Help Wanted: From graduation to gainful employment


From freelance to fact-checking intern by ahoffstrom
Amanda Hoffstrom

Amanda Hoffstrom

Last Friday, I received some great news: one of my former editors at MSP Communications had gained approval to hire a paid full-time, fact-checking intern and if interested, the position could be mine.

I was elated! Finally, an opening in journalism had come my way after months of hiring rejections, unemployment statistics and self-evaluations. There was no way I could turn it down.

The position, which starts Aug. 17, will take me back to downtown Minneapolis. I don’t think I could be happier about it, especially after looking back at a post from early July and finding I wrote about wanting to work at MSP again:

“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.”

It took work to get back on the company’s radar, namely 15+ freelance fact-checking assignments on a very quick deadline. But my dedication paid off and in less than a week, I’ll be back at a communications company I love. I will not be writing much at the beginning, but there may be room for growth after some time.

Though I am a little bit nervous to start the new job, I feel much more at ease knowing that I’ve worked there before in a similar role. I know the people, I know the atmosphere and I know the publications. I also know that I can be successful.

Before I started my internship at MSP last summer, I had no idea what it meant to be a fact-checker. But anytime I found an inaccurate fact prior to publication, I learned just how important the process is to the reputation of the company.

Because this is a somewhat unconventional internship (it is not on schedule with MSP’s other editorial interns), I’m not sure how long it will be. I was not told it had an end date. My hope is that getting my foot in the door for the second time will give me an edge up on a more permanent position in the future.

For now, this internship is really the best thing I can ask for—working with people I enjoy at a company I respect.

Unfortunately, I will not earn enough money from the internship to fully support myself, so I will have to live at home with my parents and take the bus downtown. I have a more positive outlook on moving home, however, because I’ll be busy during the day and I can save most of the money I make.

If you are still looking for a job, I feel your pain. What I’ve learned from seeking a post-grad job is to never underestimate the value of your own work ethic. You are the only person that can sell yourself. Set goals, volunteer to take additional assignments if you have an internship, freelance if you can for former employers and network with everyone you know.

And who knows, I may be on the job hunt again soon. But, I’m staying optimistic.



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.



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.