Archive for March, 2010

How long must you stay in a job these days?

Sometimes the universe seems unkind: Just a few months after landing a job following a tough hunt, an email correspondent receives an offer for the position he really wanted! But he was just settling in to the job he had accepted — which pays a lot less and isn’t nearly as interesting to him as the job he’s just been offered. What to do?

In the past most career experts would strongly advise against accepting this latest offer, saying it would be career suicide (especially if you had moved around much earlier in your career — see Jan. 4 post, “Should you worry about job jumping?”) as future employers would wonder if you were stable. Yet these days, especially if you’ve taken a pay cut or are working in a job much below your skill or experience level, you might want to consider the new offer. Owing to the tough economic times of the past few years and the huge changes to many professions (including journalism), experts now say that if you find the right job for you, much may be forgiven.

Here are some things to think about when considering whether to leave a job after a short period: (more…)


March 31, 2010 at 11:27 am Leave a comment

When to consider a lateral move

An email correspondent recently wrote saying that though she has avoided several rounds of layoffs at her journalism organization, she feels stuck. She wasn’t given the promotion or accompanying raise she had expected — she didn’t get the job because she doesn’t have supervisory experience. She’s working longer hours than ever and is increasingly frustrated. Though she doesn’t relish the prospect of a job search, her boss said the only way she’s likely to move up there is to move over — take a lateral position where she could get some experience managing a few people. She wonders: Should she do it, without a raise or a promise of a promotion later?

This is a question many professionals have these days — those who like my email pal feel stuck in their current jobs and those who are job hunting and wonder if they should aim for a similar job to one they had but with different responsibilities so they can vary their experience and skills. Most experts are favorable about lateral moves, especially for those who are job hunting and can afford to take a bit of a gamble (they don’t have as much to lose!) but they say you should ask yourself the following career-oriented questions before deciding to make such a  move: (more…)

March 30, 2010 at 2:52 am Leave a comment

How to get (and keep) a recruiter’s attention

Just as in developing any relationship in life, catching a recruiter’s attention is a key step toward getting to know an organization or company, which could lead to a job. And keeping that relationship going involves another whole set of steps!

This past weekend I was reminded of some effective ways to get a recruiter’s attention (mostly in a positive way, though sometimes in a negative way as well) as I was recruiting for my company at Columbia University’s Graduate School of Journalism’s annual job fair in New York. I met a lot of good candidates and it got me to thinking about what impressed me right off, and what will keep my attention going forward in coming months. (Also see Feb. 10 post, “What impresses hiring managers.”)

Here are some tips from my experience, and what other recruiters say about what gets and keeps their attention: (more…)

March 29, 2010 at 12:13 pm Leave a comment

What to do when you’ve been rejected

Perhaps the only thing worse for a job hunter than the phone not ringing or your email not being returned is when it is — and you pick up the phone or open the email (or sometimes, still, snail mail) only to find that you’ve been rejected. A big fat “we don’t want you” now replaces your hopes about landing this position.

While rejection is never fun (and we’ve all been there!) career experts say that you can use their “no thank you” to gain some information and polish up your job search skills. Successful job hunters — just as those who succeed in sales, marketing, acting or other pursuits where they are constantly facing rejection — learn early on that when that proverbial door slams shut, another one may well open up. Yet first you have to learn to handle rejection so you can move on to the next opportunity, the one that may actually result in a  job.

Experts offer this advice for coping with rejection and learning from it during a job search: (more…)

March 26, 2010 at 2:36 am Leave a comment

Job-hunting advice for professionals from a pro

There’s plenty of places online (this blog included!) where job seekers can get advice and tips. Yet especially when one is just starting a job search and perhaps hasn’t had to look for a professional job in many years, there are few (low-cost) groups where one can turn for support and networking to kick off a search. Tom Dezell, a workforce expert, works for such a program, the Professional Outplacement Assistance Center (POAC), which is a service of the Maryland Department of Labor, Licensing and Regulation’s Division of Workforce Development.

This program was started in the early 1990s in response to white-collar layoffs and provides assistance to individuals who have lost their jobs in professional, executive, technical, manager and scientific jobs. You can learn more about POAC at

Dezell, who has been with POAC since 1991, is a very nice, helpful guy who in addition to  working with this program has become a common-sense networking expert. He has written a book with a fun title — “Networking for the Novice, Nervous or Naive Job Seeker.” (His Web site is (more…)

March 25, 2010 at 11:47 am 1 comment

Tips for staying in touch with a prospective employer

One of the toughest parts of searching for a job — both for those without a job and those looking to land a different job — is figuring out how to stay in touch with a hiring manager or recruiter without becoming an annoying pest. Not only is waiting difficult, but it’s tough to know just how often to be in touch — and what form of communication is most effective.

First, you’ll need to accept the fact that your timetable almost certainly is different than your prospective employer’s. (See Feb. 23 post on “How to handle that deafening silence.”) While this potential job has your full attention, you as a candidate very likely are only one of many, many things on the hiring manager’s mind. Yet even while waiting is an important tool in a job seeker’s arsenal, polite, persistent communication is another — most managers don’t mind (and some even welcome) hearing from strong candidates. That persistence, especially for a journalism position, can win you points with a hiring manager but again, only if handled properly.

Here are some tips on how to effectively stay in touch: (more…)

March 24, 2010 at 11:02 am Leave a comment

When to consider a tryout or audition for a job

In a hotly competitive job market, employers often up the ante in terms of what they expect from job candidates in the hiring process. No longer is it enough to go through several interviews and various tests; a growing number of organizations are expecting prospective employees to showcase their skills in week (or more)-long tryouts or auditions.

For some, especially those relatively new to the profession who have little to lose from the experience, a tryout can provide an opportunity to impress a prospective employer. Yet for others, especially those who want to keep their candidacy quiet or who are suspicious of the employer’s motives in offering a tryout, this may seem less like an opportunity and more like a burden that they can’t figure out how to avoid.

Career experts offer these tips on when to consider a tryout or audition, and how to make the most of this once you decide to go through with it: (more…)

March 23, 2010 at 2:14 am Leave a comment

Older Posts

DC Works has moved!

I'm now blogging at I hope you'll join me there!