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Are you looking for the job that isn't advertised?

Discussion in 'Journalism topics only' started by HejiraHenry, Jul 28, 2006.

  1. HejiraHenry

    HejiraHenry Well-Known Member

    Those of you who post here talking about your frustration with job searches rightly spend a lot of time looking at the job postings here and at, say, JournalismJobs.com, but there are job openings every day in this field -- and most others -- that are never advertised.

    Last week, I took over as SE at a 36K daily -- and the job was never posted. I had previous experience here and that led me back to this place after a brief sojourn.

    The week before I got here, the outdoors writer left -- and that job was filled last week without the need to advertise. That in turn, created a desk opening that must be filled quickly -- and I get the impression that job won't be advertised, either.

    Is there a moral to this story? Don't wait for papers you like in places where you want to work to post advertisements. Get yourself known by the editors who do the hiring at the places you'd like to work. The good SE's -- Lynn Hoppes. is a good example -- is always looking for talent for the future. He e-mailed me once based on a portfolio of mine online, and I wouldn't be surprised if he didn't do the same to Chris Olds, who's now a designer in Orlando.

    Now that's an approach that may not everywhere. I don't care how many times you try to pry the lid off the NYT or WashPost, that probably won't work. But it's an approach that can work in those "mid-major" settings where you're most like to be able to progress quickly -- and where there is often quite a bit of turnover.

    One of the best hires I ever made was a reporter who walked in off the street one day and asked if we had any jobs. We didn't, but we soon did.

    I was once told specifically by a desk editor that a newspaper wasn't hiring -- but he didn't know that his bosses wanted some more weekend depth on the desk, and that was how I got inside the door there -- because I kept asking. A summer gig turned into a decent fulltime job.

    It seems to me the book "What Color is My Parachute" talks about the ways you go about looking for jobs besides waiting at home for an ad to show up that appeals to you. If you're serious about your career, you can't afford to be that passive,
  2. That's some great advice. My first gig (which I started last year) wasn't advertised either.
  3. accguy

    accguy Member


    I've preached about all of this too many times on this board. I don't think any of the last three jobs I got hired for was ever posted (one might have been, but my memory is a bit fuzzy). If you don't think this business is about knowing people and networking and getting your name out there and putting yourself in position to be hired.

    I know this is a hokey, stupid football-coach kind of saying but luck/getting a big break is really the combination of hard work and opportunity.
  4. BH33

    BH33 Member

    Another thing I've learned is that a lot of the jobs that are posted are already pretty much filled by the time they are posted. A lot of places post the jobs because they feel they're obligated, I guess, but they already know who they want. The job I'm at now, I had already interviewed by the time they posted it.
  5. LemMan

    LemMan Member

    More proof to this post...

    I interviewed for my current job about two years ago, but was passed over. I liked the paper, the area and the staff, so I kept in touch with the SE and kept sending him clips. Sure enough, last summer, the paper had an opening, and the SE called me long before the opening was published. In fact, I was offered the job a day or two before the ad was published.

    So that is the best way to get around in this business - make your contacts and never stop selling yourself to them.
  6. Tom Petty

    Tom Petty Guest

    but, networking isn't the only way to score a job ... all hope is not lost by applying through ads. i've worked at six stops and four came through networking where the ad never was published. but, the other two, though, the ones i applied for without knowing a soul at the papers, were/are the two best jobs to date.

    the one sure way to score a job, though, is to make sure to give that contact person a call even if they specifically say 'no calls.' rumor has it, they really do like unsolicited contact.
  7. HejiraHenry

    HejiraHenry Well-Known Member

    It's true. The best non-paper job I ever had came through a classified ad in the WashPost. The big thing is, there is no one-size-fits-all answer to the job hunt question.
  8. BH33

    BH33 Member

    That's true, however, I've found it a lot tougher to land a job through ads.

    A couple years ago, I applied to a small paper in northern Montana. I was one of five finalists, but they had over 65 applicants from the ad they posted. And, this is a paper nowhere near college or professional sports.

    You can get jobs through the ads, but you're also going to be competing against more than 100 people in a lot of cases for the good jobs.

    Find the good worth-of-mouth jobs or find one through your contacts, and you might be up against 10-20 people.
  9. HejiraHenry

    HejiraHenry Well-Known Member

    Or be a really good desk guy and go up against two or three others.

    I always liked that math.
  10. podunk press

    podunk press Active Member

    So far, I have landed three journalism jobs in Podunk -- and this is Podunk now, not the Big City.

    Two were locally advertised. That's it.

    One was nationally advertised. But in each case, I had a connection.

    Memo to young folks: Do not burn bridges. Use your connections.
  11. Bob_Jelloneck

    Bob_Jelloneck Member

    Call me. I have plenty of greaaat jobs, opening up every day. ;)
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