What to do before you start a search while still employed

March 1, 2010 at 1:58 am Leave a comment

Plenty of journalists didn’t get laid off or bought out in the past year but are frustrated anyway by long hours, increased demands and a feeling of insecurity — especially for those who lost friends and colleagues to the job-cutting ax in the past year or two. Yet make no mistake about it, it’s still very competitive out there and a job search while working is tough to pull off (see Nov. 19 post “Searching for a job while still employed”). So before going to the time and expense of a job search, experts advise trying to make things better where you are.

Usually, job dissatisfaction revolves around one of several factors (or a combination): frustration with pay, feeling that your skills and experience are not being used to their best effect, or growing stress from difficulties in working with your boss or colleagues. Given this, here are some strategies you can try to employ to improve things before embarking on a search:

*Ask for a raise. Before you snicker or laugh, consider that many organizations that held off giving raises over the past few years are contemplating them again, and many don’t want to lose their top employees to rivals. While it’s still true that in many news organizations the best way to get a raise is to have an offer, some fair-minded and forward-thinking managers may appreciate your honesty in seeking a raise before you’re halfway out the door. Keep in mind a few things: Don’t overreach, but ask for a reasonable raise based on your skills and value to the organization. Specifically indicate your accomplishments over the past year (or since you last received a raise), especially those that allowed the organization to increase revenue or in other ways accomplish its mission. And don’t put the hiring manager on the defensive — never threaten to leave; this could backfire badly.

*Ask to redefine your job duties (and perhaps your title) especially if there has been a reorganization in your company that left you with either too much to do of work you’re not interested in, or not enough high-level work that you are interested in. Be a problem-solver: Go to your supervisor with a plan for how your job could be redefined so that it provides you with greater satisfaction and show how this will help the company in some key areas. Give them some time to consider this — go in with a time frame for how this could be accomplished without interrupting work flow.

*If your immediate supervisor is the problem, it’s always best to at least try to sit down with them and see if issues could be resolved. If not, it can be thorny to take this to their boss — as they may resent that and make life even more difficult for you. If you can, seek advice in this regard from someone in upper management — off the record and off campus, perhaps at coffee or lunch. Without getting into specific details (you don’t want to appear to be whining) or bad-mouthing the individual, state your concerns and ask them for strategies on making the situation better. If you go in with a positive attitude, they may be able to help in tangible ways. If a particular co-worker is a problem and you have a good relationship with your supervisor (or another supervisor familiar with this person), employ a similar, problem-solving strategy without saying negative things about your annoying co-worker. And remember, in every organization you’re going to have to deal with difficult people — a new job may just give you a different set of personality issues to work out.

*If you can’t solve your problems with these strategies, it may be smart to start a quiet, low-level search and see what is out there. You may find that you better appreciate your current job — with all of its difficulties — after experiencing how tough it is to find another position. Or alternately, you may decide that you are energized by the possibility of a new situation and are willing to expend your energies on a job search. In any case, if you get an offer, it’s usually beneficial to give your current employer an opportunity to counter-offer with what you want, such as a raise or a different working situation. Sometimes, sadly, another offer is what it takes to get them to give you what you need.

*These next two items might be worth considering to help build up your resume:

*The National Press Foundation is accepting applications (through April 6) for fellows to attend a global media training program on HIV/AIDS in Vienna this coming July:

Apply Now for J2J Vienna Fellowships for International HIV/AIDS Reporters

Improve your coverage of HIV/AIDS through NPF’s highly rated J2J HIV/AIDS global media training program. Set for July 14-17, 2010 in Vienna, Austria, the training will include sessions from top experts on the economics, the science and the social issues of the disease, and will be tailored to the agenda of the 2010 International AIDS Conference, July18-23. This training will prepare you to cover the IAC conference, and offer specialized sessions with practical journalism skills for reporting the HIV/AIDS story. Check out a multimedia presentation from last year’s program in Cape Town here.   NPF has a special interest in applicants from Eastern Europe, the former Soviet Union and other countries where AIDS is an issue.  Preference will be given to applicants who have not attended a J2J program in the past. Fellowships include air travel, lodging, per diem and most meals.  The deadline for applications is Tuesday, April 6. Additional details and an application are available on our website.

