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Archives: June 2012

Five Ways to Cope With Freelance Isolation

If you’re a freelancer, raise your hand! If you often feel isolated working from home, Starbucks or insert-your-remote-office-here, raise the other hand!

As for the good news about your situation, you’re not alone. According to a blog post on the Society of Professional Journalists, there are several ways to handle the lack of water cooler buzz, social stimulation, and hustle and bustle of a newsroom.

Carol Cole-Frowe writes in the post, “One of the toughest things I had to deal with when I made the jump to freelancing three plus years ago was the abrupt difference between a fast-paced, adrenaline-charged atmosphere of a newsroom, and freelancing out of a quiet, solitary home office.”

After she became depressed, she got out of it along with other solid journalists who transitioned from full-time gigs to project work at home. Here are some of her pointers… Read more

Todd Larsen, President of Dow Jones, Steps Down

News broke yesterday that Todd H. Larsen, president of Dow Jones & Co., is going to step down from his post after working at the company for 13 years.

According to The New York Times, Lex Fenwick, chief executive, explained in a statement, “Our digital business, one that others look to emulate, is at the forefront of the industry, and that is a testament to Todd’s leadership and guidance.”

Larsen isn’t the only executive to depart. As per the piece, other executives are going to leave their roles as well. This includes Bethany Sherman, chief communications officer; Lynne Brennen, senior vice president of circulation; and Scott Schulman, president of Dow Jones Corporate Markets.

In a statement, Larsen indicated, “I have been blessed to work with a wonderful group of talented people,” Mr. Larsen said in a statement. “I look forward to watching the continued success of the organization in the years to come.”

New Hire, Is Your LinkedIn Profile Sending The Wrong Message?

We’re all busy. If you’re like the average person, you basically only have time to update your LinkedIn profile when you’re jobsearching. The rest of the time, you don’t think about it much.

But Kris Dunn, the “HR Capitalist”, says that for new hires, your LinkedIn profile is sending a strong message to recruiters.

If you haven’t updated it after changing jobs, “you’re hedging,” he says. “Gainfully employed by your new company, a month or two in, still taking calls from recruiters. You haven’t updated the LinkedIn profile yet. That’s all I need to know. You’re hedging. If a better deal comes along, you’re out of there in a heartbeat…”

Granted, regular people don’t think this way. Most folks are busy, don’t even think about it in the chaos/excitement that is starting a new job, or just don’t care about the oft-neglected networking site. But watch out for the messages you might be sending to recruiters.

Another way to see if a Linkedin contact is about to change jobs is to sign up for Bullhorn Reach, currently in free beta. The company’s “Radar” product uses a proprietary algorithm to determine whether a contact is about to go into job-search mode.

Employers Post Fewest Job Opportunities in Five Months

Remember the ol’ Seinfeld episode when George Costanza referenced his break up speech with “it’s not you, it’s me?”

Okay, even if you have no idea what we’re talking about, when it comes to job searching in some if not most instances, it’s not about you. It’s about me. And by “me,” we mean the employer.

If this is any consolation for the job market and beating your head against an exposed brick wall, it’s not you. Don’t take it personally. You could be doing everything in your ability to network, expand your horizons, learn a new skill, interview, and land a job yet there’s something bigger than you that’s out of your control: The economy.

Yes, we know this is a basic truth but you know what? Sometimes it’s worth repeating.

According to a report published by The Associated Press, employers in April posted the fewest jobs in the previous five months. The significance, of course, points to a flat job market but also signals the next few months may be flat as well. Read more

Lessons Learned from Condé Nast: Know Your Employer’s Freelancing Policies

Reading this story on The New York Post made us think about the importance of knowing your employer’s policies about freelancing for other publications especially if they’re a competitor.

In essence, after reading this blog if the take-away is simply knowing if you’re in an exclusivity contract with your current employer, then we’ve done our job.

It’s always best to know your employer’s policies up front rather than find out too late that you’ve been given the pink slip due to freelancing for a competitor whether it’s writing, reporting, fact checking or designing layouts. Sure, some people may get by with a pseudonym byline and figure nothing’s wrong with freelancing on the side to earn extra cash and make new contacts but all we’re saying is this story can create a spark in terms of your own situation.

In case you missed the piece, sources told the newspaper that Condé Nast’s international chairman, Jonathan Newhouse, has been telling his photographers and editors to say away from a former French Vogue editor’s new publication.  Read more

Four Things to Omit From Your Resume

Job searching shouldn’t be all drudgery and pounding the pavement, right?

Sometimes there are things that make us chuckle. This is one of them.

We found this post on U.S. News & World Report that outlined four job skills to leave off a resume. We weren’t chuckling at the piece but rather, with it. Yes, it’s that spot on.

And if you’re that guy or gal who’s committed a resume faux pas or two, no worries there — we won’t tell on you. Just be sure to remove the so-called skills, ‘k? Without further ado, here are the four “skills” to omit… Read more

Want to be More Productive? Make Better Use of Your Mornings

Ah, we know the situation all too well. Get a cup of coffee, check emails, flip over to Facebook, back to emails, next thing you know it’s noon.

