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Rachel Kaufman

Next Issue Media So Happy With Its Numbers, It’s Expanding

Next Issue Media is signing up enough customers to make it feel like expanding its catalog even further, reports Folio:.

NIM is a subscription service/app for all-you-can-read monthly digital magazines, created by a partnership between the five biggest U.S. magazine publishers: Hearst, Conde Nast, Time Inc, Meredith, and News Corp. Last month, the service doubled the number of magazines it offers to 72. Now, a new announcement is coming, Folio: says, that will name the first magazines to be added to the catalog from outside the five main publishers.

NIM has 70,000 paying customers, and about 70 percent of the readers who sign up for the free trial convert to paying customers, Folio: said. And this is only after being available on iOS for three months. (The app has, of course, been available on Android for longer, but the tablet market is still dominated by Apple.)

Publishers are also thrilled because NIM is helping them reach new audiences. Only 3 percent of the paying customers reading a certain magazine are also print subscribers. Another 13 percent were former subscribers who’d let their print subscription expire but came back for the digital edition, and 60 percent weren’t in the publisher’s database at all.

“These are the most established brands in the world and we’re reaching new people,” NIM CEO Morgan Guenther told Folio:.

No word yet on what new titles NIM is adding to its library, but Guenther hinted to Folio: that they would be titles that appeal to men and younger readers, since the catalog skews female for now.

Have You Seen The New LinkedIn?

This happened *before* Zombiecane struck, but since people don’t tend to check their LinkedIn profiles often, you may have missed this: LinkedIn has put out a major update to its profiles.

The new profiles, according to LinkedIn’s blog, have a more visual-forward design that “helps you make a powerful first impression and showcase your skills and accomplishments.” The profiles also show you “rich and visual insights on the people and companies in your network” as well as moving contacts’ status updates higher on the page.

To request that your profile be converted over to the new design, visit this link. The new profiles are definitely prettier, but we wonder how LinkedIn’s purportedly staid, traditional audience will take the changes.

Less Really Is More

Less is (almost) always more.

That point is driven home in the provocatively-titled post on Brazen Careerist, “If You Really Want To Make Your Point, Start Stripping.” It’s not about taking off your clothes, of course, but about stripping your job application down to its bare essentials.

“For your resume…commit to one page and stick to that. It will force you to keep your most relevant experience and ditch the fluff.” Yes. As Sir Arthur Quiller-Couch once famously said, and has been repeated in every freshman comp seminar since, “murder your darlings.”

Same with your elevator pitch. Sixty seconds is good. Thirty is better. Shorter, writer Tim Murphy says, is even better. Can you distill who you are and what you’re looking for into 15 seconds?

The advice can even be applied to interviews. If you’re rambling, stop. It’s OK to ask for a second or two to collect your thoughts before launching forward. Remember, companies aren’t just looking for the “right” answer–they’re looking for someone who can communicate that answer effectively, and brevity is key.

We’d say more, but that would make us less than brief. Good luck!

Unemployment Drops In 44 States In September

Unemployment rates were lower in September in 44 states and the District of Columbia, the Bureau of Labor Statistics announced today.

The five states where unemployment increased were Rhode Island, West Virginia, Wisconsin, Mississippi, and New Mexico. (Maine’s unemployment rate remained static.)

Meanwhile, only two states, California and Nevada, had unemployment rates higher than 9.9 percent.

Texas, Pennsylvania, and the District of Columbia added a total of 52,000 jobs in the past month.

The following image shows state-by-state unemployment rates for September; darker shading means a higher unemployment rate.

Can A Self-Help Book Help You Prep For An Interview?

We’d never thought about using a self-help book to prep for interviews, but has us thinking again.

See, 344 Questions: The Creative Person’s Do-It-Yourself Guide To Insight, Survival, and Artistic Fulfillment is just a book full of questions in a clever flow-chart/worksheet format. “Do you need inspiration? What are some ideas you’ve had that you’ve never had a chance to implement?” “How soon do you tell people you’re not on the same wavelength?” “What’s your definition of happiness?” Some of these questions might appear word-for-word in a job interview. Others may simply help you clarify your thoughts and figure out what it is you really want.

The book’s more than a year old, so it’s pretty cheap on Amazon if you want to buy it. But try out this sample page and see if it’s something that might totally rock your interviewing world.

Eudora Welty’s Amazing Cover Letter To The New Yorker

At age 23, Eudora Welty applied for a staff job at the New Yorker with the below letter.

They turned her down.

If we were to critique the great Welty’s letter, we would say that while it is playful and voicey, it’s a little self-deprecating (surely common, though, among professional women in 1933) and slightly unfocused. If we were to make a suggestion, we would have said Miss Welty would have done better to not mention that she was also able to draw, as it makes her come across as unsure of what she really wants to do.

But that’s only if. We wouldn’t dare.

The happy postscript to this is that while the New Yorker didn’t hire Welty on the spot, she did go on to sell numerous pieces to the New Yorker and win the Pulitzer Prize for fiction. (And, of course, becoming the namesake of a popular e-mail program.)

Here it is:

March 15, 1933


I suppose you’d be more interested in even a sleight-o’-hand trick than you’d be in an application for a position with your magazine, but as usual you can’t have the thing you want most.

