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Getting a "no" for the first time

Discussion in 'Journalism topics only' started by the_rookie, Jun 23, 2006.

  1. Tom Petty

    Tom Petty Guest

    and how's that different for you during your second ... third ... fourth ... fifth ... seventh ... eighth ... ninth ...
  2. lono

    lono Active Member

    The best thing that ever happened to me in this business was receiving a hand-written and very hateful letter from an editor at the Wall Street Journal who ripped me a new asshole just for having the temerity to ask him for a job when I obviously didn't have the experience, the resume, etc. to work for him.

    It was savage.

    I took it very personally.

    And I took it as a challenge to become better at what I did. In the long run, it served as a great motivator to work hard and raise my game.

    The WSJ guy who was such a prick to me got let go a couple of years later. :D
  3. cranberry

    cranberry Well-Known Member

    I have a stack of rejection letters from some of the top sports editors in the country dating back to my initial job search back in 1980. I still look through the stack once and a while and chuckle. I remember writing my queries on my Olympus portable typewriter and putting the clips packages together at the kitchen table of my mom and dad's house. It only takes one positive response, so let the rejections strengthen your resolve.
  4. EE94

    EE94 Guest

    The guy shouldn't have been so prickish, but I can understand his frustration when applications that clearly don't qualify take up time.
    I've received more than my share of letters - and worse, phone calls - from people straight out of college who feel qualified to work at a large daily - on the biggest beat, no less - because they have followed the local team since they were in diapers and because they wrote for their college paper.

    I have often wanted to rip off a letter like your WSJ guy saying "Get a clue" but had the decency not to.

    If that letter motivated you and served as a wakeup call, you should be, in a weird way, grateful to the guy for telling it like it is.
  5. DyePack

    DyePack New Member

    Total, complete bullshit.

    Fucktards are hired every day to positions they never should be within pissing distance of.

    For any dumbass hiring executive to have the temerity to tell someone they are not qualified based on the hiring that does happen is simply asinine.
  6. Gold

    Gold Active Member

    You can't let those things get to you. All they can do is say no - they can't take your ability or your drive or your humanity away from you.

    Let me tell you a story. There is someone who is a top sports writer at a New York newspaper today.

    One time, he applied for a job at a paper a step below that. He worked for a small daily paper which wasn't respected. He received a really nasty response to the effect of we don't have a position and we don't think you will ever be good enough to work here.

    Well, the guy did get a job at that paper before going to the big daily newspaper. And after he was there for a while, he posted the nasty rejection letter on the wall of his cubicle.

    Keep the faith, yoshii
  7. Kaylee

    Kaylee Member

    Everything's been pretty much said here. Hate to say it, but these things ARE part of the business. It's best to try to have a sense of humor about these things. After all, this is why most vets in this biz have sent out more clip packages than they'd care to count. Just about everyone, even some of the guys you might look up to, have been rat-a-tat-tatted with rejection slips at one point or another.

    I remember when I was one of two finalists for a gig at a large paper. I finished second. And I remember...after the desire to cut my balls off with a pair of wirecutters due to sheer frustration passed...thinking that this was in fact a victory. Prior to that point, all I had gotten were impersonal rejection letters. I knew I had raised my game, because suddenly I was getting rejected in a far more sophisticated way.

    Don't take it hard. Keep at it and eventually you'll snag something.
  8. SportsDude

    SportsDude Active Member

    I got drunk and threw empty beer bottles at their building. Wait, that was my current employer. Nevermind.
  9. Smokey33

    Smokey33 Member

    Once while waiting to hear back about a job I'd interviewed for, a friend who worked at that paper told me I probably wasn't getting the job. I proceeded to drink away my sorrows until about 6 a.m. At about 9 a.m. I get a call from said paper offering me the job.

    A couple weeks later I had to un-accept that job for an even better one.

    Your luck can turn around quickly.
  10. Birdscribe

    Birdscribe Active Member

    Dead. On. Nails.

    I'd of phrased it a little differently than Dye, but he couldn't be more right.

    It's called class. Too many people in this business lack it.

    I used to have the bathroom to my college apartment wallpapered with my rejections letters. Even had them in rough geographic order, with the classy ones from SportsJournalists.com denizen Pete Wevurski and Jeff Jordan, formerly of the Spokane Spokesman-Review in one corner and the snide, condescending ones (typically from New England papers) in the other.

    I'll never forget one, from a small/mid-sized Massachusetts paper that borders a body of water. The SE basically said that you're not good enough to work here, you'll never be good enough to work here and why are you even wasting my time applying to my holy shrine of a sports department.

    Keep in mind, this wasn't the Boston Globe or Hartford Courant. It was a 40k paper.

    A decade or so later, a buddy of mine at the LA Times tells me to apply to a paper in the Northwest that a former cohort of his works at. I do... but make the mistake of sending some clips to their "hiring and development editor" (now if there's a Supreme Being presiding over all these newspaper cutbacks, this person will be the next one to fall on her sword). She answers back with this snotty letter saying that "I haven't read your clips, but you oughta get some experience at a bigger paper before applying here."

    This, coming from the same paper that had a 20something covering golf at the time.

    You know something, EE94. There are people on this board who are in their 20s and 30s who can write and report circles around people you work with, so I'd back off the "get a clue" attitude just a bit. I"m not saying that every person deigning to apply to your journalistic Mt. Olympus is qualified to work there, but perhaps if you took the time to actually READ what some people are sending you instead of turning up your nose, you'd be pleasantly surprised.
  11. clutchcargo

    clutchcargo Active Member

    This has been a pretty interesting thread. Let me offer a few thoughts that I hope offer some help and perspective:

    1. Just like in sales, every "no" puts you one step closer to your next "yes."

    2. Keep the resume pithy but power-packed with specific achievements and experience without embellishment. Don't be a George O'Leary.

    3. Write a cover letter of no more than one page that shows sincere interest and a personal touch. You must first sell the available job to yourself.

    4. Don't get bent out of shape with no/long-delayed response. Send your terrific letter and resume to a job you really want, then as soon as you mail it, move on to the next one and then the next one, etc., so you always have something to occupy yourself and take your mind off of obsessing over one opening, even after you manage to get an interview. To keep your hope up and a positive attitude, always be looking at your next mail-in. Keep yourself occupied.

    5. If you get get the call or the interview, do NOT ask about salary or reveal your desired range, even when they ask for it in job description. An expert on job interviewing told me that years ago, and he was absolutely right. Let them bring up the topic of salary and force them to be first with naming a number. There's an old maxim in job interviews--he who gives a number first, loses.

    6 I understand heartbreak. Smalltown kid from rural state DREAMS of someday working for SI, and out of the blue years later, an SI poobah acquaintance calls asking me if I'd be interested in a specific job. I said yes, took an editing test, was told I done good and then waited for three months. Finally got a day's worth of interviews in NY with all the big guns as one of two finalists, only to get told three days before Christmas I didn't get it. My acquaintance who called me back told me with a shaking voice that it had been pretty much a push between me and the other guy, and he had fought for me. I know him well enough to believe him. Broke my heart, and that was almost 10 years ago. Life goes on.
  12. Tom Petty

    Tom Petty Guest

    that's odd because i just usually kinda feel sad for someone when it becomes abundantly clear they applied for the job and were way out of their league.

    but "giving it a shot" is kinda the american way. maybe you just should take solice in the fact they didn't call you.
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