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From a Creative Writing Major to Two Journalism Internships

Andrew RussoI graduated from college more than a month ago, and in that time, I’ve watched more than half of my friends go on to land full-time positions in their field. I, however, am working two internships – one at Mediabistro and the other at Guideposts magazine – that have an expiration date at the end of August.

When you tell people after four years of hard work, dedication and thousands of your parents’ money that all you have to show for it is an internship — or worse yet, unemployment — they might give you that universal sympathetic look before saying, “Don’t worry, something will come along.”

In my case, though, I couldn’t be happier to have landed two internships in the field of journalism because I didn’t even major in it. About halfway through school, nearly finished with my BA in creative writing, I decided I really didn’t like it. I loved writing, but I had no time or dedication to think of plotlines or characters or read another thing by Nathaniel Hawthorne. So, I moved on to nonfiction. In news writing, the details, characters and motives are all there; all you need to do is put the facts into a cohesive whole. Another thing I love about the news is that you know what you write will be important to someone. Whether you’re covering the small-town high school prom or world conflicts, someone is interested in it, and that makes it important.

Since I changed my mind late in the game, I found myself close to graduating with only enough time to take the courses needed for a journalism minor and a few free electives to fill up with some multimedia classes. So I’m at Mediabistro and Guideposts to learn and grow. Read more

Four Ways for Freelancers to Successfully Land Big Clients

SixFigureFreelancerBy big clients we mean clients with deep pockets. Budgets to spend and contract to sign. That’s why this post from Freelancers Union is so appropriate.

Of course, the first way to land big clients is to let them know you exist and to pitch them. The art, my friend, entails in the pitch itself.

1. Research. The clients you’re pursuing require more research, plain and simple. You know what though? They’re worth it. Per the piece, you should spend at least one hour reading through anything and everything about this company. Social media feeds are helpful so you can get a grasp on how the company views itself.

The piece points out: “If it’s a large corporation with multiple locations, try to find out if certain locations specialize in different services. Then find the department that aligns with what you do. Then do some private searching on LinkedIn to find out who works in that department. Recall your past gig experience: who was the person who hired and managed you? Look for someone with that job title.”

2. Explain what you do. Think bigger than what you currently do, too. You’re not just a project manager, says the piece. Instead, you’re the go-to person who makes the company’s problems disappear. Check that — the person’s problems to whom you’re pitching. Speak to the person your pitching and solve his or her problems.

3. Understand that they have a boss. The person you’re pitching indeed has a boss who’s likely putting pressure on them to make a hiring decision and to make it a good one. Plus, deadlines are looming. Give them all the information you can to make it easy for them to sign you on for the project.

4. Understand that they don’t want to train you. They need you to come in and roll up your sleeves to get right down to work. They assume you have the required skills and experience and need little to no training.

The piece advises, “Tell them you always spend the first few days listening and watching. Say something about how good you are at seeing the big picture, filling in where needed, and instead of trying to talk a lot about what you do, repeat back to them what they need.”

Are You Spending Enough Time With Your Boss? New Study Says You’re Not

bossesIf you’re wondering whether or not you’re spending enough time with your boss, there may be reasons why you’re questioning it in the first place.

That’s because it’s a valid question and a new study underscores the importance of face time with your supervisor.

According to a new study conducted by Leadership IQ with more than 32,000 executives, managers and employees in the U.S. and Canada, people feel more engaged for each additional hour spent with their leader. Read more

How to Make the Most of a Gap Year

suitcaseIf you think taking a gap year is just for high school kids before they jaunt off to college, think again.

According to the Brazen Careerist, experienced professionals have blazed a trail well into their careers and they’ve done it on small budgets to boot.

For starters, you should look into your employer’s sabbatical policy. If you’ve already been at your employer for a few years, you may qualify for a sabbatical. Another option entails taking an unpaid leave of absence in exchange for a guaranteed job when you return home.
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10 Bizarre Office Behaviors to Avoid (Don’t Be That Guy or Gal!)

man asleep at deskNeed a little chuckle to get you through hump day? A new CareerBuilder survey discovered that employees are getting a little too comfortable in their offices.

