Contemplating your search or job over the holiday weekend(s)

December 24, 2009 at 12:57 pm Leave a comment

With two long holiday weekends coming up, it seems like a good time to take stock of your job search or your current job and whether you want to start a search in the new year!  It has been a tough and exhausting year for job hunters with a brutally competitive hiring environment and few new openings,  though experts expect that to improve somewhat in 2010 as hiring picks up. Yet it has also been a rough year for journalists still employed — often in news organizations with severely depleted (and many times demoralized) staffs and no new resources, plus salary cuts, freezes and furloughs.

In looking ahead to the new year and developing a new (or revived) strategy for finding a job or trying to make the one you have better (or get a promotion at your organization) here are some ideas:

*Take serious stock of your job search. Use the down time over these long weekends — when no one will be responding to inquiries anyway — to analyze what you’ve done well in your search and where you have been missing the mark. Be specific about the successes (even though they haven’t translated into a job yet)  — note the ways you’ve expanded your network; the interviews you’ve had; how you have improved and polished your resume and online search materials; and the current “irons in the fire” you have that may turn into a job in the new year. But also be brutally honest with yourself about where you need to improve: Could your interview style be lacking? Is your network too concentrated in “old-school” journalism colleagues who may not be pointing you in the direction of good digital-era jobs? Do you need to freshen up your reference list? Are you applying for too many jobs online and not networking enough to find the jobs that aren’t advertised? Are you appearing confident and positive enough, or might you still be stuck in the past and bitter over your job loss — and that shows? Look at all parts of your job-hunting strategy and style, and note where you may need to improve in the coming year.

*Do some research for research’s sake. Often in a job hunt (or when we decide we want to leave a job but aren’t sure how to get going), we feel pressured — especially journalists used to living on deadline — to make progress. So we tend to scan  listings and Web sites with an eye to how we’ll write a cover letter and who we may know at the organization — much like considering your next question in an interview while the other person is still speaking, without fully listening to what they’re saying. Take some time to do some research without a plan. Go to Web sites of companies and organizations that interest you to get to know their business a bit more. Look at association and Hill job listings to see if there’s anything that catches your eye. Poke around on sites about careers in fields you may not have considered. You may be surprised about some potential openings or career paths you hadn’t yet contemplated that could open doors in your search in the new year.

*If  you’re currently employed, now that you finally have a few days away from the dizzying pace of the newsroom, consider whether this is the job you want to be in for the foreseeable future. It has been a tough year and those journalists who’ve been able to hang on to their jobs have been told, over and over, that they’re lucky to still be employed. Do you feel lucky? Obviously, it’s nearly always better to have a job than not and to find a new job while still employed (though it’s complicated to conduct a search in your off hours while employed full-time) but be honest with yourself about how long you want to be in your current position. Then think about positions at your current workplace — often promotions — you’d be interested in seeking in the coming year and make a plan for how you can get managers to see you in that light. It may not be something that can happen overnight but you’ll want to develop a strategy for moving when the time is right. If you’re unhappy and other positions in your organization don’t interest you, it may be time to start a search — especially with a hiring uptick expected in 2010. It won’t be easy but don’t wait until you’re absolutely miserable and end up quitting — without a new job and with no separation or unemployment benefits — in frustration. (and see Nov. 19 blog post “Searching for a job while still employed”)

*Give yourself credit. Often we focus on what we’ve could’ve done better, should’ve done more of or would’ve done if we had more time — but as we all know, could’ve, should’ve, would’ve get you nowhere. Instead, to be as confident and positive as you can — ingredients that are absolutely key to landing a good job — you need to get in the habit of noting what you’re doing well and rewarding yourself for it. Others will follow. So take time over these long holiday weekends for yourself as a reward for persevering in your search in one of the worst job markets in U.S. history. That in itself is an accomplishment.

*As always, some leads to pursue:
*Rep. Betty McCollum, a Democratic House member from (my home state of) Minnesota whose district includes St. Paul and some suburbs, is looking for a press secretary. Her office # is 202-225-6631. She sits on the House Appropriations and House Budget committees; could be interesting. I don’t have information on the hiring manager — but well-trained journalists can do a little digging and find out. They hope to have someone in place by the end of January, so get going if interested!

*ExecutiveBiz in Tysons Corner is looking for a research analyst (the hat tip on this is mediabistro.com and journalismjobs.com). This could be a good entry-level position for a recent grad:

Company: ExecutiveBiz
Position:
Government Contracting
Location:
Tysons Corner, Virginia
Job Status: Full-time
Salary: $35,000 to $40,000
Ad Expires:
January 27, 2010
Job ID: 1136769

Description:
ExecutiveBiz, a leading e-magazine covering executives of consequence has an immediate need for a Research Analyst. Selected candidate will be involved in market research and ad hoc projects.

