Ways to help new (or recent) grads in this tough job market

March 16, 2010 at 2:09 am Leave a comment

Think you’re having a rough time in the job market? Pity those about to graduate from college (or even graduate programs), especially with degrees in journalism or communications. Those who have graduated in the past few years or are about to graduate are finding fewer and fewer organizations with good openings and more competition from experienced professionals as the layoffs and buyouts have not come to a halt.

But before you give your favorite newly minted graduate/journalist wannabe the advice to take up something, anything else, you might pass along some job-seeking tips that will help them land a decent starting job that could lead to something else in the next few years. Keeping expectations in check is certainly part of the advice hiring experts give new graduates. Yet many are reasonably optimistic that with good planning, a terrific resume and cover letter (see Jan. 20 post, “Cover letter tips for recent graduates”), a killer network and a loads of enthusiasm and charm, new graduates can end up with a journalism job — especially if they are willing to think broadly.

Here are some tips from hiring experts:

*Get started well before you graduate. Over the past several years, college and grad students should have been compiling a portfolio of work, holding down internships with ever-increasing responsibilities and developing a record of academic accomplishment. Now, it’s time to show that off. Apply for fellowships, entry-level positions and post-graduate internships with organizations known for hiring their interns. Get in touch with contacts and ask for free-lance projects that you can start now (perhaps on spring break!) and that can tide you over while you look for a full-time job. Plan trips to cities where you’d like to work (and ideally, have some friends you can bunk with), let contacts know you’ll be in town and ask for an informational interview (see Feb. 9 post, “Trying to find a job in D.C. — or another city — when you live elsewhere.”)

*Consider every contact in your life a possible connection to landing a good job. While new graduates often are reluctant to ask their parents or other family members for help, hiring experts say they should swallow their pride and interview them — just as they would any other well-networked individual they know — about who they know who can help. While your college’s career center (or whatever they’re calling it) is a good, obvious place to start, every other graduating senior is paying a visit there as well. Go beyond that. Get to know some of the staffers at the center and ask them for information about alumni who have landed well — not just the famous ones, but those who have graduated in the past five to 10 years and have landed in the field you want to pursue.They have recently walked in your shoes and may be willing to help — and they’re likely to be able to give you names of others to contact as well. Also, reestablish contact with those you met on internships and while doing free-lance or volunteer work.

*Look at smaller organizations. Sometimes they have a less rigid hiring protocol than large companies and may be willing to take a chance on a relatively untested new graduate. Often in these organizations you’ll get to take on a variety of tasks and duties, which could broaden your skill set and prepare you well for your next position.

*Don’t wait for just the right job at just the right company or organization. It’s not going to happen in this competitive environment, again, especially if a graduate wants badly to land in a journalism or communications job. It is more important to get a start in the professional world — to start learning how a reporter or communications specialist does their job, even if you’re first in a largely clerical or support role. Gaining experience right away, developing skills and bolstering your resume should be a new graduate’s primary goals. Granted,  you likely don’t want to be in that position for long but it’s better to start somewhere than to hang around on the outside looking in, getting frustrated and waiting for your professional life to start.

*And speaking of new graduates, the following is a terrific paid opportunity at The Washington Post and NPR for a promising graduate with an interest in journalism, established in loving memory of Holt and Stone Weeks…Details follow:

Anyone who will have received a bachelor’s degree by July 15, 2010, is eligible to apply for the fellowship. Individuals with additional education and experience are of course also welcome to apply. While a demonstrated appetite for journalism is desired, there is no specific requirement for a journalism degree or experience as a journalist.

This outstanding fellowship has been established in memory of Holt and Stone Weeks.

________________________________________
From: Mario Ona [OnaM@washpost.com]
Subject: The Stone & Holt Weeks Fellowship

The link below outlines the innovative fellowship that we are announcing today in partnership with National Public Radio. We have created a six-month paid fellowship at both news organizations for a promising young would-be journalist, in honor of the memory of the two sons of our former colleague, reporter and editor Linton Weeks, who, following his early retirement, now works at NPR.

Please take a look at this, and if you know a likely deserving candidate, pass it along.
http://www.npr.org/about/fellowships/weeks/

*Another blog post, another congratulatory note (I’m not complaining — I love to spread good hiring news!)….Mike Sandler is leaving The Hill (newspaper), where he has been an associate editor for the past two years, for the Washington bureau of the Associated Press. On April 14, Mike will start his new position as an editor with the AP’s economy team. He will handle spot news stories on economic indicators, congressional hearings and regulatory rulings and will work with reporters on enterprise stories. (And this likely means that there will be an opening at The Hill.) Congratulations to Mike, and please pass along more good hiring news like this!

