Should you worry about job jumping?

January 4, 2010 at 2:19 am Leave a comment

Typically, staying in a job for only a few months or a year or two — and especially if an applicant has several short stints on their resume — is frowned upon by recruiters. Short job tenure can be a red flag indicating an applicant can’t keep a job because of performance problems or gets bored easily and hops around. Recruiters prefer to see a career pattern of staying in jobs for reasonable periods and leaving  jobs because you were promoted or found a clearly more senior position with higher pay at another organization.

But as we know all too well, the past few years — especially in journalism — have been anything but typical when it comes to career paths. Layoffs and buyouts have taken their toll, causing job seekers to grab positions much below their pay and skill level, just to earn a paycheck. And often, after a while, something better comes along and it’s time to move on — sometimes after only a short while. Others join start-ups or underfunded organizations that just don’t work out — through no fault of their own. Still others, wanting to stay in journalism, land in another organization and end up as a last-in-first-out layoff victim yet again — though they may have been a strong performer.

Recruiters realize that things are anything but typical now, yet they still worry about job jumping. Here are some tips on how to handle what may appear to be job hopping on your resume:

*First, if you worked for an organization for only a short period — say, several months — consider leaving it off of your resume. As indicated in a recent lively discussion about “frequent jumpers” in a recruiters’ discussion group on LinkedIn, some recruiters will simply not seriously consider a candidate whose resume includes one or more short stints. Some recruiters say previous behavior is an indicator of future behavior and they just don’t want to take a chance on someone who has job hopped before. If you decide not to put a job on your resume, be prepared to discuss the gap. (See Dec. 2 blog post, “How to handle gaps in your resume.”) Also, if asked about it in an interview, be honest about what you did at the organization, how long you worked there and why you left after a short period.

*Be prepared to explain in detail any short stints and to prove that poor performance wasn’t an issue in leaving a job. This is one of the reasons it’s important to keep copies (in your files at home and on your home computer) of good performance evaluations, notes of praise you received from supervisors and any other material or correspondence showing you weren’t a problem employee. If possible (and sometimes it isn’t) try to find someone still with the organization who will vouch for the fact that you weren’t dismissed for cause — especially if you were a victim of a budget-driven downsizing. Also, arm your references with the facts about short stints so they can also address this and assure worried recruiters that this was beyond your control. Provide examples of how you were useful to the organization — with details of how you “added value” in management-speak — even if you were only there for a relatively short period.

*If you’ve had one or two short stints over a long career, focus on the long-term positions you’ve held and how you moved up in those organizations or had increasing responsible tasks to perform over time. Treat the short-term positions as an anomaly — explain them but spend most of your interview time discussing the other jobs you’ve held.

*If you’ve hopped around some in your career or are a fairly junior person who hasn’t held a job for very long, be very careful about leaving your next job quickly. While it’s always important, even when unemployed, to carefully weigh the pros and cons of a job offer, it’s even more crucial if your resume is dotted with some shorter-term positions. You don’t want to end up in another job where you may leave quickly — at this point, you need to commit to staying somewhere for several years if at all possible.

*An upcoming event at the National Press Club could be a great networking opportunity! This coming Friday night, January 8, JOURNOPALOOZA II (even bigger and better than last year) will feature four bands made up of some local journalists. The proceeds will benefit three media causes doing important work: The Committee to Protect Journalists, the Eric Friedheim National Journalism Library, and Reporters Without Borders. A year ago, $11,000 was raised, and this time the goal is even higher.

Tickets are $25 in advance and $30 at the door. The Press Club is located on the 13th floor at 529 14th Street NW. The door – and more importantly, the bar – opens at 7:30 p.m., and the show starts at 8 p.m. See the link below to the press release for more info:

Journopalooza

*A piece in Sunday’s Washington Post does a good job of looking forward at D.C. area hiring trends for 2010 (jobs, raises and bonuses are all part of the picture!) with some useful general advice so I’ve included the link here:

Hiring? Raises? Bonuses? It really isn’t 2009 anymore, is it? : For those ready to seize opportunities, it could be a good year

*And here are some job leads to hop on in the new year. (The hat tip on the first three openings is journalismjobs.com):

*The Nature Publishing Group has an opening for a chief of correspondents based out of the company’s D.C. office:

Company: Nature Publishing Group
Position:
Chief of Correspondents
Location:
Washington DC, District of Columbia
Job Status: Full-time
Salary: Not Specified
Ad Expires:
February 2, 2010
Job ID: 1138187
Website: http://www.nature.com

Description:
Nature Publishing Group is seeking a Chief of Correspondents

Nature’s news section delivers news and in-depth analysis, on-line and in print, from around the world on all aspects of science. Reporters based in the UK, Europe, Asia and the US cover research, policy and funding, the scientific community and its concerns, and the interaction of science and society. Stories are reported and written to address the interests and needs of research scientists, reading within and outside their specialty.

The Chief of Correspondents, America, manages a team of reporters in Washington, DC, and on the West Coast, as well as freelancers. The role includes planning, assigning, and editing stories for print and on-line, and working with the London-based News Editor to shape high-impact coverage from around the world.

The ideal candidate will have a minimum of eight years’ experience in journalism, including five years in science journalism and three years as an editor managing a staff. The successful candidate must have a Bachelor’s degree and an advanced degree is a plus. Background in biomedicine is a plus as is familiarity with web-based journalism. Must be meticulous, fast, creative, and collaborative.

