head. If I wanted to, I could be very bitter about what has happened to all of us and the profession we care so much about. But it’s tough for me to be bitter about my own life when I spend time in dirt-floored houses or playing games with kids who have been dealt a much, much worse life.

    So today, I’m thankful I was able to save the money to take this time off down here; I’m thankful my husband has a good job with health insurance, and I’m thankful for the great life I’ve had so far. Sorry if that all sounds sappy and not-like-a-hardboiled journalist, but today it’s true.


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