I am 23 years old, six weeks on the loose in N.Y. However, I was a New Yorker for a whole year in 1930-31 while attending advertising classes in Columbia’s School of Business. Actually I am a southerner, from Mississippi, the nation’s most backward state. Ramifications include Walter H. Page, who, unluckily for me, is no longer connected with Doubleday-Page, which is no longer Doubleday-Page, even. I have a B.A. (’29) from the University of Wisconsin, where I majored in English without a care in the world. For the last eighteen months I was languishing in my own office in a radio station in Jackson, Miss., writing continuities, dramas, mule feed advertisements, santa claus talks, and life insurance playlets; now I have given that up.

As to what I might do for you — I have seen an untoward amount of picture galleries and 15¢ movies lately, and could review them with my old prosperous detachment, I think; in fact, I recently coined a general word for Matisse’s pictures after seeing his latest at the Marie Harriman: concubineapple. That shows you how my mind works — quick, and away from the point. I read simply voraciously, and can drum up an opinion afterwards.

Since I have bought an India print, and a large number of phonograph records from a Mr. Nussbaum who picks them up, and a Cezanne Bathers one inch long (that shows you I read e. e. cummings I hope), I am anxious to have an apartment, not to mention a small portable phonograph. How I would like to work for you! A little paragraph each morning — a little paragraph each night, if you can’t hire me from daylight to dark, although I would work like a slave. I can also draw like Mr. Thurber, in case he goes off the deep end. I have studied flower painting.

There is no telling where I may apply, if you turn me down; I realize this will not phase you, but consider my other alternative: the U of N.C. offers for $12.00 to let me dance in Vachel Lindsay’s Congo. I congo on. I rest my case, repeating that I am a hard worker.

Truly yours,

Eudora Welty

Via Letters of Note

Unemployment Rate Falls To 7.8 Percent, A 44-Month Low

Analysts and Wall Street types rejoiced today as the Bureau of Labor Statistics announced that the unemployment rate has dropped below 8 percent for the first time in almost four years and that the economy added 114,000 jobs.

The increase is the smallest in three months but it was enough to lower the unemployment rate from the 8.1-8.3 percent rate it was hovering at for the first eight months of the year.

Now, it’s not all good news. The number of people “working part-time for economic reasons” (a fancy way for the BLS to describe underemployed people who would rather have a full-time job) rose from 8 million in August to 8.6 million in September. And the number of people not working but not counted as unemployed remained steady at 2.5 million–that includes people who dropped out of the workforce for school or family responsibilities, but also includes 802,000 people who just gave up looking for work.

The industries that added the most jobs were healthcare (+44,000), transportation and warehousing (+17,000) and financial activities (+13,000).

Web Designers In High Demand

The national unemployment rate may be over 8 percent, but if you’re a Web designer, you’re among elevated company–only 3 percent of Web designers are unemployed, according to

Donna Farrugia, executive director of staffing firm the Creative Group, told Workforce she has seen an “unreal” increase in the amount of job orders for Web designers. Demand for these professionals hit a 13-year high during the second quarter of 2012, she said. And according to the government’s Occupational Outlook Handbook, openings for Web designers are expected to increase another 13 percent through 2020.

To land one of these plum positions, assuming you’ve got the skills, you’ll need a killer portfolio. Lori Richmond, director of creative services for XO Group (formerly TheKnot), says she looks for portfolios that display not just professional work, but side businesses, “like if they have a craft business on the side or a photography blog. All of that gives us insight on their level of design sensibility. Their outside interest piques our interest.”

Richmond added that she likes to try out designers as freelancers before offering them a full-time gig. In fact, her two most recent hires were former freelancers. “I would much rather someone come in and freelance for us for a day or a couple of weeks and get a sense of what they can do,” she told Workforce. “Personality, professionalism and being responsive to feedback is really important.”

It’s Contract Negotiation Time At The SF Chronicle

The San Francisco Chronicle unit of the Pacific Media Workers Guild is negotiating a new contract with corporate owner Hearst. It doesn’t look, so far, like the two parties are anywhere near the same page.

Last Thursday, the company offered a proposal that called for raises of 1.5 percent each year; it withdrew that proposal on Friday, the Guild reported. The Guild had asked for 4 percent annual raises and a contribution of $1 million to the employees’ health care trust. On Monday, the Guild scaled back its demand, asking now for 3 percent raises over the next three years and $800,000 for the health care plan. It also asked for the restoration of the 37.5-hour workweek, paid internships, and more.

Back in 2009, 24/7 Wall Street put the Chronicle on “deathwatch” after Hearst promised to shutter the paper if it failed to turn a profit.

NYT Guild Walks Out Of Negotiations

Yesterday morning the New York Times and the New York Newspaper Guild convened to work on ongoing contract negotiations.

It didn’t go so well.

According to the Guild’s blog, the Times had “changed not a detail of its insulting wage proposal, offered not a dime more toward our pension and raised by just a few hairs its offer on health care.”

So the Guild representatives walked out.

The offer included an increase of $100,000 to the health care fund that the company contributes to, which the Guild called “some slight, stumbling progress, but…far behind that of most private employers its size.”

In exchange, the attorney who represents the Times in the negotiations told the Guild that the offer was “proportional to the disappointing” proposal the Guild put forth at the last negotiation session.

The drama is scheduled to resume next Wednesday when the next negotiation session takes place.