Okay, check that — they’re getting extremely comfortable at their home away from home and therefore, many workers have decided nothing is off limits. And we do mean nothing.

Per the survey, one supervisor caught a teammate caring for her pet bird that she snuck into the office! Wait, it gets better. Another supervisor caught an employee blowing bubbles in frigid temperatures to see if the bubbles were going to freeze and break. Read more

Five Ways to Intentionally Goof Off

sneakerDid you read that right? Yes, you did!

By goofing off we mean ways to actually boost productivity. Instead of staring blankly at your computer screen with a looming deadline, it’s actually more productive to take a stroll around the block, brush your teeth or talk to a colleague and then return to the task at hand.

According to a piece on Forbes, goofing off (when done in moderation) is actually good for you. Here are some of their pointers… Read more

Making a Career Move? Consider the ’30 Percent Solution’

successAccording to Lou Adler, author of The Essential Guide for Hiring & Getting Hired and creator of the Performance-based Hiring system, there’s a notion of the 30 percent solution when considering new job offers.

Per his post on LinkedIn, for a job opportunity to become truly viable for you to make the move, it must have at least a 30 percent increase over your current one. By increase he doesn’t mean salary alone. Yes, there should be a salary bump but that shouldn’t be the only reason for making the move nor should it comprise the entire 30 percent.

Read more

Technical Writing May Offer a Secure Career Opportunity for the Working Writer

For the creative writer who enjoys writing lifestyle content or dreams of publishing her first novel, delving into the world of technical writing might seem, well, not so fun. However, writer Amanda Layman Low says that a technical writing position is not the “facepalm-migraine it sounds like” and recommends it as a lucrative career option for any writer.

In the past year, Layman Low dipped her toe into the field and eventually landed a full-time gig as a technical writer for a sales consulting company. Basically, she writes eLearning course material that teaches sales representatives how to sell software. Although it might sound dull, she says, there are plenty of reasons to jump on board, especially given the changing landscape of journalism. Unlike that uncertainty, “technical writing isn’t going anywhere,” said Layman Low. You have the security of knowing that companies will always be looking for writers of content for training, presentations and other corporate materials.

And the higher-than-average money she earns as a technical writer versus writing for other markets doesn’t hurt either. Layman Low says:

Do I think it’s fair that technical writers get paid more than some journalists and novelists? No. I don’t think technical or sales writing is intrinsically “worth” more than beautiful prose. But I won’t deny that the income eases a ton of the stressors of my past life.

For more on the advantages of a career as a technical writer, read: The Case for Breaking Into Technical Writing.

The full version of this article is exclusively available to Mediabistro AvantGuild subscribers. If you’re not a member yet, register now for as little as $55 a year for access to hundreds of articles like this one, discounts on Mediabistro seminars and workshops, and all sorts of other bonuses.

Iced Coffee Kegs Cool Off Buzzfeed & Gawker Offices

coffee cupWant a morning cup of Joe? According to The New York Post, you can get that cup from a keg. Check that — a cup of iced coffee from a keg.

This is the brainchild of three brothers. David, Adam and Noah Belanich originally sold their concoction from a food truck and then expanded to businesses by delivering artisan coffee grounds, tea and 5-gallon kegs filled with concentrated cold-brew coffee. Once their coffee caught on, they eventually sold their food truck to set up a brick-and-mortar business by bringing coffee directly into offices.

Read more

Summer Job Prospects Sizzle for Teens

flip flopsSummer’s officially here and if you have a teenager who’s just starting to look for a summer gig now, no worries there.

According to a report released by outplacement firm Challenger, Grey and Christmas,  “employment among 16- to 19-year-olds grew by 217,000 in May.”

In fact, they say teen employment will be strong throughout the summer. This bodes well for teens who need structure and need to simultaneously build a strong work ethic. Read more

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