*And here are some job leads to consider:

*Fannie Mae in D.C. is looking for a director of corporate communications:

Director, Corporate Communication
Fannie Mae – Washington, DC
SKILLS Primary communications and marketing point… counsel, develop communications plans, and coordinate all marketing and communications projects for HCD…
From Fannie Mae

*With a hat tip (on the next coupla listings) to mediabistro.com, FierceHealthcare in D.C. has an opening for a senior editor:

Publication or Company FierceHealthcare
Industry B2B Publishing, Internet/Online/New Media
Salary Negotiable
Benefits 401K/403B, Bonuses, Dental, Health
Job Duration Full Time
Job Location Washington, DC USA
Job Requirements As Senior Editor, youll set the tone of both digital publications, ensuring that all news coverage provides only the most critical, need-to-know news and information to busy healthcare executives.

Description:
Write daily issues of FierceHealthcare, including one op-ed Editors Corner every week
Write a once-weekly issue of FierceHealthFinance, including its weekly Editors Corder op-ed
Supervise in-house associate editor; edit content contributed by freelancers and in-house editors for all publications within our healthcare vertical
Develop an editorial calendar. Plan, assign and write special reports and features for FierceHealthcare and FierceHealthFinance in conjunction with freelance and in-house writers
Develop and execute 6 8 webinars throughout the year
Develop and execute on eBooks and other custom editorial projects (either as the writer or assignment editor)
Cover 2 3 national industry conferences each year, as well as shows held locally in the metro D.C. area
Occasionally moderate speaker panels and recruit speakers for live events.

Qualifications:
Minimum 5+ years healthcare B2B editorial experience;
Proven ability to write op-ed columns within this vertical;
Documented ability to distill complex financial information into plain-English;
Confirmed experience developing and executing on webinars, special reports, live conference sessions in for an audience of healthcare executives;
Positive attitude, outgoing personality, “fierce” work ethic;
Web 2.0 journalism savvy and experience;
Solid professional references.

Benefits:
Base salary + performance bonus in line with experience and expertise;
Health, dental, 401(k);
Results-driven environment where your achievements will be recognized;
A fun, fierce,energetic workplace.

Please send your resume, salary requirements and your three best healthcare B2B clips to wjohnson@fiercehealthcare.com. Please do not apply unless you have all of the relevant experience we require.

About Our Company An exciting opportunity is available to join the healthcare reporting team at FierceMarkets, a growing online media company based in Washington, D.C. Were seeking a full-time Senior Editor to spearhead the editorial coverage of two publications: FierceHealthcare, our flagship daily ezine for healthcare executives, and FierceHealthFinance, one of our fastest-growing weekly ezines for health finance leaders and revenue cycle managers.

*The American Independent news network in D.C. has two positions open to lead separate Web sites:

Publication or Company The American Independent News Network
Industry Internet/Online/New Media, Newspapers
Salary Negotiable
Job Duration Full Time
Job Location Washington, DC USA
Job Requirements The American Independent News Network (AINN) is looking for two editors to lead separate sites in our award-winning network.

The American Independent:
The site will feature a mix of original reporting and aggregation from our existing news network. This organized, self-starting, tech-savvy innovator will work with AINNs national editorial team to produce high quality, breaking political news, including key races across the country, while aggregating content from AINNs member sites to create a definitive destination site for consumers of political news.

The role requires effective, independent communication with editors and reporters to create a site that informs, rather than merely reflects, the political discussions of the day. A key criteria for success is generating impact journalism, with reporting that demonstrably shapes the public debate and advances the common good. The Independents staff achieves this goal through a combination of aggressive reporting and tenacious, insightful blogging.

The ideal candidate will have at least 3-4 years experience in editing and reporting political news online and will be intimately familiar with national politics. Salary commensurate with experience.

Goals and responsibilities include:
-Advise on development and implementation of sites launch, including editorial content and technical functionalities.
-Develop, assign and edit stories, with an emphasis on election coverage.
-Manage team of freelance political reporters and track their story development with a view to AINNs mission of impact journalism.
-Drive an effective news agenda that captures the attention of elected officials, key decision-makers and other influentials.
-Manage the ongoing functionality of the site, in conjunction with tech team.
-Work with AINN leadership to develop and aggressively pursue plans for enhanced ad revenue and positive traffic trends.
-This position reports to the AINN Senior Editor.

The Washington Independent:

This organized, self-starting innovator will work with AINNs national editorial team to manage the production of high quality, breaking news, covering Congress, elections, state and federal politics, national security and other key issues of the day.

The roles key criteria for success is generating impact journalism, with reporting that demonstrably shapes the public debate and advances the common good. The Independents staff achieves this goal through a combination of aggressive reporting and tenacious, insightful blogging.

The ideal candidate will have at least 3-4 years experience in editing and reporting political news online and will be intimately familiar with national politics. Salary commensurate with experience.

