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Posts Tagged ‘career advice’

I wish journalists weren’t learning so many important lessons from losing their jobs. But, as long as so many journalists are losing their jobs, I’m glad some of them are sharing the lessons they’re learning.

I blogged recently about the turmoil in Canadian media, which resembles what U.S. media have also faced, including various companies I’ve worked for.

I’ve shared lessons here before (links below) from my job losses and job searches, but in this post, I want to call attention to posts by two Canadian friends who have blogged their own lessons.

Melanie Coulson, whom I met in a visit to the Ottawa Citizen in 2010, lost her job there a couple years ago. This week more Citizen journalists have lost their jobs*, and Mel blogged about four lessons she learned since losing hers. I recommend reading her entire post, but here’s a passage that stood out to me:

Stop thinking of yourself as a journalist with specialized skills that won’t transfer to other jobs. I’m telling you — they are so, so in demand.

Words are your super power — but to others they are kryptonite.

You have other amazing superhero skills: You ask the right questions, ones that others are afraid to ask.

This is something you’ve done that your whole career.

Update: And now Mel has a new gig:

Earlier this month, Kim Fox shared nine lessons from her own job-loss experience, including this one:

Say yes to every meeting  –  even when you’re feeling low, or aren’t sure about fit. IMHO any interview is good practice; it’s just as important to learn what you DON’T want.

*Update: Drew Gragg notes in the comments that the most recent departures at the Citizen were voluntary buyouts. I don’t know the particulars of the Ottawa situation, but I do know that every round of buyouts in the news business includes some pressure to accept a buyout before some people may want to end their careers. Sometimes the pressure is an attractive package, sometimes the pressure is an explicit or implicit recognition that the company may cut jobs (with a less attractive severance package) if it doesn’t succeed in reducing the newsroom enough with buyouts. And some people are fed up and ready for retirement or another career and jump at the package. I know some happy journalists who have moved on with not problems after a buyout. I know others who have dealt with and still deal with many of the issues discussed in Kim’s and Mel’s posts, though the dynamic is definitely different if you had a choice in the matter, even a choice under pressure.

My links on losing jobs and looking for the next one

I should note here that you don’t always start looking for a job because you just lost one. I’ve lost two jobs in my 45-year journalism career. Other times, I moved on because a great opportunity arose while I was enjoying a job. Sometimes I started looking for work because I could see the current job situation deteriorating for reasons varying from personal relationships to economic turmoil to changing strategy. Along the way, I learned a lot.

Here are previous posts I’ve written about dealing with the impact of a job loss and looking for the next one (the first one includes excellent advice from colleagues):

Job-hunting tips: Spread the word, network, be patient and persistent

Prepare for your next job hunt while you’re still working

What is your advice for job-hunting journalists?

Tips on landing your next job in digital journalism

Job-hunting advice for journalists selling skills in the digital market

Use digital tools to showcase your career and your work

Confessions (strategies) of a branded journalist (or a journalist with a reputation, if you prefer)

Your digital profile tells people a lot

Enduring lessons from being fired 20 years ago

Bitterness is like wreaking revenge on yourself

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You can’t wait until you need a job to position yourself for the job hunt.

Yesterday I posted some advice on looking for a job in journalism when you lose your job. Today I’m making the point that your next job hunt starts in what you do while you’re employed and feeling secure and happy with your job (as I was for nearly all my time at Digital First Media). While working, you need to build the brand, accomplishments and connections that will become essential in your job hunt.

Your job hunt might start with losing your job in a corporate staff reduction, as happened to my Thunderdome colleagues and me in April. Or you may be frustrated with your current job and decide to move along. Or you may want to pursue your dream job. Someone may come courting you when you’re pleased with your current job (that happened to me in 1998 and I left the Omaha World-Herald to join the Des Moines Register and it happened in 2012 and I came very close to leaving Digital First Media). In any of those situations, it’s important to position yourself for future opportunities in the job you’re doing now.

Do good work

Quality work often isn’t enough, but job-hunting success always starts there. You can do good work and still not succeed in a job hunt because you didn’t do the things I discussed yesterday (or just because job-hunting is hard). But no amount of digital sophistication, networking or other techniques discussed here is likely to help if you don’t do quality work. I apologize for what will amount to boasting here, but the point is important to make.

My new job as Lamar Family Visiting Scholar at the Manship School of Mass Communication at Louisiana State University stems from a string of good work I’ve done over the years. In 2009, when I was finishing some work on a grant for some ethics seminars for the American Press Institute, Jerry Ceppos was dean of the Reynolds School of Journalism at the University of Nevada, Reno. We might have met before at a conference, but we didn’t know each other well. Jerry brought me in for the seminar, which examined the ethical issues of digital journalism. If I hadn’t delivered a good seminar, that would have been the last time I had worked for Jerry. But I did a good job and he remembered me. (more…)

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I will be leading a day of workshops for Northern Kentucky University today. Here are the links relating to the workshops:

Becoming a digital-first journalist. We will discuss how to think and work like a digital-first journalist. Here are the slides for that workshop:

(more…)

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