What job hunters can learn from house hunters

April 22, 2010 at 3:06 am Leave a comment

Recently, an email correspondent wrote saying that she was frustrated and exhausted by a long and ego-deflating job search and wanted some real-world clues on how to proceed in an effective way. For a change of pace, I turned not to hiring experts but instead asked for advice from a few friends in the world of real estate — who in recent years have had their egos bruised a bit as well as the housing and commercial real estate markets nosedived.

When you think about it, it turns out there is a lot about house hunting that is applicable to job hunting, and vice versa. The home seller has something the prospective home buyer wants — just as the hiring manager has what the prospective employee wants, or potentially wants. They often find each other through third parties. They need to meet, to negotiate and to come to some mutual agreement — and sometimes they just walk away from each other.

Given these similarities, here are some thoughts on what job hunters can learn from the advice often given to house hunters:

*Don’t buy the first home you see. Any good real estate agent worth their salt — especially one working on the buyer’s behalf — won’t let their buyer make an offer on the first house they visit. If they like that one, they may like the second, third or 20th house even more. And if they really like that one, after seeing 20 other houses they may love it. You need a frame of reference and you need to compare and contrast various elements of  homes and neighborhoods. The same is true of job hunting. Don’t get too excited about the first interview you go on, or the first hiring manager who shows some interest in you. This may end up being the job you take but you’ll know that you really want it — and that they really want you — after you’ve been down the road with other employers. Learn as you go.

*Make a list of your priorities in a house and a neighborhood, and then be willing to give on a few of those. Who among us has gotten everything we wanted in a house? For some people, a big, modern kitchen is a necessity, for others it’s hardwood floors and shady trees in the backyard. It’s that way for job hunters, too. Salary and benefits are priorities for almost all job seekers but after that, it really varies. For some, reasonable hours and an easy commute are tops of the list while for others, opportunities for promotion and a chance to cover a beat they’ve always wanted are a big draw. Think hard about what drives and motivates you and seek job openings that will give you that — or some of that. You’ll need to be flexible; just as with almost any home, nearly all jobs have drawbacks and you’ll likely have to give up something in accepting an offer.

*Be reasonable about what you can expect to find given your price range and other considerations. One real estate friend says the most frustrating part of her job is that home buyers often are highly unrealistic — even after the housing bubble burst and one would think people got back to reality.  She said, for instance, that young buyers often want all the comforts of the home they grew up in, even though they don’t have the financial means to afford a house like that at this point. The same is sometimes true of job seekers — even in a hotly competitive market, some expect to land an interesting job quickly that pays the same amount as the job they recently had, even if that position was eliminated. While you shouldn’t lower your expectations to the point of resigning yourself to a life of work misery, it also does not advance your search to hang onto job-search goals that are out of whack with reality.

*Do plenty of research and turn to experts for advice before making an offer on a home.  Smart home buyers research the price of similar homes in the market, the neighborhood schools and shopping, transportation and commuting options. They hire a top-notch home inspector to ensure there are no surprises lurking. They consult an accountant and perhaps a lawyer for help figuring out tax and other financial and legal implications of home ownership. Then they make a reasonable offer and play the counteroffer game if necessary. And they know when to walk away. Job seekers should do the same: It’s important to carefully research the company, its culture and what salary range you can expect. Then you can negotiate from a position of reason and relative strength. You may end up walking away from an offer as well — but at least you’ll do so knowing that it wasn’t the one for you, and that there will likely be a better one around the corner if you keep looking.

*Freelancing often seems like a good idea after a layoff or buyout. Yet many journalists go about it the wrong way — and the first mistake they make is failing to take an inventory of the strengths and weaknesses they would bring to this new role. Freelance guru Maya Smart, author of the Writing Coach blog, offers some good advice to potential freelancers in this piece:

*Here are some interesting fresh leads to check out or pass along to others:
*Calling all First (and Second and Third, etc.) Amendment types; the Constitution Project in D.C. has an opening for a director of communications and outreach:
Director of Communications and Outreach
The Constitution Project – Washington, DC
in law, communications, or a related field; 10+ years of communications experience (including and especially positions held in communications departments of…
From RetiredBrains
*Time Warner Cable has an opening in its D.C. government relations department for a senior director of external affairs:
Sr Director External Affairs
Time Warner Cable – Washington, DC
Legal, Corporate Communications, Advanced Technology… related fields. 2. Excellent written and oral communication and interpersonal skills, with the ability to…
From Time Warner Cable
*With a hat tip to journalismjobs.com (for these next few leads), Home Front Communications in D.C. is looking for a broadcast PR producer:
Company: Home Front Communications
Broadcast PR Producer
Washington , District of Columbia
Job Status: Full-time
Salary: $50,000 to $60,000
Ad Expires:
May 26, 2010
Job ID: 1164888
Website: http://www.homefront.tv

Title: Producer, Broadcast PR Reports to: VP, Media Services Location: Washington, D.C.
HOME FRONT COMMUNICATIONS is seeking a full-time Broadcast PR Producer to develop messaging and execute production efforts across all Broadcast PR accounts. The Broadcast PR Producer will join our award-winning Broadcast PR and Media Services division, and will play a key role in story development and managing and executing all production efforts.

The Broadcast PR Producer will be responsible for managing a team of editors and key aspects of pre and post production. Responsibilities include the coordination of bites and b-roll packages, drafting of messaging materials, questions for on-camera interviews, coordinating field shoots and logistics, draft and write slates, oversee post production workflow, write and produce web packages, implement client revisions and work with a wide range of clients with varying goals. Candidates must have a background in news, be a creative thinker, work well with clients and in a team-oriented, collaborative environment.