Well, according to Laura Vanderkam, author of What the Most Successful People Do Before Breakfast: A Short Guide to Making Over Your Mornings – and Life, the morning is the quintessential time to be productive.

She explained to The New York Post, “First, people are less likely to interrupt you. Second, research into willpower finds that your ability to have self-discipline is strongest in the morning after a good night’s sleep. It gets depleted over the course of the day as we make decisions and as we deal with annoying colleagues and bickering children.”

So, what can you do to think big before getting pulled into a meeting that wasn’t on your calendar? Read more

Wow, Maybe We’ve Been Doing Facebook Wrong Our Whole Careers

Forbes writer Meghan Casserly says a young friend of hers has just gotten an internship at an NYC recruiting firm. Her internship consists of vetting potential hires’ social media profiles, which sounds fairly boring.

But said intern also shed some light on what this firm, at least, is looking for in a profile. In ascending order of desirability:

  • wedding pictures
  • baby photos
  • pictures of you at a party or the beach

.

What? That’s because, the intern says, “There’s a sense that a profile with no character has probably been scraped of some racy stuff or else the person has no social skills and won’t fit in.”

Okay, guess we’re undeleting all the stuff we deleted from Facebook last year…

Casserly also points out that for some industries, social media goes way beyond Facebook and Twitter. If you’re an engineer, maybe your presence on github will outweigh a quiet Facebook profile. If you’re in media, maybe Facebook is more important, but you could also consider a Freelance Marketplace profile or a profile on a network for the community or beat you cover.

Jim Amoss, ‘Times Picayune’ Editor, Speaks About Layoffs

On Tuesday, the New Orleans-based newspaper Times-Picayune announced layoffs of 200 jobs which will impact 200 staffers this fall. Plus, after 175 years in print, the paper is reducing its printing to three days a week as it focuses more on online news.

Jim Amoss, spoke to PBS about the change and indicated, “Many readers can’t imagine a morning without our newspaper in their hands. I understand that. I’m a print guy. I grew up in this business.”

Jim explained:

We had severances, layoffs yesterday. And we are losing somewhere in the 40 percent-plus realm, but we also will be rehiring, so that when all is said and done, we will have a news operation that overall is about 14 percent to 15 percent smaller than now.

That still has an impact, although we will be saving a lot in going from — on the production side, from seven days a week to three days a week. But we are very much focused on having reporting strength in the field. We think that that is that is what drives our readers and our audience to the website.

And that’s a commitment that, that and the commitment to serious journalism, to investigative journalism, which has been our hallmark, is something that will be undiminished.”

David Carr from The New York Times was also interviewed and told Judy Woodruff, ”[Amoss is] losing a lot of institutional memory, a lot of reporters who have relationships out into the community. It’s not print that is disappearing. It’s expertise.”

As the interview continued, Carr pointed out many people in New Orleans don’t have internet access. Plus, in the newsroom staff will help him with the focus on digital, Carr referenced their skills, “I think they’re pivoting from their strength to their weakness.”

Amoss responded to his comment: “So, I just don’t accept these — I mean, it fits into a nice storyline, a neat narrative about the sudden weakening. And the changes are indeed dramatic, but the overall intention — and we will follow through with it — is that we will be a strong and accepted deep news report that has both immediacy and depth to it.”

Ultimately, despite the mass pink slip announcement, Amoss emphasized a commitment to being “the most formidable news-gathering muscle in this community.”

Four Ways to Look for a Job While You Have One

It’s a major job conundrum, isn’t it? Looking for a job can feel like a full-time job and yet when you’re already gainfully employed, looking for a new gig can feel a bit overwhelming. Fortunately, there are a few ways to effectively manage the process.

As pointed out in a post on CareerBuilder, the first pointer recommends not slacking off. For obvious reasons, you don’t want your search to seem like it’s not confidential or that you’re lacking interest in your current job. The key to success while juggling a job and the search? Staying focused on your current responsibilities to the best of your ability given the fact you may already be mentally checked out. In the piece, Anthony Balderamma writes, “But until you’ve accepted another offer, don’t neglect your current duties.”

Second, keep your search to yourself. Even though you may feel close to a few colleagues, it’s better to keep your lips sealed. Case in point: A job seeker gabbed to her colleagues that she was unhappy and looking to relocate and land a new job. Well, during her external search she got promoted! Cue resentment from colleagues here.

The search should also be confidential to your own computer at home. Balderamma writes in the piece, “When you’re eager to ditch your current job or you’re just bored sitting at your computer, you might think browsing job postings on the clock is acceptable. That’s not true. Your employer probably has a policy against job searching on the company dime, so don’t risk your job.”

Keep in mind, all bets are off if layoffs are imminent and your boss has told the group the hammer’s going to fall (or is it ax? We digress). Use your discretion but in that instance, it may be a given that you’re openly looking for a job without having to sneak out at lunch time to schedule job interviews.

Lastly, leverage your current job to get a new one. Considering networking is the one-two punch in job searching, if there’s a media conference you can attend through your current job, by all means, register! If you can register for a class on the company’s dime and time, go for it! You see what we’re getting at: You’re adding new contacts to your arsenal and bolstering your resume with new skills.

Plus, branching out may put a new spring in your step and nothing speaks more highly of yourself during an interview than a positive attitude.

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