*The following might be especially fun (and beneficial) to multimedia journalism students or new graduates. It’s a YouTube-based video contest from USA.gov ( the official site on information about government benefits and services) with a $2,500 prize:

Here’s the quick bits

  • USA.gov is offering $2,500 to the best video that talks about the benefits of USA.gov and how its services – helping you search for a government job, get answers to your tax questions, or apply for everything from student loans to Social Security – help make your life better.
  • The video will also be featured on USA.gov and its YouTube channel
  • The Contest runs from Feb. 22 to April 2.
  • Videos will be judged on message, entertainment value and creativity.
  • Full rules are at http://www.usa.gov/contest

*And here are a variety of internship and job leads to pursue and pass along to your favorite hunters:

*A Central Florida Democrat is seeking an intern in his D.C. office — Florida ties are helpful:

Central Florida Democrat is seeking a press intern for his Washington, D.C. office. Along with traditional duties of an intern, the press intern would work closely with the Press Secretary in managing an effective communication effort for the congressional office. Central Florida ties are sought, but not required. Must have a good sense of humor, sharp mind and experience in communication/ journalism. We are looking for an individual who can work Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday. If interested, please send a cover letter and resume to fl08democrat@ gmail.com.

*The next lead is also a Hill opening; for a communications director to Illinois Democratic Rep. Jan Schakowsky:

Rep. Jan Schakowsky COMMUNICATIONS DIRECTOR. Active Midwestern
progressive seeks a communications director who is highly-organized, energetic
and able to meet deadlines. Duties include managing an aggressive
communications portfolio that includes earned media, new media, website
updates, and constituent outreach. Candidates must have excellent writing
skills, ability to multi-task and balance multiple policy issues, experience
with handling national and DC press. A familiarity with Chicago press is preferred. We are seeking a highly organized and productive self-starter and a team player.
Please send resume and a writing sample to HouseComDirOpening@ gmail.com.
No calls or walk-ins please.

*The Alliance for Climate Protection in D.C. is looking for three state directors:

State Communications Directors, Alliance for Climate Protection (Washington, DC)
3 separate positions – FLORIDA, ARKANSAS, MAINE
: Work primarily involves media outreach and earned media planning on behalf of the Alliance for Climate Protection to advance the Alliance’s goal of educating the public about the causes of and solutions to climate change. Work will also involve a portion of time spent on activities for the Alliance’s sister non-profit corporation, the Climate Protection Action Fund, to advance its goal of promoting passage of strong federal climate change legislation during the current Congress.
Employment is at-will and indefinite with no minimum term. The salary for these positions varies based on experience and includes a generous benefit package. This position reports directly to the assigned state director and will work in close coordination with communications staff at the Alliance’s headquarters in Washington, D.C.

DUTIES PERFORMED: Conduct outreach to media in assigned state, including television,
print, radio reporters and bloggers, – Act as an on-the-record spokesperson for the Alliance, – Train and direct surrogates, staff, coalition partners and others to speak on the record on behalf of the Alliance, – Plan and execute press conferences, town-hall meetings, and other press events, – Draft press releases, media advisories, letter-to-the- editor templates, op-eds and other content as needed. – Supervise and direct subordinate communications staff where necessary. NOTE: The duties listed are not intended to be all-inclusive.

MINIMUM QUALIFICATIONS: Job requires a bachelor’s degree and communications experience with a political candidate, issue campaign, elected official or at a public
relations firm. Requires extensive written and verbal communications skills needed to motivate and communicate clear messages to members and the general public on the urgency and solvability of the climate crisis. Insurability and license requirement:
Possession of a valid driver’s license, a clean driving record, the ability to be insurable under the Alliance for Climate Protection’s automobile insurance plan at the standard rate. To apply, send a cover letter and resume to communicationsjobs@ climateprotect. org. Please include the state and position you are applying for in the subject line.

*Oxfam America in D.C. has an opening for an email advocacy writer on its new-media team:

Email Advocacy Writer, Oxfam America (Boston or DC)
Oxfam America is hiring an Email Advocacy Writer for its New Media team.

PURPOSE OF POSITION: To retain and expand Oxfam America’s eCommunity using online communications to engage constituents to fulfill Oxfam’s mission to seek lasting solutions to poverty, hunger, and injustice.

PRIMARY DUTIES AND RESPONSIBILITIES: – Draft all advocacy action alerts, action team event notices, and volunteer emails to constituents. – Work closely with policy and campaign leads to develop compelling email advocacy messages across multiple campaigns in order to increase depth and breadth of online constituency engagement. – Collaborate with New Media Manager, Community Outreach Manager and advisors to help construct communication strategies to recruit, retain and mobilize activists – Manage online communications calendar. – Draft advocacy text messages for members of mobile constituent community, edit e-mail content as necessary. – Participate in New Media team planning and budgeting discussions. – Perform regular analysis of activism data, producing reports on efficacy of email appeals and online actions, tracking trends and using the data to suggest and test improvements in online communications. – Participate in online digital strategy and planning meetings – Provide other support to the New Media team as needed.

