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To ex-journalists who have made career changes...

Discussion in 'Journalism topics only' started by 1GreytWriter, Jan 31, 2015.

  1. 1GreytWriter

    1GreytWriter Member

    How did you do it? What made you decide on whatever new career path you chose?

    Aside from the troubles I'm having at my current job (recap here), I'm not seeing a whole lot of positivity for the journalism field as a whole. Stories of layoffs, buyouts and everything else you guys know about doesn't lead me to want to stick around. I have tried therapy (at least Current Job is large enough to offer an EAP as a benefit), and while things at my job aren't really that improved, I *do* feel empowered to think about the future and other options I might have. Whereas before therapy, I figured I may as well suck it up because this was the only thing I felt I could do.

    There are some things I'm obviously not good at. For example, I'm not a very good copy editor. :p I am not really a hands-on person, so I'd probably struggle with anything mechanical or anything that required a good amount of coordination. I also don't know if I fancy myself as much of a salesperson. If I am driving myself nuts now trying to catch every mistake I make, I can't see myself doing well at meeting sales quotas when numbers are down. (When I wanted to work with a sports team, I heard so much that selling tickets was the entry point, and I never knew if I had the personality for that.)

    However, I do have upsides. I get a lot of compliments for my communication skills, especially with other departments at my job when requesting revisions and providing good examples of what needs to be done. My coworkers tell me I'm good at building relationships with the team and creating a good atmosphere. I have a part-time in social media job that requires a lot of getting awareness out about our brand (small company), and I get told I do a great job engaging with others on social platforms. I've also helped compile information for research projects and was recently given the responsibility of helping to execute an editorial calendar of sorts. My job is more product/brand-focused than it is media-focused, and I'm enjoying it, and my supervisor keeps telling me I'm doing great.

    My success in my social media position has led me to consider moving in the direction of marketing communications. I considered a social media career, but I see that as too narrow for a path and feel going into marcom could be a good choice given some of my writing experience plus the social media role. The only thing I'm lacking there, though, is design ability.

    Any suggestions, stories, ideas? I also have What Color is Your Parachute and have started to read that and complete those exercises.
  2. BDC99

    BDC99 Well-Known Member

    It sounds to me like some sort of marketing communications or internal communications would be your best bet. I am still wondering how you can write and self-edit but not be at least a passable copy editor. Your posts her don't seem to have many errors that stick out, so what is it? Just a hang-up when you have to edit someone else's stuff, or just lack of experience. I am starting to wrestle with this same question, and while they might not be as interesting as news/sports, there are communications and technical writing jobs that could fit your skills.
  3. 1GreytWriter

    1GreytWriter Member

    I actually went into my position knowing I really didn't have editing experience, so it was a tough battle. But with the economy the way it was at the time (2010), I didn't have many other options. And to be honest, I thought that if you could write, you could also edit.

    Yeah, learned too late that it doesn't go hand in hand.
  4. Most technical writing careers deal with IT, no? I've heard people say that the writing in journalism is completely different from technical writing.
  5. WriteThinking

    WriteThinking Well-Known Member

    Some suggestions/pieces of advice you might try:

    If your city has a Jobs/Career Center, go there and see what's available in the way of job possibilities, seminars, practice interviews, typing tests (and take one so you have an updated certificate as to your official words per minute). It's good to know/have as proof if you go for any types of office/administrative jobs.

    Check on temp-job agencies in your area and sign up with one, or a couple. They're a good way to get some leads on things, and oftentimes, they will bring things to you, so you don't have to do all the work of finding the jobs. Also, the jobs are temporary and won't last forever if you don't like them, but also, some of them can be pretty long-term and take away some of the immediate pressure of financial desperation. They're also a good way to just try and do different things. I know somebody who consistently works temp jobs through agencies, and it allows her to work pretty much as much, or as little, as she wants.

    Check your city and county web sites and apply for things through those. There are many jobs -- many good jobs -- of many different types, that are often available, although you should be aware that the hiring process can be lengthy and arduous. It is also refreshingly straightforward and oftentimes more fair than with other jobs, too, though.

    Consider things you like, or things you have always thought you might like, and see if those might be possibilities, and what it would take to make such jobs happen.

    Consider things outside of journalism/media, particularly if you're leaving because you're not that happy in them, anyway. There's a whole, other big world out there, and you might never know what you might end up liking or being good at if you don't try it.
  6. 93Devil

    93Devil Well-Known Member

    Social media job or education.
  7. bevo

    bevo Member

    A communications/marketing/PR job can be tough to get if you're not a reporter. You have to be out there and have your name known. Everyone I know from journalism who went into those type of positions were usually high profile. It also helps to have some kind of degree for that. A journalism degree alone usually won't cut it.
  8. RecoveringJournalist

    RecoveringJournalist Well-Known Member

    I'm a sales manager for one of the big tech companies. I've been doing it for almost five years.

    I had gotten to the point where I was applying everywhere, but the HR woman who interviewed me actually understood the pluses of having a former journalist. As soon as she said, "I'll bet your great on deadline and can write up reports really well..." I wanted to hug her. So many other places looked at journalism experience with the same disdain as if I had been fired from Taco Bell.
  9. Rusty Shackleford

    Rusty Shackleford Active Member

    I got into internal comms in a big company. When i started, i was told what seperated me was my journalism experience. Plus, youve got built-in skills for media relations. But of course, you need to live in a big city generally, since that tends to be where big companies are located.
  10. 1GreytWriter

    1GreytWriter Member

    I am willing to relocate. I'm single in my late 20s and have a separate savings account for moving expenses. I'm not kidding myself into thinking my city (population roughly 40K) would have the right opportunity.

    I appreciate all the insights so far!
  11. old_tony

    old_tony Well-Known Member

    This article is great, and it also contains three links that are also great. The first link is written as a letter of recommendation. I was particularly lucky that the woman who wrote it was a news anchor and then a news director in my town.

    If you're applying in the marketing/pr area, make this link and the links within it a part of your presentation. I'm now working in marketing and my boss said he totally agrees with these links. Marketing is great, too. Mostly M-F 9-5.
  12. Ace

    Ace Well-Known Member

    I transitioned into a communications role with a health insurance company and was surprised at the number of communications jobs. And different groups depending on who the message is for -- doctors, members, public affairs, internal, IT, etc.

    So lots of opportunities to write and edit in the health care field but it helps to have SOME kind of health care experience ( which could be volunteering at the VA or taking a nursing class or something.
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