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A Hodgepodge of questions from a soon-to-be graduate....

Discussion in 'Journalism topics only' started by silvershadow1981, Dec 20, 2006.

  1. Morning guys and gals, I'm posting this because I have a bunch of questions that are running through my mind as the calendar turns to 2007. This springs semester coming up marks my final one as an undergrad student, and obviously the time has come to start applying for jobs in our chosen profession. I've sent my clips, resume and references to three papers that had openings on this very board (four overall) and have gotten one response, and that was in the form of a company post card. So with my hand perilously close to the panic button, I ask you fine pros for sage advice and or suggestions;

    1. Is it really a bad idea to have your college clips as a part of your package? I was sports editor of the campus newspaper the last four years, concluding this month (my choice to step aside), and I had one sports reporting internship at the local daily in the summer of 2005, just to outline my experience. According to a friend of mine (who isn't a sportswriter), "Nobody wants to see college clips this late in the game."

    2. Am I even applying too early? I'm quite sure folks want their positions filled ASAP, but a mentor of mine suggested sending my stuff out six months in advance of graduation, which means I've been at it for a little over a month now.

    3. If I am applying to early, when is a good timetable? May 20th will be here before I know it, and I don't plan on lingering around home too long, if at all.

    4. What is the standard waiting time for contacting newspapers if you haven't heard anything from them regarding your package? I've heard anywhere from a week up to a month.

    5. If you don't hear anything back after an e-mail, phone call, etc., should you just chalk it up and move on?

    6. Did you guys ever panic when you were applying for jobs and such? This process is freaking me out and it just started. I'm just determined to start this career that I love and move away from home that I'm starting to think about scenarios I don't even want to think about.

    Long as hell, I know, but I'll be grateful and appreciative for any advice or suggestions you all may have. Thanks.
  2. jgmacg

    jgmacg Guest

  3. Ace

    Ace Well-Known Member

    1. No, provided they are good clips.

    2. No. Couldn't hurt. But don't apply for specific jobs. Just send them a package to let them know you are soon-to-be available.

    3. N/A

    4. How many are you going to send out? If you have applied for a specific job that was posted, I would check back via email in about two weeks to see if there are any questions, etc.

    5. If you have tried more than once and they don't get back, move on, unless it is your dream job or something and you may want to send a follow-up packet down the road to let them know you are still interested.

    6. Yes. I hate even updating my resume.
  4. 1. College clips are OK, but make sure it's something worthy and not just your run-of-the-mill game story. Big feature.
    If you were the SE and have some design clips, include those as well. You're probably only going to get serious looks from smaller papers, where design often is part of your job duty. Show some versatility. Editors like that.

    2. Six months is a bit soon. I actually had a job lined up before I graduated college, but the stress of graduation plus the impending job nearly killed me. Things started heating up about 2-3 months before graduation, so I'd send out e-mails around then.
    As an aside, don't be too quick to jump right into the work force. I'm sure you've heard it already, but don't underestimate the value of having a month or two where you don't have to work or go to school. Hell, mooch off your parents for a little while longer.

    3. Start around March 1.

    4. One or two weeks. Just because you don't hear back, don't panic. You wouldn't believe how long the hiring process can take sometimes. Follow up after two weeks, then after another week. After that, if the paper's interested, they'll call you.

    5. Typically, yes. You don't want to overwhelm an editor with calls, e-mails. That gets annoying.

    6. Relax, it's not the end of the world. There are plenty of jobs out there. Not all of them are necessarily good, or for you. Be patient, and be flexible. When you find the paper you like, do whatever you have to do to get an interview. If it's close, offer to drive there and do it when it's convenient for them.
  5. fishwrapper

    fishwrapper Active Member

    1. Go back to school and get a MBA.
    2. See above.
    3. See above.
    4. See above.
    5. See above.
    6. See above.
  6. Bob Cook

    Bob Cook Active Member

  7. thebiglead

    thebiglead Member

    Actually been pondering that MBA in recent weeks, for when-I'm-45 purposes. Talked to a professor who said that whether you want teach at Podunk U or Columbia, you'll need an MBA. What I didn't get around to asking was, 'does it matter from where?'

    Got the experience in newspapers/magazines, got the BLOG! just curious if I should just get the CUNY MBA, or actually pay for a good one.
  8. Dale Cooper

    Dale Cooper Member

    One thing you should definitely be doing right now -- and get on it fast -- is applying for summer internships. After I graduated, I did not have a job, but I bided my time at a paper with a fairly-impressive name -- whether it was an impressive operation is another story -- and it certainly served as another feather in my cap on my way to landing my first job, which came in the middle of that summer. Any place will let you duck out on an internship for a full-time job. Hiring parties also will like that you have been working and staying sharp. Looks a lot better than if you've been sitting at home, trying to freelance -- something you'll undoubtedly have trouble doing in the summer.

    That said, you should still keep applying for jobs. But, if one does not come along, or if the right one does not come along, a summer internship is an excellent plan B.
  9. fishwrapper

    fishwrapper Active Member

    MBA=Masters of Business Administration
    Meaning, forget journalism.
  10. SockPuppet

    SockPuppet Active Member

    I think you need to try and personalize your attempts.
    Depending on the area of the country you're in, you need to check out an APSE regional meeting. It's worth the time and expense to attend, meet and greet. You'll have a much better chance of landing a job if someone remembers you AND your clips, not just another of the 100s of clips/applications that cross their desk.
    Also, be flexible. If you're serious about the biz _ and God bless ya _ then you need to accept the fact you will probably start at the very bottom _ on the desk, being an agate clerk, covering preps (if you're lucky). If you wind up in a non-writing job and you want to write, volunteer on your own time for any writing assignment you can. Resign yourself to the fact that you might have to work 60 or 80 hour weeks (without OT) in order to move up.
    Good luck.
  11. devils_claw

    devils_claw Member

    1. Is it really a bad idea to have your college clips as a part of your package?
    No. Go with what's your best work. Even if it's a crappy story with a big name in the folio, it's still a crappy story. Now, if it's between two good stories, go with the one that isn't the college paper--but you want everything in your clips to be the best you've got.

    2. Am I even applying too early?
    I would say yes. No one is going to hold an opening for six months. Read the postings, get a feel for what's out there, try to make contacts but don't worry about applying yet.

    3. If I am applying to early, when is a good timetable?
    I would say a month and a half or two months before graduation is your best bet.

    4. What is the standard waiting time for contacting newspapers if you haven't heard anything from them regarding your package?
    Probably about 10 days. Gives them time to actually recieve everything, wait for other candidates, have a life that doesn't revolve around the opening.

    5. If you don't hear anything back after an e-mail, phone call, etc., should you just chalk it up and move on?

    6. Did you guys ever panic when you were applying for jobs and such?
  12. sartrean

    sartrean Member

    I have to agree with fishwrapper here.

    You need a master's degree in this day and age. Doesn't matter what, but you need an advanced degree.

    Newspapers would be oogling you if you had an MBA and a Juris Doctor in addition to a BA in journalism. Of course, you'd never be able to pay back your schools.

    You don't need a job right now, other than another internship over the summer. You need to stay in school while you're still in that mode of living and get an advanced degree in something.

    Or you could sign on at the first weekly that hires you for $18K a year. It's great experience, but after say 10 years of the small paper rotation, you may reach the $25K threshhold.
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