1. Welcome to SportsJournalists.com, a friendly forum for discussing all things sports and journalism.

    Your voice is missing! You will need to register for a free account to get access to the following site features:
    • Reply to discussions and create your own threads.
    • Access to private conversations with other members.
    • Fewer ads.

    We hope to see you as a part of our community soon!

Setting up an interview w/o a job opening

Discussion in 'Journalism topics only' started by Van Lingle Mungo, Nov 17, 2007.

  1. I'm trying to grease the skids toward a move to my favorite city, but I don't want to have to rely on national job postings to facilitate it. Considering I don't know anybody at any of the potential places I might want to work (it's roughly 1,000 miles away), this will pretty much be a cold call.

    Basically, I just want a chance to meet briefly, make them aware I exist, and get an idea of what it'd be like to work there. Based on some related job postings I've seen, I'm quite possibly qualified; and in the ballpark at the very least, so I don't think it'd be a complete waste of their time.

    This is all new to me (networking is not one of my best facets), so for those who have done it, or are on the receiving end of it, a few questions:

    1. Are these inquiries generally well received, or a pain in the ass?
    2. What's the most graceful way to broach the subject?
    3. Any horror/success stories?

    I'll hang up and wait for my answer.
  2. RedSmithClone

    RedSmithClone Active Member

    Honestly, I did this back about 8 years ago. I have been looking for something in West Tenn., Arkansas or northern Miss. for a while now. I decided to e-mail the sports editor at a big paper in Tenn. He was very nice and agreed to meet with me when I was down there during my vacation to visit a friend.
    I went down with resume, writing clips, layout clips and one hell of a smile. He gave me the tour of the place, then sat down with me for 30 minutes to talk about the business. There were no openings on full-time staff, but he offered me a job as a call taker to get my foot in the door. Unfortunately I didn't take it and now I'm still hunting for a decent gig down there.
    But this method can create some good networking skills and possibly open doors, even the slighest of cracks.
  3. STLIrish

    STLIrish Active Member

    I've done a lot of this. Probably visited 15 or 20 papers this way, and landed a good job at one of them. It's much more effective than waiting around for a posting on jjobs.com and getting lost in the blizzard of applications. And if you don't know anyone at the place, you're not going to hear about non-advertised openings (which, usually, is most openings). As for your questions:

    1: I think it really depends on the editor. Some will say they're too busy, but smart ones want good candidates in the bag. If they think you're a "pain in the ass," odds are you just won't hear back from them. My response/success rate has probably run about 50 percent.

    2: E-mail, definitely. You don't want to cold call. Let them respond on their own time. Typically I'd have a subject line like "Interested in working at..." and prattle on a bit about how I enjoy their paper and "would love to learn more about what it takes to work there," ... that sort of thing. Maybe a brief bio in the e-mail and attach a resume. Don't worry about clips at this stage, though you could offer to mail some. Be as flexible on dates/times as you can, and, of course, expect to go on your own dime (it is tax deductible if you itemize). If you don't hear back in a week, try again, but don't be a pest.

    3: Horror stories, not really. Just the occasional visit where it was obvious that they were just humoring me. I still learned something and met someone, no harm in that.
    Success stories. Like I said, I got several callbacks when they had openings, tryouts and one job. On that one, I visited with the top editor and we clicked pretty good. He told me to call back and set up a tryout when I was closer to being ready to move (was in grad school at the time). That took a little doing to work out, but eventually I spent two days there. Didn't hear from them afterward. But about two months later, they called out of the blue and offered me a job (which was never advertised). Took six months all told. But I worked there happily for almost three years.
Draft saved Draft deleted

Share This Page