EXPECTATIONS FOR THE POSITION: – The incumbent will stay abreast of professional standards, trends and issues affecting the responsibilities of this position, demonstrating continuous learning of the field. – S/he will work effectively and collaboratively in support of building a team-based culture of work, will perform all duties appropriately for a multi-cultural environment, treating all persons with dignity and respect, and will be familiar with and committed to Oxfam America’s mission and goals. – The incumbent will maintain familiarity with all of Oxfam’s regional,
policy, and campaigning work through reading and discussions with relevant
staff and then use this knowledge to package Oxfam’s work in interesting and
compelling ways.

QUALIFICATIONS: Required: Education:- Bachelor’s degree or equivalent work experience. Experience and Core Competencies: – Three to five years experience writing marketing copy for political, email marketing or advocacy-based campaigns – Experience with Constituent Relationship Management (CRM) system, database management, and list segmentation. Convio preferred. – Experience in managing multiple projects under strict deadlines – Knowledge of HTML – Strong writing skills. Preferred: – Knowledge of the field of non-profits and/or international development and human rights.

http://www.oxfamame rica.org/ whoweare/ jobs/available- positions/ email-advocacy- writer

*The National Community Reinvestment Coalition (NCRC) in D.C. is seeking a Web and social media manager:

Web and Social Media Manager National Community Reinvestment Coalition

JOB SUMMARY: The Web and Social Media Manager creates and implements a
comprehensive web and new media strategy (using online, social media
and other tools) to strengthen NCRC’s profile and image, increase
traffic to main and auxiliary websites, build relationships, and
increase the number of supporters.

ESSENTIAL FUNCTIONS: Manages web and email marketing and communications, and other electronic messaging, Twitter, Facebook and Democracy in Action email blasts. Writes and coordinates the production of web and email-based content, including action alerts and policy updates. Manages social media campaigns and creates and tracks system for measuring e-advocacy successes. Develops performance measures to assess the scope, reach and impact of online and social media presence, and provide regular reports about this to staff. Manages the NCRC suite of websites, including technical and content updates. Manages the NCRC list-serves. Coordinates blog postings among staff. Develops strategies to cultivate blogger relationships and communications. Serves as the NCRC web master, and works with consultants for systemic updates and overhauls of the site.

ADDITIONAL RESPONSIBILITIES: Monitors trends in social media tools, strategies and applications, and advises NCRC’s Director of Communications on appropriate ways for
NCRC to apply this knowledge. Develops efficient and effective interpersonal communication strategies including the use of email, voicemail, videoconferencing, electronic publications and intranet enhancements. Proactively supports and enforces NCRC’s brand and communications standards and instructs staff as appropriate. Works with Communications and Development staff as needed to develop ongoing web, marketing and fundraising strategies. Other duties as assigned.

JOB QUALIFICATIONS: College graduate or relevant work experience.
A minimum of 2-4 years of experience in communications with competency using a variety of online/web tools and technologies. High attention to detail. High initiative and proactive leadership. Ability to learn and adapt quickly.Ability to work to deadlines. Excellent written and verbal communications skills. A demonstrated ability to use new media tools to communicate with and motivate target groups to take action. Proficiency in Microsoft Word, Excel, Access, and databases. Basic knowledge of graphic design is a plus. Experience in website management utilizing Content Management Systems such as Joomla. Familiarity or experience with Web development and design skills including HTML, XML, and CSS a major plus. Familiarity with SEO tactics, Goggle Ad Words, etc.

Samuel B. Smith
Office Coordinator
National Community Reinvestment Coalition
727 15th Street NW | Suite 900
Washington, DC 20005
Main: (202) 628-8866
Fax: (202) 628-9800

*SAIC in Reston has an opening for an editor/linguist who speaks one of several languages:
Linguist – Editor
SAIC – Reston, VA
interpersonal and communications skills Strong… appraisals Make recommendations for researcher training plans or to address specific deficiencies 4…
From TAOnline.com

*And last but not least today, American Rivers in D.C. is looking for an associate director of communications:

Associate Director of Communications
American Rivers – Washington, DC
and seize communications opportunities, including new and traditional media, and other channels. Work with a national team of communications professionals to…
From Justmeans

Happy hunting in this new month!



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