Help Wanted: From graduation to gainful employment


Feeling the deadline pressure by ahoffstrom
July 30, 2009, 7:47 pm
Filed under: Blog | Tags: , , , , , , , ,
Amanda Hoffstrom

Amanda Hoffstrom

The past two and a half weeks have been full of deadlines, and they’ve distracted from my original goal of finding my first post-grad, full-time job.

After I completed my first freelance fact-checking assignment in early July, both of my former intern supervisors at MSP Communications reached out to me about working on more.

It seems that once I turn a fact-checking assignment in, another one comes to my e-mail inbox. I’m not complaining, as I love working for Delta Sky magazine and parent MSP Communications, but it keeps me away from job boards, Twitter feeds and Facebook—though the latter is probably for the best.

Since my last blog post, I’ve verified facts in 11 articles ranging from small sidebars to features about major media moguls. I have two assignments that I’ll turn in by Friday and more coming my way over the weekend.

The pace that I’ve been working this month is faster than I’ve worked in awhile. Finishing a 600-fact article in a little more than two days is no easy feat, especially while you have other articles to work on.

The somewhat frustrating thing about having deadlines again is the reminder that no one in the media world is on the same schedule. Just because I have to have a celebrity interview back to the editor by the end of this week doesn’t mean the person’s publicist can or will have time to go over each fact with me.

However tedious my current service, I am happy that MSP is able to afford the freelancers whose work I check, the editors who assign it out, and me: the former intern turned freelance fact-checker.

Of course, I volunteer in the hopes that it will lead to something bigger with the company, that my talent will be remembered and will help me land a job so I don’t miss the biggest deadline of all—having a job by the end of the summer to avoid moving back to my suburban Minnesota home.

My apartment lease in Madison ends Aug. 14, which is approaching much faster than I’d like. I expect that the next couple of weeks will be a period of confusion, sadness and self-discovery. I’m already preparing for a week full of tears.



OneCubicle.com tries to bridge Facebook, LinkedIn by ahoffstrom
July 13, 2009, 8:27 pm
Filed under: Blog | Tags: , , , , , , ,
Amanda Hoffstrom

Amanda Hoffstrom

In the interest of testing as many job-related social networking sites as possible, I recently joined one of the newest sites, OneCubicle.com, which launched in May.

During an interview with Fox News, OneCubicle CEO Gregg Champion said the site is for “social business networking” for 20-somethings and is meant to be a bridge between Facebook and LinkedIn. He said it was both “employee friendly and employer friendly.”

Although I think the site may be useful, it doesn’t seem like many people are on it or have even heard of it. I tried to ask my Twitter followers and Facebook friends to share their thoughts of OneCubicle.com, but no one got back to me.

I started following @OneCubicle on Twitter to see how many people other than people I know have heard about it. At the time of this post, they had 217 followers on Twitter—not many considering Facebook has more than 90,000, and LinkedIn has about 13,000. My only connection so far is with the company’s CEO, so if you happen to join OneCubicle after reading this post, find me and let’s connect!

The site lets you build a professional profile that lists employment and education history, as well as interests. You can also write messages on your “whiteboard,” put widgets on a public and private “corkboard,” and update your status. Once your profile is made, you can make connections to store in your “rolodex” and search for jobs. You can search for jobs without an account but having one lets you link to company postings.

While building my profile, I found “Marketing, PR & Advertising” and “Media, Sports & Entertainment” but no industry that explicitly includes print journalists. So, I had to create my own “Media, Writing & Editing” industry to tag to my profile. I am concerned a bit that I am now a hidden member since I’m not in the site’s preprogrammed industries, but I don’t think I fit exactly into the others. Maybe it would be better if people could join more than one industry.

The site itself is visually appealing with file folder tabs and a layout that reminds me of something I hung outside the door of my dorm room freshman year. The site also features a “water cooler” with videos like “Extreme Makeover Cubicle Edition” and “Cubicle Cribs.” Something that I think really separates this site from other job-related sites is that it has a 48-hour resume refining service for $9.95 that lets you send two drafts to be revised by professionals. There is also a list of interview dos and don’ts, a list of 10 rules to getting a job and keeping a job, and coming soon, advice from celebrity mentors.

I haven’t applied to any of the jobs listed on the site yet, but I think I will continue to check it out over the next few days. From a quick glance, it seems there are both internships and full-time jobs at companies like Twitter, Apple, Universal Music Group and with the Los Angeles Lakers. Unfortunately, almost all of the jobs posted currently are in California, so unless you want to relocate, you might want to look elsewhere. My guess is that as this site grows, more and more companies will place job openings.

I’m not sure how often I will use the site, but I do think it has a lot more job resources than Facebook and feels younger than LinkedIn. It’s a definite plus to have more job resources because I joined Facebook four years ago purely for social networking, not professional networking. I’m not sure being a young professional site is necessarily a positive. I like being able to connect with older mentors, neighbors and co-workers on LinkedIn because those are the people who will either hire me directly or give me the references I need to successfully network offline. Networking offline, which is something I think I need to work on, is a vital component to job hunting. It’s nice to have another online option, but these sites alone just aren’t enough.

To find out more about OneCubicle, check out the site, find the company on Facebook or follow the blog.



Freelancing for a former employer by ahoffstrom
July 1, 2009, 12:49 pm
Filed under: Blog | Tags: , , , , ,
Amanda Hoffstrom

Amanda Hoffstrom

I spent most of the day Monday working on a freelance fact-checking assignment for one of my former editors at MSP Communications. She needed immediate assistance on a piece for Delta Sky Magazine, and knowing that I could complete it in one day, I was more than happy to volunteer. I even earned some money for it.

MSP Communications acquired publishing rights for Delta Sky at the end of 2008, after publishing NWA WorldTraveler for Northwest Airlines for years. I was an editorial intern at MSP Communications last summer, fact-checking and writing sidebar pieces for the in-flight magazine and many other custom publications.

If you are seeking a paid journalism internship that is in a professional yet welcoming environment and lets you work on multiple projects, while learning from top-notch editors, I highly recommend applying for either a fall, spring or summer internship at MSP. I worked in the custom division, but there are also interns assigned to just Mpls.St.Paul Magazine, one of the flagship publications of the company. It was one of my favorite summers, and I loved working in downtown Minneapolis.

Now that I’m out of school and unemployed, I greatly hope that one day I will return to MSP or a company similar to it. I’ve offered to do freelance assignments for MSP in the hope that volunteering will leave a good impression of my work ethic and perhaps help me land a more permanent position there should one become available.

Meanwhile, I’ll keep in contact with my former intern supervisors, other editors and a fellow intern who extended her position to full time—No. 1 to see how they are doing and No. 2 to hear of any possible openings. Hopefully, I’ll get more freelance work too.