This position is based in Nature’s Washington, DC, office. To apply, send a resume and a one-page letter laying out your goals for Nature’s news coverage to the attention of Human Resources at admin@us.nature.com. Close Date: 31 January 2010. EOE

*The New Republic in D.C. is hiring now for its 2010-2011 reporter/researcher program:

Company: The New Republic
Position:
Seeking Motivated, Talented Reporters
Location:
Washington, District of Columbia
Job Status: Full-time
Salary: Not Specified
Ad Expires:
February 2, 2010
Job ID: 1138252
Website: http://tnr.com

Description:
The New Republic (TNR) is hiring for its 2010-2011 reporter-researcher program. Job duties include reporting, researching, writing, and fact-checking for TNR’s print version and for TNR Online; formatting articles and blog posts for the Web; and performing occasional clerical tasks. Reporter-researchers work closely with writers and editors, and they have an open invitation to pitch magazine or Web articles. Most reporter-researchers finish their program with a substantial portfolio of clips and have gone on to work almost everywhere in journalism–including TNR itself. Political journalism experience is preferred (but not imperative); fluency with LexisNexis and other search techniques, a willingness to put in long nights fact-checking, and a sense of humor are mandatory. The yearlong job will begin in summer 2010 and will include a stipend. Please e-mail the following items to Seyward Darby at job [at] tnr [dot] com, with the subject line “(Your Name) RR Application 2010”:

* A cover letter. * A one-page résumé. * A 750-word critique of the politics section (the Mall and Features) of a recent issue of the magazine. * Two clips (if possible, one opinion and one news).

No phone calls and no snail mail (undue phone calling is especially unwelcome). We don’t have time to let you all know that we received your applications, so please don’t expect confirmation. The deadline is February 12, 2010.

*The Association of Union Constructors in Arlington is looking for a communications manager:

Company: The Association of Union Constructors
Position:
Seeking Manager of Communications
Location:
Arlington, Virginia
Job Status: Full-time
Salary: $60,000 to $75,000
Ad Expires:
February 1, 2010
Job ID: 1114527

Description:
Manager of Communications

The Association of Union Constructors and the National Maintenance Agreements Policy Committee are searching for a manager of communications. If you prefer a smaller organization staffed by a team of people who work hard within a fun and challenging environment, this position could be for you.

As manager of communications, your primary responsibility will be as executive editor of our award winning quarterly magazine, The Construction User. Additional responsibilities include: producing monthly e-Newsletter; developing and implementing communication strategies across multiple external channels for The Association of Union Constructors and the National Maintenance Agreements Policy Committee; coordinating external messaging for multiple departments; writing scripts and speeches for the chief executive officer and other organization executives; overseeing all aspects of TAUC and NMAPC’s online strategy including web design, website updates and upgrades; handling media relations; participating in vendor selection and budget planning process for communications functions; and directing outsourced graphic design and videography vendors in the creation of promotional materials.

Qualifications:

• (Required) Bachelor’s degree in related field, such as journalism, communications or marketing; • (Desired) Master’s degree in related field, such as journalism, communications or marketing; • (Required) 2-4 years of experience as editor of a magazine and/or other monthly or quarterly print communications • 3-5 years of experience in related position, such as marketing manager, communications manager, editor or web producer; • Skill in writing with Associated Press style or other established national style guide; • Skill in multimedia production, utilizing applications such as Adobe Flash, Adobe Dreamweaver, Adobe Illustrator and/or Adobe Photoshop; • Skill in Web coding, preferably using ColdFusion or HTML; • Skill in navigating the nuances of trade and news media to secure key editorial placement; • Skill in managing small teams to successful project outcomes

NOTES: • US Residents Only –NO RELOCATION PROVIDED • Overnight Travel may be required 2 to 3 times a year. • Previous applicants need not re-apply.

Benefits and Compensation:

Excellent work environment. Generous benefits package that includes, 401 (k) plan with employer matching, paid time off, heath and life insurance, tuition refund, bonus potential, company cell phone; free parking. Annual Salary Range from $65K – $75K.

HOW TO APPLY: Deadline January 15, 2010. Please send cover letter, resume, salary requirements and 3 writing samples to Human Resources, Attn: Todd Mustard, The Assoc. of Union Constructors, 1501 Lee Hwy, Suite 202, Arlington, VA 22209, FAX: 703.524.3364 or send by email to info@nmapc.org. No calls please. TAUC and NMAPC are Equal Opportunity Employers.

*And last but certainly not least, the new Metro Web site being launched in 2010 is seeking an editor in chief in the Arlington newsroom:

Editor In Chief, Metro Site
ABC News 7 – Arlington, VA
an Editor in Chief to overall strategy for the new Metro web site, which includes, overseeing the hiring of the newsroom staff, including reporters, editors…
From JobCircle.com

Editor In Chief, Metro Site

Posted:  December 28, 2009

WJLA/NewsChannel8 is seeking an Editor in Chief for overall strategy for the new Metro web site, which includes, overseeing the hiring of the newsroom staff, including reporters, editors, community managers and Web Producers; determining the proper coverage strategies for core strategic areas, and partnership opportunities for less-strategic areas of the new site, to include determining the proper method by which to allocate a limited number of reporters to a broad geographic area. Working closely with the sales team to determine areas with strong revenue potential, and content that would jointly meet the needs of advertisers and consumers; working closely with product management in conceiving and scheduling the development of editorial toots, and features.

QUALIFICATIONS:

Must have at least 10 years journalism experience, and five years of management experience. Also, must have excellent organizational, verbal and written skills; ability to handle sensitive and confidential material with discretion, ability to work under pressure and meet deadlines. Flexibility and willingness to work beyond normal work hours as assignments demand, since the news cycle is unpredictable. Candidate must possess a professional demeanor, positive, and a can-do attitude. Qualified applicants should resume with cover letter to ABC7/NewsChannel8  Attn: HR/ Metro, 1100 Wilson Blvd. 6th Floor, VA 22209 or HR@wjla.com  EEOC

Please refer to job code 291 when responding to this ad.

Happy hunting!

Jodi

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