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Reasons for rejection

Discussion in 'Journalism topics only' started by CarlSpackler, Aug 8, 2012.

  1. CarlSpackler

    CarlSpackler Active Member

    Perhaps the most annoying aspect of this business, other than never getting a raise in four years, having my gas mileage reimbursement rate cut nearly in half and my health insurance costs increased by a month's rent per year, is the difficulty moving forward. Job rejections typically come with the stock response of "We think you're very talented but unfortunately you did not make the cut. Good luck in your search." I understand why this is the case; I've been in the editor's seat before and it's impossible to get back to everyone with specifics when there's so many other things to do. However, that reality makes it no less frustrating when you're the one getting rejected.

    Basically, I'm wondering if anyone knows of any way to get specific feedback about how to strengthen your clips and resume. I feel stuck because I don't know how to better choose what I'm sending out to people, or if there are specific things they are looking for that I'm missing. Sometimes I don't even know if anyone actually read a word I wrote.

    Is starting a forum where people could put up resumes and clips for this type of feedback a good idea? I accept that I have to get better, but it's difficult when no one ever provides input on how to do so.
  2. Carl, many years ago I felt like I was in the same situation. Don't waste your time posting your stuff here. I would find a mentor in the field -- someone you don't work for -- and explain what you're looking for, guidance and advice. My experience is the person you approach will probably feel flattered that you think so much of him or her. Let that person critique your work and give suggestions on which clips to send. I wouldn't focus too much on the resume. It is what it is, as long as you are straightforward in your approach.

    Hope this helps, and good luck.
  3. Mark2010

    Mark2010 Active Member


    I understand where you are coming from. I've felt that way a few times myself.

    What I've come to understand is that the guy/gal who gets a job isn't always better. Inother words, it's not a reflection on me. Not like being beat in a race at the Olympics.

    Some of the most talented, hardest-working people I've known have labored away for years and years at smaller papers making little money. While some (not all) of the people I've known from larger paper were the biggest tools. So don't make the mistake of equating the size of your paper, or your paycheck, with your ability. I really believe a great deal of "career advancement" --- in any business -- has to do with who you know.

    It's admirable you want to improve and I'm sure there are those who will offer an honest critique. If you want, I'd take a look. But remember it's always going to be subjective. I've done some contest judging and, sheesh, talk about hard calls to make. It often just comes down to what strikes a particular reader. I've written pieces and gotten feedback from people who told me the piece was (1) brillant and (2) a piece of crap.
  4. JimmyHoward33

    JimmyHoward33 Well-Known Member

    Agree with Marc. Its not all or always clips....sometimes just networking, knowing people and having a good reference of connection means as much or more.
  5. CarlSpackler

    CarlSpackler Active Member

    I know I'm good enough, which is which makes is all the more frustrating. Sally Jenkins once read one of my features and told me "I'll see you around. You're going to make it in this business." And she meant it. But that was four years ago. My writing and reporting is much better than it was at that point, yet here I am. I guess I'm just grasping for straws at why I could elicit that response from someone of that caliber and feel like I haven't come close to living up to that billing.

    I know networking is a huge part of it. There are people I went to college with who are weaker writers than me but have far better gigs. At the same time, every time I see an opening I can think of at least five people I know that seem more qualified for it than myself. And it's not like any of my friends from home or college can relate to this stuff in any way. So I start threads on the internet.
  6. jackfinarelli

    jackfinarelli Well-Known Member

    Any chance you might approach Sally Jenkins to serve as the mentor that lone star scribe mentioned above?
  7. CarlSpackler

    CarlSpackler Active Member

    I suppose that's a possibility. At this point I need to get over my moral qualms about bothering people who I assume are too busy to deal with the role of becoming my personal Crash Davis.
  8. Mark2010

    Mark2010 Active Member


    I understand and admire your desire to improve your skills and move up, however you may define it.

    Just be careful of not falling into the trap of comparing yourself (in any area of life) to others. That can drive you nuts.
  9. UNCGrad

    UNCGrad Well-Known Member

    I admit I've always had a really hard time with this, especially considering the lack of really being able to make the kind of money others do. But I've got an incredible wife and a wonderful little girl, and even though things have been looking up for me professionally the last couple of years, I know I'd be nothing without my girls. When I'm down, I hug on them and usually I'm OK after that.
  10. Mark2010

    Mark2010 Active Member

    Great point, mate. I've seen too many instances of people getting screwed by a job they love that didn't love them back.

    Please understand. I'm not saying don't care. It's great to care, to be passionate about what you do, to always strive to improve. I'm just saying don't let the emotions involved with rejection and things outside of your control to define who you are as a person.
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