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Archives: April 2013

How to Answer the Question, ‘What Have You Done For Me Lately?’

This post is inspired by our friends at Brazen Careerist as it relates to the ubiquitous question: “What have you done for me lately?”

Here’s a hint: Show, don’t tell.

In the piece, Erin Palmer writes, “Coasting on past success will not get you far. Businesses that succeed are not in the habit of dwelling in the past because their innovation, creativity and profits would suffer.”

Consistency is key so if you wrote and submitted clean copy for a features piece for your editor, bravo! Now, it’s time to do it again by focusing on your current deadline. If you falter on this piece, it’s going to be pretty hard to rest on your laurels from the last one. In a way, it’s a healthy motivator, right? Aim for dililgence without leaning too much on your past. Strive to impress your clients and ultimately yourself each and every time you’re tasked with a project!

Demonstrating consistent excellent performance, of course, showcases the ability to focus on the present one, no matter how big or small. Sure, there will be times when you have to do some piddly work that isn’t exciting and invigorating.

Palmer points out when Michelangelo painted the ceiling of the Sistine Chapel, “It wasn’t all genius, all day.” Remember, he had to clean his paintbrushes from time to time and climb that scaffold.

“The important thing is to put your all into every task, even the small ones,” Palmer points out. “Figure out how to manage your energy and make every assignment the most important one.”

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New Survey Reveals Executives Think Working Remotely Stagnates a Career

A new survey published by the Korn/Ferry Institute revealed the majority of executives think telecommuting stalls a career. Plus, one-fifth of participants think telecommuter salaries should be less than employees who work in a brick and mortar office.

According to the press release, Ana Dutra, chief executive officer of Korn/Ferry Leadership and Talent Consulting, explained, “While some high-profile companies have stepped away from telecommuting, our survey shows that most enterprises still see it as an important way to drive productivity, increase retention and demonstrate inclusion in the workplace. It is all about driving responsibility and accountability, whether a person works in the office or at home.” Read more

Rapid Realty Employees Tattoo Company Logo & Get 15 Percent Raise

This latest headline is a real head scratcher in particular when it comes to employer branding. Check that — employee branding.

Rapid Realty, a New York-based residential real estate brokerage firm, told its 800 employees they would get a 15 percent raise if they got a tattoo with the company’s logo.

The human resources side in us think it’s dicey to leverage employees as a permanent walking billboard in exchange for a bump in commission; the creative marketing side thinks it’s somewhat innovative but most definitely quirky. As for the employee side? Well, you be the judge.

Here’s the kicker: Almost 40 employees took Rapid Realty up on its offer! Their commission was boosted from 25 to 40 percent. And technically, the brokerage firm is getting a whole lot of mileage out of free PR from its policy. Read more

6 Tips for Landing Repeat Writing Assignments

As Sara Horowitz, founder of the Freelancers Union, once said, “One of the challenges for all freelancers, though, is it can be feast or famine.” Sometimes you could be raking in the assignments; at others, editors could be strangely silent when you want to hear from them the most.

In the latest Mediabistro feature, magazine veterans give tips on how to foster your relationships with editors to keep the assignments, and the paychecks, rolling in.

Read more in 6 Tips for Landing Repeat Writing Assignments.

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Four Tips to Managing a Day Job With a Side Gig

If you’re among the 9-to-5-ers who also burn the midnight oil pursuing your passion, you’re not alone. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the percentage of Americans who work two or more jobs got a jolt last year by two percent.

Maybe you’re a marketing manager by day, freelance writer by night; whatever the situation, you may be experiencing stress and time management issues associated with juggling both. Today, a piece in The New York Post offered some pointers to successfully manage more than one job.

1. Seek balance. The piece suggests an ideal situation will balance out two jobs. If one gig is incredibly stressful, hopefully the other job can provide the opposite atmosphere. So, maybe you work in a busy newsroom during the day and enjoy switching gears as a yoga instructor at night. Read more

Three Red Flags to Spot During an Interview

This blog post serves as a reminder to retain your power during an interview.


