Help Wanted: From graduation to gainful employment

Getting your name – and your work – out there by ayhosier
Alexis Hosier

Alexis Hosier

I am still looking for that foot in the door opportunity, however, in the meantime I am shaking hands and meeting new people. People in the business are willing to help. I can’t thank people enough for their advice on signing contracts, applying for jobs and anything else that is helpful to getting a job in Sports Broadcasting.

It is extremely important to get your name, face and personality out there and see what happens. You never know who might like you enough to give you an interview. I am still looking for that job in sports, but I have been told that patience is the key.

I continue to use,, Twitter, Facebook and anything else to network. CareerScribe and LinkedIn are professional networks that allow people to see polished information about yourself. On CareerScribe I am able to post recent stories that I have done and send that out to potential employers. It is a constant timeline of new things I am working on. Also, on LinkedIn I am able to make connections with people and build a network. I use Twitter and Facebook to post any recent stories I have done with I am hoping that a lot of people see these stories and maybe someone will notice my work. Having a job by the time I graduate in two weeks doesn’t seem realistic, but I’d like to think that I’m ahead of the game.


Building a portfolio by Adam Clair
April 27, 2009, 4:47 pm
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Adam Clair

Adam Clair

Gone are the days, it seems, when someone could possibly hope to be hired with only writing experience. A journalist is no longer someone with just a pen and a pad (and one of those cool little hats with the press credential sticking out).

No, today’s journalist needs more. He or she needs all sorts of video and photo equipment, and, more importantly, the expertise to use it all.

So that’s what I’ve spent the last year, and especially the last few months, doing. Any opportunity to diversify my skills is an opportunity I take.

For example, I got an e-mail this past week from WPSU, State College’s NPR affiliate, about turning my column from this past week into a commentary for the radio. They can’t pay me, but it would make a nice clip for my portfolio, showing off abilities I haven’t shown otherwise. So I’m going to do it.

What that entails is re-writing the column into something more radio-friendly (rearranging the structure, simplifying the sentences, shortening the piece overall, etc), and then going into the studio to read it at some point. These are skills fairly similar to those I already have and have demonstrated, but they’re different enough that they’re worth trying.

At worst, I waste some of my time and come away without anything to show for it. But at best, I have another clip to further diversify my portfolio and make my odds better — even just a little tiny bit — for finding a job.

Tweeting for a job by ahoffstrom
April 27, 2009, 12:53 pm
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Amanda Hoffstrom

Amanda Hoffstrom

Do you want instant updates on the job market from career experts, online job boards or specific companies you hope to work for? My advice is to join Twitter and start following the people who will point you in the direction of your first job.

A few months ago, I was extremely skeptical of Twitter. I saw it as a Facebook status-like update with nothing more than people telling each other what they were doing all day. Why would I ever need to know that?

Then, my dad sent me a list of hot tips for a cool job market from the University of Michigan parent newsletter, and in it was a link to a list of 50 Twitter users to follow if you’re searching for a job. I took one look at the list and decided I would test it out.

Though I follow nearly all from the list, the five that I’ve found most helpful are:

  1. Willy Franzen (@willyf), the founder of One Day, One Job – “the insider’s guide to unique and exciting entry level job and career opportunities for recent college graduates,” who also put together the list of top Twitter users to follow
  2. Heather Huhman (@heatherhuhman), who almost always posts about internships or entry-level public relations positions
  3. Lindsey Pollak (@lindseypollak), author of “Getting from College to Career”
  4. Steven Rothberg (@stevenrothberg), the man behind
  5. Alison Doyle (@alisondoyle), author of “Internet Your Way To a New Job”

In this world of social media, Twitter offers a quick way to stay connected to leaders in your chosen profession. In my case, news organizations are just as important to follow as the career experts. I also follow companies I’m interested in working for, previous employers, journalism and media job boards, and yes, some friends.

I have found that once you start following someone, they often follow you back, and may respond to you if you post a question or solicit advice about looking for a job. If you follow the right people, you can also find job openings. I have applied to positions via Twitter’s job search engine and through links companies post on their account.

If you are skeptical of Twitter, try it. You might like it.

Gaining advice to stand out by ahoffstrom
April 23, 2009, 7:01 pm
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Amanda Hoffstrom

Amanda Hoffstrom

The beauty of looking for your first job is that everyone has advice to offer about the process. I have heard advice from my parents, my dentist, my professors, my neighbors, my friends and their parents. To put these wise words into context, I signed up for a journalism class that focuses on professional practices—what I like to call my job-search class. This class is definitely where I have heard the most practical advice about finding a first job.

My adviser said the most important thing in searching for your first job is to manage your expectations. This is something I’ve had to come to grips with as resumes go out and either I hear nothing or get rejection letters.

Other advice I’ve heard:

  • Define where you want to live and work
  • Network as much as possible with alumni, neighbors, teachers, previous employers—tell everyone you know that you are looking for a job
  • Update your resume often—it’s a living document
  • Start a blog
  • Look at newspaper ads and job placement Web sites (though the best jobs are almost never there), associations and company Web sites. Try cold calling as well
  • Make a plan to follow-up with potential employers
  • Send thank you notes after interviewing—it could be the difference between getting the job or not.

While I am taking this advice and using it to make myself stand out, I’m also taking into consideration advice I’ve heard in my classes too.

From my creative nonfiction professor I am learning how to write story pitches in order to freelance, which is not something I had really considered before this semester. With staff positions getting cut from newspapers and magazines, it does not seem like a bad path to explore. My professor says all you need is a good idea, a strong pitch that sells you as a writer, says specifically why you’re the perfect person for their publication and highlights previous publications for which you’ve written, as well as the correct name of the publication’s assignment editor, which changes a lot. She advised looking at a book called “The Writers Market” that lists information about literary publications throughout the country, who to send pitches to, what kind of writing they publish and whether or not they pay on acceptance or publication, among other things. Though this book may be outdated the moment it’s printed, I take comfort knowing there are so many publications out there publishing new talent.

