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Mona Zhang

Mona is the editor of SocialTimes and social media coordinator at Mediabistro. She graduated from New York University with a degree in journalism and East Asian Studies. Before moving to NYC, she lived in Beijing, London, Madrid and Chicago.

4 Tips for Improving Employee Happiness

Managers might think that all employees ever want is a pay raise, but did you know there are ways to improve office happiness beyond raises and promotions? In the latest Mediabistro feature, workplace experts weigh in on the ways you can boost morale, loyalty and productivity without breaking the bank. Below, an excerpt:

1. Appreciation
When it comes to what employees want from a boss, appreciation is number one. Leadership consultant Roxana Hewertson, CEO of the Highland Consulting Group, says appreciation drives self-esteem, happiness and loyalty. “The number one difference between people who love their work and people who don’t is the degree of appreciation they receive from their boss and their peers,” said Hewertson.

But don’t just take her word for it. Get more tips in What Employees Really Want From Their Bosses (Besides a Raise). [subscription required]

5 Ways to Find a Job Before It’s Posted

Submitting as many applications as you can through job boards is one way to land a gig, but the reality is that all jobs don’t magically appear on the Internet. Says freelancer and writing mentor Carol Tice, “In fact, the vast, vast majority of good-paying jobs will never be advertised. Stop waiting to spot them in ads.”

Want to tap into the hidden job market? (You know, those great gigs that haven’t been posted yet?)

Tip No. 1: Contact companies directly.

Amy Phillip, an executive career coach, recommends connecting directly with the person who hires. For journalists, that’s often the editor or managing editor, while it can be the director of marketing for copywriters and bloggers. “Find that person on LinkedIn and send an introduction,” she said.

Read more in How to Find a Job Before It’s Posted. [subscription required]

How to Set Your Freelance Rates

Being a freelancer comes with many perks: working from home, flexible hours and the ability to pick your own projects. But it can be difficult to figure out how much your work is worth. Should you have an hourly rate or a per-project one? New writers might want to accept a lower rate to build clips, but how do you know when a rate is too low? Is the project even worth your time?

In the latest Mediabistro feature, seasoned freelancers share their experiences, so you can learn from their mistakes and maximize the value of your work.

Freelancer Aubre Andrus says she set a salary goal for herself and calculates her hourly rate from there. For her, the fact that she isn’t working on income-generating tasks 40 hours a week was a determining factor.

“This rate helps me devise my per-project fee and helps me decide if a project is worth my time,” explained Andrus. That, along with tracking her monthly earnings, has helped her stay on target to attain her salary goal.

Read more in 4 Things to Consider When Setting Your Freelance Writing Rate. [subscription required]

7 Ways to Keep Your Boss Happy

If you think you’re a star employee because you can tick off all the responsibilities in your job description, think again. Your goal should really be to keep your boss happy, otherwise known as “managing up.”

In the latest Mediabistro feature, workplace experts tell the best ways to communicate with your higher ups and project efficiency and smarts.

No. 4: Keep your manager in the loop.

How do you keep from sharing too much or too often with your manager? Christina T. Schlachter, author of Leading Business Change for Dummies and CEO of the consultancy SheLeads, says it pays to just ask. “Take the lead in determining communication. Don’t wait for your boss to do it. Ask your manager how often he or she wants to hear from you and in what form.”

For more tips, read Managing Up: 7 Ways to Keep the Boss Happy. [subscription required]

Tanika Ray on How to Manage an Unconventional Career Path

Dancer, check. Actress, check. Host, check. Correspondent, check. No wonder Tanika Ray calls herself a Renaissance woman –  not only has she performed with Will Smith and Brandy, she’s hosted shows on Lifetime, CBS, TLC and had gigs as a correspondent for Extra and HGTV’s Design Star.

In the latest installment of Mediabistro’s So What Do You Do? series, Ray says that her TV career began when, after watching a red carpet interview, she thought, “I can do that.”

“It’s not about being still in a place and holding on to it for dear life. I don’t think we live in a society where we celebrate ‘oh, for 35 years I’ve had the same job.’ That’s just not how we’re wired anymore and there’s no security in that anyway. So, why not be free to check off everything on your life before your days come to an end?”

Read more in So What Do You Do, Tanika Ray, Red Carpet Reporter and Host of The CW’s Oh, Sit!?

7 Tips for Hiring the Best Candidate

One benefit of today’s down economy is that those with the resources for new hires have even more talent to choose from.  Yet, as a manager, you have to know how to dig a little deeper to find the person who’s really the best fit for the position.

For starters, use the interview to glean info that isn’t on the resume. And an easy way to do this to ask about what happened between jobs. ”Find out why the person changed roles or employers. If a transition doesn’t make sense, then probe more deeply,” said Caroline McClure, principal at recruiting consultant ScoutRock. That information is sure to be more useful than a canned response about previous job duties.

Get six more tips for maximizing an interview in 7 Job Interview Tips for Employers. [subscription required]

The Top Reasons Editors Reject Pitches

The benefits of being a freelancer are plenty — flexible hours, working from home and being your own boss, just to name a few. But it brings its own set of challenges, and dealing with rejection might be the toughest one. A pitch that you’ve spent a lot of effort crafting could be met with silence, or a meager “Thanks, but no” response.  Luckily, not all hope is lost, and there’s always room to learn from your rejected pitches.

In the latest article for Mediabistro’s Journalism Advice series, freelance writer Kristen Fischer dissects some of the typical rejection responses that editors are known to give. Did you know that “we’re not assigning features at this time” is editor-speak for “Try pitching front-of-book pieces instead?”

For more on how you can learn from rejected pitches, check out The Real Reason Your Pitch Was Rejected. [subscription required]

‘Any job that’s a detriment to your health is not a job to hold on to’

Feeling stressed or stuck while you’re on the job is something that everyone goes through, but sometimes it’s a sign that your career is in need of a new direction. So, how can you tell if your bad day is really just a bad situation?

“When you feel depressed or like your stomach is in knots on Sunday night as you prepare for the work week, this is a sure sign you need a new direction,” said Tiffani Murray, an HR consultant and author of Stuck on Stupid: A Guide for Today’s Professional Stuck in a Rut. “Any job that’s a detriment to your health is not a job to hold on to.”

Read more in 5 Signs It’s Time to Leave Your Job. [Mediabistro AvantGuild subscription required]

4 Career Tips for the Online World

The transition from print to digital has brought layoffs, budget cuts and general woes to newsrooms across the country. But the flurry of change also brings new opportunity.

In Mediabistro’s latest AvantGuild feature, seasoned journo Ben Goldstein recapped his own resume and shared some valuable tips for writers in the online world. For example…

If you’re not fending off job offers, you’re doing something wrong.

To give yourself some leverage, start networking and learning new skills while you’re still employed. ”Classes and workshops related to your profession are great places to meet people,” said Charles Purdy, senior editor of Monster.com. “The teachers are often experts who are still working in the field, and the other students and attendees will be professionals like you. And, of course, there’s the side benefit of learning something new.”

Read more in 4 Lessons for Writing in the Digital Age. [subscription required]

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