Responsibilities include:
-Drive an effective news agenda that captures the attention of elected officials, key decision-makers and other influentials.
-Develop, assign and edit individual stories that speak to AINNs mission of impact journalism.
-Oversee editing of blog posts throughout the news cycle.
-Manage team of accomplished, top-tier political reporters and track their story development.
-Manage the functionality of the site, in conjunction with tech team.
-Help promote the work and staff of the Washington Independent as needed with outreach team.
-Work with AINN leadership to develop and aggressively pursue plans for enhanced ad revenue and positive traffic trends.
-This position reports to the AINN Senior Editor.

About Our Company The American Independent News Network investigates and disseminates news that impacts public debate and advances the common good. To accomplish its mission, the Center operates an independent online news network. An informed citizenry is a fundamental principle of civil society and American democracy; in the words of the Supreme Court in Garrison v. Louisiana: Speech concerning public affairs is more than self-expression; it is the essence of self government. Our reporting emphasizes the positive role of democratically elected government in securing the common good and social welfare, and the continuing benefits of our founding culture of egalitarian government by the people, for the people.
.

*The next few listings are courtesy of journalismjobs.com. Dickstein Shapiro, a law firm in D.C., has an opening for a communications specialist:

Company: Dickstein Shapiro, LLP
Position:
Communications Specialist with Excellent
Writing Skills
Location:
Washington, District of Columbia
Job Status: Full-time
Salary: Negotiable
Ad Expires:
April 19, 2010
Job ID: 1156381

Description:
Dickstein Shapiro LLP, a prominent DC-based law firm, is currently seeking a Communications Specialist to work as an integral member of the Marketing and Business Development department. This individual coordinates every aspect of the Firm’s third-party recognitions program and supports the collateral marketing materials program in close collaboration with the Manager of Collateral Communications.

This position is expected to proactively identify and assess recognition opportunities for attorneys and the firm; draft survey submissions and narratives; and assist in the writing and development of collateral materials, attorney bios, and other marketing materials. This position works closely with the Firm’s attorneys and is responsible for managing the Firm’s and attorneys’ listings in Martindale Hubbell and West Legal directories.

The ideal candidate will have strong writing skills, superior organization skills, attention to detail, initiative, and professionalism. A BS or BA in Communications, Marketing, or English is required. Individuals must also have prior experience with writing, proofing, editing, updating, and communicating content in a professional setting. Experience with Excel and Power Point are required.

Interested applicants should submit resume and cover letter to the Careers page at http://www.dicksteinshapiro.com. The Firm offers competitive salaries, excellent benefits and professional growth opportunities in a collegial work environment. We are proud to be an AA/EOE. M/F/D/V.

*WTOP/WFED Radio in D.C. is looking for an account executive in ad sales:

Company: WTOP/WFED Radio
Position:
Account Executive
Location:
Washington, District of Columbia
Job Status: Full-time
Salary: Not Specified
Ad Expires:
April 15, 2010
Job ID: 1155719

Description:
WTOP Radio Network has an opening for a salesperson…Candidates should have at least 3 yrs sales exp. w/the ability to bring in new business and meet and exceed sales quotas. Sold spoken word format . Complete application at http://www.wtopnews.com link “inside wtop” email to jhenson@wtopnews.com, fax to 202-895-5016, mail to 3400 Idaho Ave, NW, Washington, DC or request same at 202-895-4164.

*And last but not least today, the Daily Record in Baltimore has an opening for a development and real estate reporter:

Company: The Daily Record
Position:
Seeking Ace Development Reporter
Location:
Baltimore, Maryland
Job Status: Full-time
Salary: Not Specified
Ad Expires:
April 19, 2010
Job ID: 1156515
Website: http://mddailyrecord.com

Description:
The Daily Record, Baltimore’s business and legal newspaper, is looking for an aggressive, creative reporter to cover one of our premier beats – development and real estate. The perfect candidate should have at least two years of experience, know how to compete against major metropolitan dailies like The Baltimore Sun and The Washington Post, and have a burning desire to get better. A five-day-a-week A.M. paper with a circulation of about 5,000, we are part of the growing Dolan Media Co., which operates more than 60 print publications in 20 markets. Salary up to $32K. We also offer competitive benefits, and, more importantly, a chance to do great work in a great atmosphere against great competition. In the past 2½ years, Daily Record reporters have moved on to jobs at The Baltimore Sun, the New Orleans Times-Picayune, the Richmond Times-Dispatch, a Web-based political news service and top communications posts in state government and higher education. Send cover letter, resume and no more than six clips by e-mail to ed.waldman@mddailyrecord.com or by regular mail to Ed Waldman, Managing Editor/Business, The Daily Record, 11 E. Saratoga St., Baltimore, MD 21202. No phone calls, please. Really.

Happy hunting!

Jodi

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What hiring managers look for when checking references Tips for a successful informational interview

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