I am in a digital media class that focuses on the shift from ethics in traditional print journalism and public relations to ethics of new media. In combination with my love of social networking, the course is allowing me to appreciate the Internet more as a strong journalistic medium. I think it also is making me a better reporter because I can see different ways to present information while maintaining the values of journalism. This class introduced me to Twitter, which I now update on a regular basis (follow me @takethelede). I now follow career experts with job-search tips, companies that post jobs and actual job boards. More on this in my next post.

Mired in journalistic malaise by Adam Clair
April 23, 2009, 4:22 pm
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Adam Clair

Adam Clair

I didn’t get into journalism to make money. Nobody does.

I got into it because I like telling stories and because I have so few of my own to tell. And, for the last few years, that’s what I’ve done as often as I could. I’ve held numerous senior positions with the Daily Collegian. I interned at Philadelphia Weekly. I freelanced for about a dozen different online and print music magazines that no one has ever heard of.

Let me digress before this turns into a cover letter.

Anyway, while I’m not shocked I don’t yet have a $100,000 salary lined up for when I graduate in May (and, frankly, don’t ever expect to make that much as a journalist), it sucks that I don’t have any job at all.

Not that I haven’t been looking. I’ve sent my resume to a thousand different places, only to find that none are hiring. I’ve tried talking to the people I know already entrenched in the journalism industry, but most are too busy updating their own resumes for fear of layoffs to help me out.

It’s discouraging.

So I’m trying to diversify a bit. Four years ago, I was almost certain I’d be working for a newspaper. Now, I’m not so sure. I’m not even sure newspapers will still exist four years from now.

Desperate times call for desperate measures. Everything is fair game: magazines, web sites, radio stations, publishing houses. Anyone who will pay me to write. Except, of course, public relations firms. I’m not that desperate yet.

But I’m getting pretty close.

Trying to get a foot in the door by Michelle Starr
April 20, 2009, 9:21 pm
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Alexis Hosier

Alexis Hosier

I am about to graduate in three weeks from college with a degree in Sport Communication-Broadcast and a minor in Telecommunications. I could not be happier with the career path that I have chosen because I love what I do. However, finding a job hasn’t been as happy as my college experience. I am currently applying to TV stations around the country trying to find a Sports Reporter/Anchor/Producer position.

I have sent out resume DVD’s quite a few places, but have heard nothing back so far.

Let me give you a brief rundown of my resume. Having worked at three different media outlets since starting college I feel I am very well qualified for starter position as an on-air sports talent.

My whole life I have grown up around sports and I am very knowledgeable about a lot of sports. I am not your typical girl who sits on the sidelines and doesn’t know what is going on.

I work for Indiana University Student Television where I report, anchor, write for the script, edit and shoot. Along with that I work for, The College Network where I have covered many sporting events such as the NCAA Men’s Basketball tournament, Big Ten Men’s Basketball tournament and the Kelvin Sampson scandal at IU.

I also worked for WISH-TV in Indianapolis for the Sports Department for a year. At WISH I learned to use Avid editing suite, become a better interviewer and write for the script. WISH-TV gave me the opportunity to cover high school football and basketball state finals. I also got to interview racecar drivers at the Indianapolis 500 and Brickyard 400.

Along with all of those I had the opportunity – thanks to – to cover a high-profile federal trial in Indianapolis for the New York Post. I have also appeared as a guest on a sports talk show at the student radio station on campus.

With that said, I feel as if I am well qualified to enter the workforce. I have put in my time as a volunteer, intern and balanced it all while being a student that is consistently on the Dean’s List. The frustrating part is that finding a job has been extremely difficult so far.

My career adviser at IU has turned me to a couple great networking sites including These sites allow you to make connection with future employers or people you have made connections with in the past.

The question is, what more do we have to do to get our foot in the door? I will wrap it up for now, but to anyone reading this: Don’t get frustrated. My Dad always tells me that an “opportunity” will come along. Until then, keep looking and working as hard as you can.

Looking for one company to say yes by Michelle Starr
April 20, 2009, 12:05 pm
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Amanda Hoffstrom

Amanda Hoffstrom

As a journalism major, I did not expect the job search to be seamless, but it has been more challenging than I originally expected. Someone once told me that looking for a job is a full-time job in itself, and they were right. It is especially difficult with full-time school, a part-time job and all the activities that come with the final months of college at the University of Wisconsin-Madison to send out perfect resumes and cover letters.

The economic downturn certainly hasn’t helped either. I have been discouraged by newspapers filing for bankruptcy or cutting staff positions, as well as magazines ceasing publication. I am mainly looking for a job at a newspaper, magazine or online publication as a writer, reporter or assistant editor. However, I am open for any position that encourages creativity, analytical thinking and strong communication skills.

The good news (if there can be good news in a bad economy) is that there are companies out there hiring new grads. I have seen openings online in both journalism and public relations on job boards and company Web sites. I have applied to positions at newspapers, magazines, news blogs, Web sites, public relations firms and book publishing houses. I have also widened my search to include three- to six-month internships because I still see myself as a student of the profession. I have used LinkedIn and other outlets to seek job prospects through neighbors, previous employers and professors as well.

Though my job search has not solicited the results I want yet, I am not giving up. I am sending out work samples as often as I can in the hopes that my experience will match what a hiring manager is looking for. As my dad says, it only takes one company to say yes.