As much as the employer is interviewing you, it’s your job to interview them. Observe, ask questions and take mental notes.

The Work Buzz outlined three red flags during an interview and we couldn’t agree with them more.

1. Hints of high turnover. Ask about the history of the job you’re applying for as well as the employees who previously worked in the role. Is it a newly created position due to growth? Did someone get promoted or resign?

Or are they hiring a new person because the former person bailed after only being there for six months? If there’s a pattern of high turnover, put on that journalism cap and ask about the workload, too. It’s possible the position is a one-way road to burn out. Read more

Layoffs Announced at ‘San Jose Mercury News’

Sorry to end the week with grim news but we heard production workers at the San Jose Mercury News are going to lose their San Jose-based jobs starting on Monday.

According to The Business Journal, layoff letters were issued to 118 employees. As for the good news? An undetermined number of those employees will be offered jobs at other locations affiliated with the paper.

The employees impacted by the reduction in force (a.k.a. “RIF”) include press operators and production staffers. It sounds like timing is everything. After all, the layoffs are occurring merely two weeks after the newspaper announced its intentions to market its 30-acres.

Publisher Mac Tully explained, “This plant sits on very valuable real estate that we want to realize the value of.”

Three Ways to Make the Most Out of Take Our Daughters and Sons to Work Day

Can you believe it’s already the 20th anniversary of Take Our Daughters and Sons to Work Day? Initially it started out as Take Our Daughters to Work Day and sons got added to the mix about 10 years ago.

Well, according to The Daily Muse, it’s not just about free pizza and having a little buddy at your side all day. There are certainly a few ways for both you and your child to make the most out of the annual event.

1. Teach Business Etiquette 101. As you introduce your daughter or son to a colleague, why not teach them how to give a handshake and make eye contact? You can never start them too young. You can teach them simple etiquette like introducing their names when they shake someone’s hand as you take them on a tour of your office.

In addition, even if your office attire is typically casual, they should get a little spruced up for their big day in your office digs. The piece pointed out, “Make sure they pick out work-appropriate outfits, and use the opportunity to talk about your office dress code: why suits are required, for example, or why jeans are okay for some employees and not others. This is the stuff they’re definitely not learning in school, so they need to learn it from you!”

2. Stick to Your Normal Routine. Even though your day will be different with your special VIP guest in attendance, try to stick to a routine. If you normally go to the coffee station in the morning, by all means go there. Continue with your daily routine as much you can so your kids can get a grasp of what you do all day. The piece mentioned, “Walk them through what you’re doing and why, and use every opportunity you can to talk about things like confidentiality, your sales quota, customer service policies—anything that would help them better understand the ins and outs of your job.”

 3.  Talk About Your Career. As you show your children around and they participate in office activities, spend some time talking about your own career path and what you like about your job and your company. Then you can have a conversation by asking them about their own career goals. What was their most interesting part of the day? Who was the most interesting person they met and why? Did they like the office environment?

And even though the day is about work, it’s also about quality time. Enjoy it!

David Letterman Teases Ousted Rookie Anchor: Top 10 Signs Your First Day Did Not Go Well


Courtesy of CBS

Merely a few days ago, A.J. Clemente’s debut in his new job as a news anchor went foul as he blurted obscenities on-air. Well, he’s now appearing in the very same medium which gave him the boot. Yesterday morning he appeared on Today and last night he visited The Late Show With David Letterman.

The late night host ended up rallying for the rookie to get his job back but also leveraged the evening’s top 10 list to poke fun at Clemente’s foul first day on the job. Read more

Three Ways to Understand Someone Else’s Point of View

Want to become a more empathetic listener and show that you get it? According to a recent post on Harvard Business Review, there are three critical components to understanding someone else’s point of view.

1. Situational awareness: Show that you get “it.” For starters, the post reveals you can understand your counterpart by showing you simply comprehend what they’re going through. This includes body language like nodding your head and saying simple things like, “I completely understand.” At that point, your colleague will see that you’ve “grasped their reality” and they’ll feel like you’re both on the same page. Read more