Archive for January, 2010

Don’t undersell yourself in job negotiations

After a job hunt of several or especially many months, job seekers are usually so grateful to have an offer that they take what is initially on the table without blinking. Though it remains an employer’s market — especially in journalism positions — hiring experts warn that job seekers still should avoid underselling themselves in negotiations with employers. Remember: What you get going in — in terms of salary, benefits and working conditions — is the baseline for the future and the better deal you negotiate now, the better off you’ll be down the road.

Even when you’ve been laid off and have had trouble finding a good position, here are some smart strategies from experts about negotiating a deal for a job or even a long-term freelance or consulting arrangement: (more…)


January 29, 2010 at 3:27 am Leave a comment

How to write an effective bio

Though job hunters are taught to be obsessed with their resume, hiring experts increasingly suggest that professionals — both while conducting an active search and “just” networking while employed — spend some time crafting their professional biography, or bio, as well. In short, the bio is a short (no more than one page) mini-profile of your work background and experience, meant as a mini-marketing tool for you to share with other professionals. In essence, it’s a form of business-to-business communication with you as the subject.

The bio differs from a resume in that a resume has a schematic structure — usually presenting your work history, education and skills in chronological fashion after an opening statement — meant for quick scanning by potential employers. The bio, instead, should not be fact-heavy in bullet-point fashion but should try to tell a story that portrays your experience and describes who you are  — with other professionals as the intended audience.

Here are some tips from hiring experts on how to craft an effective bio: (more…)

January 28, 2010 at 11:17 am Leave a comment

New ways to find a job when you already have a job

It’s still a (relatively) new year and many employed-but-unhappy journalists are polishing up their resumes with hopes of finding something better in coming months. What they’re discovering is that it’s especially tough to find a job when you are employed, because if you hope to keep that job in the meantime you must conduct your search on the sly and in your (precious) personal time.

Yet statistics still show that some employers much prefer hiring people who are already employed (even in this environment where a layoff is no longer a badge of shame, some recruiters simply won’t look at those who have lost a job, figuring they are somehow “damaged goods” — fair or unfair) so if you feel like it’s time to go, conducting a job search while you have a job is a good idea. And if you feel you may be targeted for a layoff or buyout soon anyway, it’s smart to get going so you’ll at least have a head start on a search if you lose your job (see Nov. 19 post, “Searching for a job while still employed”).

Here are some fresh tips from experts on finding a job while you still have one: (more…)

January 27, 2010 at 11:13 am Leave a comment

How to use your personality strengths in a job hunt

Job seekers are constantly told that it’s all about your attitude — one has to be hopeful, positive and collegial yet fiercely competitive, driven and organized to land a job.  Yet how can one person be all those things — and still true to their own nature? (For yet another piece of advice routinely given job hunters — especially about interviews — is to “be yourself.”)

Without, I hope, sounding too much like an armchair Dr. Phil, here is some advice on how to use your own personality strengths to good advantage during a job hunt. Though for each of these strengths, a hiring expert and a psychologist friend I consulted caution that there are potential drawbacks one must be ready to acknowledge in job hunting.

Here is some advice for specific personality types: (more…)

January 26, 2010 at 2:58 am Leave a comment

What you can do if you suspect hiring discrimination

I have recently heard from several email correspondents who suspect they were a victim of discrimination in hiring — in both cases they suspected age discrimination in jobs for which they were turned down. Though I’m quite certain that age bias — and other types of bias toward certain types of people and against others — definitely exists in hiring, it’s usually very hard to prove that it took place in a specific hiring process.

In several recent studies conducted by, between 80 percent and 95 percent of those surveyed who are 50 or older believe that “age bias is a fact of life.” Yet successful efforts to prove age bias in hiring — or discrimination based on race, gender or national origin, for instance — are few and far between. Not only is it difficult to show that the potential employer committed an illegal hiring offense by not choosing you, the cost in legal fees and time to prove such a case typically far outweighs any monetary benefits one might receive.

Still, here are some things to consider about hiring discrimination and what you may — and may not — be able to do about it: (more…)

January 25, 2010 at 2:25 am Leave a comment

How non-journalists can help you land a journalism job

It’s human nature — especially during times of great stress, such as in the aftermath of losing one’s job — to seek comfort in what and who we know. Therefore, when tapping and further developing their network during a job search, people tend to turn to those in their own profession for tips and leads — and for journalists, that means circling around other journalists.

Yet hiring experts say job hunters do this at their own peril. Increasing evidence — anecdotal as well as from some hiring surveys — shows that job seekers who reach out to professionals in other fields and develop a broader network tend to land better jobs more quickly than do others. And what’s especially interesting is that many of them land in their own field, yet with help from those in other industries.

Why this works and some ways that non-journalists can help journalists land jobs: (more…)

January 22, 2010 at 11:33 am Leave a comment

Diversifying your resume for the future

One of the questions hiring specialists are most often asked is a seemingly simple one: What are you looking for in a resume? The answer is usually much more complicated but increasingly, employers want it all: in-depth and targeted experience, a range of skills, signs of leadership and working well with others, and indications of professionalism and drive.

A recruiting specialist recently gave me a bit of insight that I think could help both job hunters and those who may need to look for a job over the next several years: diversify your experience whenever and however you can, and make sure your resume reflects that variety. Because what one employer is looking for (even if you remain in journalism or transition to a related field) can be quite different than what another wants. How to do this with the job you have or the jobs you have had, you ask? Some tips: (more…)

January 21, 2010 at 11:07 am Leave a comment

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