My journalism job search: Patience grass hopper

The job search is starting to get interesting, and I am moving from conversations about opportunities to interviews. For that, I am very grateful especially to my friends in journalism who have provided me with the vast majority of solid job leads. I was speaking to a friend in the industry on Friday on sorting through the opportunities I currently, and he remarked, “You certainly do have a lazy Susan of options.” I’ve got options in journalism and in digital media both close to news and not so close to news.

First a few observations of the job market:

There are jobs in journalism, especially digital jobs. Look at any journalism job listing site, and the number of online jobs dwarfs the number of traditional media jobs out there. (One piece of advice though is to look beyond the job listing sites to the listings for companies you are interested in working for.) The fact that there has been a steady stream of jobs to apply for has been a relief, but I will also say that there are not nearly as many for a mid-career journalist like myself as an entry-level journalist. And when I say digital jobs, I’m not just talking about web development or UX design (there are buckets of those jobs) but digital editorial jobs.
Competition is fierce. I’m hearing that recruiters and HR departments are getting flooded with applications. Getting a human being to actually review your CV or resume is the first battle.
LinkedIn has been very useful. I have now had two recruiters contact me with interesting positions via LinkedIn. Some employers now allow you to add your LinkedIn profile. If you aren’t on it, it might not be worth the effort with all of the other demands on your time during your job search, but polishing my LinkedIn profile has been a useful exercise for me.
Contacts matter more than applications. At the moment, I’m getting most solid leads through contacts rather than applications. My gut tells me it is down to the level of competition out there. For those struggling with their job search, I’d recommend going to every networking event you can. Make contacts with people at the places where you would like to work, and I would also recommend that you keep your presence high on social media.
Be patient. This is hard to hear, but, everyone I have talked to has said that the hiring process has slowed down. Employers are just taking longer to make decisions to fill positions. However, there are jobs out there, and everyone I’ve talked to has been bullish about my prospects while also preparing me to wait. I’m financially in a position to wait for the best position that I can find.

While Suw and I are financially prepared for this job search, I am starting to do some short-term digital media consulting and digital journalism training. If you’ve got a digital media or digital journalism project that needs to be done urgently, do drop me a line.