Responsibilities

* Assist in developing research and undertaking analysis across executives in government contracting and federal government * Conduct industry assessments, identifying and evaluating potential speakers/event topics * Stakeholder engagement and scenario analyses

Candidate Requirements

Requirements

* Ability to quickly learn the federal contracting space * Ability to research executives in the government * Ability to work and think through problems independently and with a team * High degree of knowledge leveraging MS Excel * Polished written and oral communication skills * Ability to work in a fast-paced and dynamic environment * A strong interest in technology and a mindset/passion to think out of the box

Desired Traits

* Results-oriented individual who wants to make a difference; who takes initiative, a self-starter who makes things happen, accepts accountability and has a sense of urgency. * Positive with a can-do attitude * A People person * Self starter and someone who wants to make a difference

*The Council  for Advancement and Support of Education in D.C. is looking for a graphic designer (item courtesy of mediabistro.com):

Council for Advancement and Support of Education
Industry Graphic Design/Art Direction, Magazine Publishing
Benefits 401K/403B, Dental, Flexible Hours, Health
Job Duration Full Time
Job Location Washington, DC USA
Job Requirements Council for Advancement and Support of Education (CASE) is recruiting for a Designer.

Position Purpose:
To work with the Art Director to produce CURRENTS magazine on time, within budget, and to the highest possible standards of quality. This requires designing layouts, helping develop art concepts and commissioning art, helping manage and execute in-house production processes, and preparing the magazine for printing.

Job Responsibilities:

1. Designs and lays out specific departments and columns of the magazine. This responsibility includes selecting, assigning, and creating artwork; commissioning art; working with artists and illustrators to develop and refine art concepts; and coordinating the exchange of art between CASE and member institutions and other organizations.

2. Designs and lays out recurring special sections of the magazine, including Professors of the Year coverage and photo rosters of the Board of Trustees, Commission Members, and District Chairs and special advertising supplements.

3. Works closely with the Art Director to refine and produce sections of the magazine. Assists in the coordination of CURRENTS production processes. This includes converting manuscripts to galleys, refining galleys into layouts, executing technical and aesthetic refinements before layouts go to final approval, and helping to make all final corrections quickly and accurately. This also includes helping to prepare the final pages of the magazine for the printer.

For the complete job description: http://www.case.org, career center, for job seekers, view job listings, search-organization, CASE

Education and Experience Required: Bachelors degree and/or at least three years of design and production experience on four-color publications, preferably a magazine. At least three years of experience in Web-based publishing.

Skills and Abilities Required: Working knowledge of graphic arts principles and practices, including typography, template and grid design, and page development and layout. Hands-on experience with electronic publishing operations on the Macintosh platform using InDesign, QuarkXpress, Illustrator, Photoshop, and Microsoft Word. Familiarity with Web-based design software. Experience with collaborating with art directors, editors, artists, and printers. Strong interpersonal, communications, and problem-solving skills. Ability to manage multiple priorities and coordinate detailed projects through varied levels of staff.

To apply email: gildner@case.org. Please include three graphic design samples or links to three samples that include publication design and your salary requirements along with a cover letter and resume.

About Our Company Council for Advancement and Support of Education (CASE) is the premier international association for alumni relations, communications, and fund-raising professionals at educational institutions. CASE is a leading resource and advocate for professional development, information, standards, and diversity in educational advancement. More than 3,350 universities, colleges, schools, and educationally related nonprofit organizations in the United States, Canada, Mexico, and over 60 countries belong to CASE. CASE, an EEO employer and a non-smoking office, seeks a diverse candidate pool for all open positions. Visit http://www.case.org

*And last but not least, someone with significant experience with health care policy may be interested in this interesting project director opening in D.C. with the Pacific Business Group on Health:

Project DirectorPacific Business Group on Health

Job Location: Washington, District of Columbia, United States

<!– Job Status: Senior Level
–> Job Status: Senior Level
Salary: Commensurate with experience

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You are now following Pacific Business Group on Health.

The Pacific Business Group on Health (PBGH) is an energetic, fast-moving, non-profit organization whose mission is to improve the quality of health care while moderating costs. We are a dedicated group of innovative thinkers who are committed to excellence, appreciate and foster a sense of humor and embrace change and team play as essential to success. We care about the work we do and the difference that we make. This is your chance to make a difference too.

