How non-journalists can help you land a journalism job

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

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:

*By developing a broader network, you will bring “fresh faces” with their own sets of new (to you) contacts into your realm. It’s simply a numbers game — the more people you know who know people, the more avenues for your resume to get into good hands. And don’t assume that people in other industries won’t necessarily have contacts who could be helpful to you — many people in Washington move in similar orbits and may know of (unlisted) leads in the very field where you’re hoping to land. This is especially true for journalists looking to transition into communications or public affairs jobs. How to find them? Start with your established network and deliberately ask for contacts in other industries. Think broadly and cultivate contacts in your neighborhood, through your kids’ schools and sports teams (I have several friends — among them a soccer and a wrestling mom, like me — who established relationships while sitting on the bleachers cheering on their kid’s team that landed them well-paying jobs), through your church or synagogue or mosque, and through affinity groups like alumni organizations.

*You’ll be zigging while others are zagging, so to speak, which increases your job-search velocity. With the market for journalism jobs so crowded today and hiring managers inundated with resumes for every “good” journalism job listed, you need to find different paths to good jobs. People in other industries may use other resources than journalists to find jobs — other Web sites, job boards and listing services — and through their network (the Hill network, for example, is a great way to hear of job openings in a variety of fields) may be able to point you to hiring managers who have not yet been “found” by hordes of job seekers. Again, it’s a numbers game and by going after a job where you aren’t one of hundreds applying, you increase your chances of success right away.

*Non-journalists often have smart job hunting advice that you may not have considered. Especially when it comes to resumes and cover letters, journalists tend to get stuck in a rut and prepare these key documents in a way they always have. Those outside the profession, who likely have had to update their resume in recent years, too, often have good tips on marketing your skills, interviewing, effective use of social networking and time management. MBA, marketing and legal types can be especially good sources for information here. Use your journalism skills to ask them targeted questions that you can apply to your own job search. And a tip that has worked for a surprising number of people lately: Form or join a job-hunting group with people of different professions — no more than one person from each industry, and keep it small, say six to eight people — to share contacts, tips and advice. Several recent surveys from consultancies and anecdotal evidence (including from some contacts of mine who have found this to be a successful route) say getting involved in such a group helped them polish their resume, gain new contacts, provide them with more confidence and ultimately land them a job. Why not try it? Alumni groups, universities and community groups are a good place to look to form such a group or to join one already in existence (with the good ones, there are often openings because successful job hunters move on!). I’d also be happy to help connect people who may want to form such a group, so feel free to post a comment here, send me a message through Facebook (or post on the dcworks Facebook page), LinkedIn or to my personal account:

*More good news to report today: Annie Groer, a former co-author of the “Reliable Source” in the Washington Post, will be joining Politics Daily right here in the D.C. area as a gossip columnist. Annie (who has been a good contributor to this blog, though I don’t traffic in much gossip!) took a buyout from the Post and has since been a successful free-lancer. This move goes to show that there is employment after buyouts and that your specialty can help you land in new and different areas. Congratulations to Annie! (And please pass along other news of people landing well; these tales provide hope and also show where hiring is occurring.)

*The following posting sounds like a great (all-expense paid) fellowship opportunity (in beautiful San Diego no less) for journalists — free-lance writers included — who want to further their knowledge of technology, science and the arts. Yet be quick; the application deadline is next week:

2010 Kyoto Prize Symposium Journalism Fellowship provided by Point Loma Nazarene University
Point Loma Nazarene University is now accepting applications for its Kyoto Prize Symposium Journalism Fellowship, a unique learning experience taking place in San Diego, Calif., April 19-23, 2010, that will include the opportunity to meet the latest Kyoto Prize Laureates and participate in their presentations at San Diego State University; UC San Diego; and the University of San Diego, respectively. The fellowship is available to working journalists or freelance writers based in North America who hope to further their knowledge of technology, science, and the arts, through contact with the 2009 Kyoto Prize Laureates. The fellowship covers transportation, accommodations, and per-diem expenses. Applications are available at

The application deadline is January 29, 2010.

*And as always, some leads to linger over a bit:

*For those with top-notch new media and Web skills, this listing for a (well-paying) position with the Department of Homeland Security in D.C. could be intriguing:
Director New Media and Web Communications
Homeland Security: Office of the Secretary for Homeland Security – Washington, DC
New Media and Web Communications, GS-301-15 (DEU… new media communications, products and strategy.  The Director, New Media and Web Communications has… $123,758 – $155,500 a year
From Federal Government Jobs

*odesk in Arlington is seeking a video production editor:
Video Editor Wanted
oDesk – Arlington, VA
Editing and producing requirements for weekly Youtube Videos 2 – 5 min long, with knowledge of the following: -Final Cut Pro or Express -Sony Vegas -Basic…
From oDesk

*(The final two listings are courtesy of Garten Rothkopf  in D.C. has an opening for a research editor:

Company: Garten Rothkopf
Seeking Research Editor
Washington, District of Columbia
Job Status: Full-time
Salary: $45,000 to $50,000
Ad Expires:
February 25, 2010
Job ID: 1144620

Research Editor

Job Description

Editor to assist with web-based portal tracking energy and climate change policy. Writing and editing daily and weekly analyses for clients. Direct collaboration with senior management and support from dedicated research staff.

Job will include long hours and exceptional level of commitment.


Journalistic experience and strong research/analytical capabilities a must. Previous experience on the Hill or covering energy/climate change politics preferred. Strong interest in energy issues.

The ideal candidate must be self directed; creative, organized and detail-oriented; have excellent written communications skills; demonstrate exceptional initiative and problem solving skills; be proficient in web-based content management; have experience conducting Internet and primary research; and have an enthusiasm for working in a dynamic, fast-paced environment as part of a small, directed team.

Company Description

Garten Rothkopf is an international advisory firm serving corporations, governments and financial institutions. The firm provides high-level strategic, analytical and transactional support for chief executives, investors and senior government officials. Garten Rothkopf specializes in enabling firms and other organizations to identify and seize opportunities and manage risks associated with a small number of important transformational trends. In each case, the firm draws on unique resources and expertise to meet specific client needs and objectives. Garten Rothkopf’s largest practice is in the intersecting areas of energy choice and climate change. The firm provides proprietary, in-depth research and support services for world-leading corporations, multilateral institutions, governments and investors on four continents seeking forward-looking strategic analysis, stress-testing of models, identification of partners, opportunities and risks and evaluation of policy trends worldwide.


*And today’s final opening is for a reporter to work in the Washington bureau of Forbes LLC:

Company: Forbes LLC
Seeking a Top Notch Reporter
Washington, District of Columbia
Job Status: Full-time
Salary: $50,000 to $60,000
Ad Expires:
February 25, 2010
Job ID: 1144574

Forbes is searching for a reporter to work in its Washington, D.C. bureau, writing for both print and online. The ideal candidate will have at least 3-5 years of daily journalism experience and a strong knowledge of both economics and Washington. Responsibilities include Please e-mail your resume, 3-5 clips and three professional references to both Brian Wingfield,, and Janet Novack, State: District of Columbia City: Washington

Happy hunting and have a relaxing weekend!



Entry filed under: Uncategorized.

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