We are looking for an innovative, motivated individual who is extremely organized, creative and thoughtful about idea generation, story telling, account management and client relations. This individual will work with colleagues across our media services division and will have important client-facing responsibilities that require professionalism, polish and a keen sensibility about forging strong, collaborative relationships with our clients.

The Broadcast PR Producer must have a strong understanding of the following: • TV news environment • Messaging development • Pre and post production planning • Team management • Project management • Client relations Responsibilities • Manage team of editors and a daily edit schedule, coordinating all pre and post production schedules • Production messaging for all client accounts in the Media Services Department • Daily management of client accounts, serving as direct point of contact for clients concerning matters of production, often done in tandem with other client managers • Coordinate bites and b-roll package production • Write questions for on-camera interviews • Coordinate field shoots and logistics • Draft and write slates, produce and write web packages • Implement client revisions Experience/Skills

• Exceptional verbal, written, analytic and project management skills, such as managing client expectations in regard to deliverables and timelines • Experience in news or Broadcast PR • Excellent communication and interpersonal skills; ability to communicate effectively with co-workers and manage working relationships diplomatically • Solid organizational and time management skills; ability to set priorities, multitask and meet deadlines in a fast-paced work setting • Degree in communications, journalism, public relations or a related field • Excellent writing, proofreading and editing ability To be considered for this full-time position, please submit your resume, cover letter, and salary requirements by email to Anne Roberts, VP-Media Services (jobs@homefront.tv) and specify the job title in the subject line of the email. No phone calls, please. EOE.

*The Council for Advancement and Support of Education (CASE) has an opening in D.C. for a senior editor to produce its magazine:
Company: Council for Advancement and Support of
Position: Seeking Magazine Editor
Location: Washington , District of Columbia
Job Status: Full-time
Salary: Not Specified
Ad Expires: May 24, 2010
Job ID: 819982

Council for Advancement and Support of Education (CASE) is recruiting for a Senior Editor. CASE is the premier international association for alumni relations, communications, and fund-raising professionals at educational institutions.

The Senior Editor works with the CURRENTS editorial team to produce the magazine on time, within budget, and to the highest possible standards of quality. This includes commissioning, editing, writing, and contributing to the magazine’s overall development.

Job Responsibilities:

1.         Manages all the editorial development for one beat and shares with the other editors the editorial development for an additional beat in CURRENTS. These tasks include but are not limited to the following: planning editorial content, cultivating authors and sources, commissioning stories, and editing articles (copyediting and substantive editing). Plans and writes feature articles of various formats and lengths, as needed.

2.         Plans and edits one column. These tasks include but are not limited to the following: planning editorial content, cultivating authors and sources, commissioning the column, and editing the column (copyediting and substantive editing).

3.         Plans, writes, and edits articles for various departments, short-format pieces and related Web content.

4.         Contributes to other editing and production for every issue, including writing captions, headlines, subheads, and pull quotes; helping other editors vet the content and focus of manuscripts and articles; copyediting and proofreading at various stages of magazine production; contributing ideas to art direction and concepts; and pitching in on production tasks.

Visit www.case.org, career central, jobs with CASE for a complete job description.

Education and Experience Required: Bachelor’s degree, preferably in journalism, and at least five years’ experience in magazine editorial work or on a newspaper.

Skills and Abilities Required: Strong editing and writing skills that require no initial coaching; proficiency in rules and application of grammar and punctuation, substantive editing, copyediting, and proofreading. Proven problem-solving skills. Good interpersonal skills and proven ability to work independently and professionally with members and high-level sources and contributors. Knowledge of education and advancement is desirable.

To apply Email: reilly@case.org. Include three writing samples or links to three samples and your salary requirements along with a cover letter and resume.

*And last but not least today, the Herald-Mail, a daily newspaper in nearby Hagerstown, Md., has several reporting positions open, including the following one for a cops/courts reporter. Who knew anyone was still hiring cops and courts reporters these days? (Applause from all of us who got our start this way!) This is a great way to gain real reporting experience in the area:
Company: The Herald-Mail Company
Police/Court Reporter
Hagerstown, Maryland
Job Status: Full-time
Salary: Not Specified
Ad Expires:
May 25, 2010
Job ID: 1164609
Website: http://news@herald-mail.com

Police/court reporter The Herald-Mail, an award-winning daily newspaper in Maryland, is seeking a reporter to cover the police and court beat. The police and court reporter covers all aspects of public safety in Washington County, Md., with a focus on breaking news, and police, fire and court coverage. The police and court reporter must be an expert in court procedures. This reporter must cultivate contacts in police departments, the courthouse, the State’s Attorney’s office, the Public Defender’s office, the county magistrate office, and the federal court system, and must know all of the judges in Circuit and District courts. This reporter must have a sense of urgency about getting breaking news for the Web. This person needs to have excellent writing and reporting skills. A bachelor’s degree in journalism is required. Experience reporting at a daily newspaper is preferred. The ability to shoot and edit video is a plus. The workweek for this position is generally Monday through Friday, 8 a.m. to 5 p.m., with occasional weekend work and other hours as needed. Interested applicants should e-mail a cover letter, resume and clips to news@herald-mail.com, or mail application materials to Executive Editor; The Herald-Mail Company; P.O. Box 439; Hagerstown, MD 21740.

Happy hunting!


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How to check out your own references When are you providing too much detail?

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