The Center for Payment Reform (CPR) seeks candidates for the position of Project Director. CPR is a coalition of consumers, purchasers, labor, physicians and other health care providers, payers, and policymakers who have come together based on their shared vision that improving quality and affordability in health care requires a transformation in our payments systems. Acting as a platform for change, the Center is focused on advocating for effective reforms to payment, aligning payment policies and programs across public and private sectors, identifying and improving adoption of best practices, and leading payment reform among private purchasers.

Position Summary:

The Project Director will manage the day-to-day activities of the Center for Payment Reform. Core activities will include organizing the Center’s advocacy and stakeholder engagement strategy, managing and coordinating its private purchaser and payer strategy, working with staff on developing the Center’s marketing and web-based strategy, and organizing and managing various projects (e.g., building a national scorecard on payment). The Project Director will be responsible for coordinating the Center’s Leadership Committee and Advisory Committee meetings, supporting ongoing engagement of current and potential funders, and will act as the liaison to the Center’s contractors on key initiatives. The Project Director will be responsible for supporting the collaboration between stakeholders, fostering coalition relationships and building consensus. The Project Director will represent the Center and advocate on behalf of its constituents. The position will require initiative, flexibility, and a high degree of autonomy. The Projector Director will be based in Washington, DC and will report directly to the Center for Payment Reform’s executive director, working closely also with the executive director of national health policy of the Pacific Business Group on Health.

Principal Duties and Responsibilities

  • The Project Director will work closely with the Leadership Committee and Advisory Committees, direct substantive projects that carry out the Center’s mission. Projects may include, among others, building a national scorecard on payment, coordinating advocacy activities, and marketing and communicating about the Center’s efforts.
  • Manage the day-to-day organizational aspects of the Center for Payment Reform, including coordinating Leadership and Advisory Committee meetings, agendas and minutes, working with staff to monitor quarterly financials, assist with funding and reporting to funders, etc.
  • Assist in developing policy positions, presentations, and other materials reflecting CPR’s focus areas and strategic principles.
  • Identify opportunities to collaborate with other organizations.
  • Work with and direct other staff or contractors on marketing, communications, website design and development.
  • Develop and manage project plans, budgets and proposals for future work.
  • Remain current in health care policies and legislation related to payment reform, including public and private sector payment models, performance measurement, benefit design strategies, and other related topics.

Qualification/Requirements

  • Significant experience in health policy or managing large, complex health care initiatives at the national or state level.
  • Keen understanding of the United States political environment and health reform as well as exposure to knowledge about public and private sector payment policies and practices is strongly preferred.
  • Excellent presentation and written communication skills: experience creating and delivering communications in a variety of settings and media.
  • Strong interpersonal and leadership skills.
  • Strong project management skills and the ability to work in a team environment.
  • Competency with Microsoft office applications (Word, Excel, PowerPoint, Outlook).
  • Advanced degree in public policy, public health, health administration or another related field strongly preferred.

Desired Characteristics

  • Organized, high-energy, innovative, self-starter to work in diverse, fast-paced environment, supporting and engaging multiple internal and external stakeholders.
  • Strong project management skills with an ability to manage multiple complex deliverables simultaneously.
  • Problem-solver with a strategic focus.
  • Knowledge of health care trends, policy and legislation, and industry best practices.
  • Comfortable engaging with senior leaders both internally and externally.
  • Experience with financials: budgets, fundraising, estimating return on investment, and developing and responding to Requests for Proposals.

Employment and Compensation: This position will be an employee of the Pacific Business Group on Health, one of the lead collaborating organizations in the Center for Payment Reform and the fiscal agent for the Consumer-Purchaser Disclosure Project. Salary is commensurate with experience and comes with a competitive benefits package.

About the Center for Payment Reform: The U.S. health care system needs new systems of payment that promote affordability, improve clinical quality and foster prevention, coordination, safety and better patient outcomes. These payment changes must coincide with more effective patient engagement in making informed decisions based on improved transparency. Policymakers in both the public and private sectors are focusing on new forms of payment that could potentially result in better value, including increased payments for primary care, bundled payments, and quality-based incentives. The details of payment reforms will be critical to their impact and must be guided by a clear set of goals and principles supported by diverse public and private sector stakeholders. The Center for Payment Reform seeks to guide both private and public sector policies to align payment to better reward high value care and support delivery system reform. The Center is an initiative of the Consumer-Purchaser Disclosure Project and is supported by foundations and by contributions of employer, consumer, health plan, physician and other provider organizations.

To apply, please send letter and resume.

Happy hunting and happy holidays! I’ll take just a short break from the blog over the long weekend and will post again on Monday, Dec. 28.

Jodi

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