Tag Archives: job searching

SXSW, here we come

18 Jan

Yesterday, I received great news that the SXSW Interactive panel proposal written alongside friend and colleague Anna Tauzin, who is the web and social media editor at J-Lab, was accepted.

The proposal, titled ‘Landing Your Next Job Through Unconventional Personal Branding,’ will be featured as a Core Conversation at SXSW, which is a format that allows us to interact at a more personal level with our audience. We hope you can join us and we will spread information on the precise time and date, as schedules are still being constructed.

To say we are excited is an understatement. We can’t wait to share our thoughts on this topic. Searching for a job is no easy task, regardless of whether you are a recent college graduate, recently laid off or a veteran in your field looking for a new position. The web has provided us with many outlets to network with potential employers, but standing out from the crowd of job seekers takes some extra initiative.

In the meantime, the process of gathering ideas and solidifying the content of our conversation will be the task at hand. Hope to see you there in March.




Unemployment 2010

1 Jul

Today is the first day of my life as an unemployed person.

I have a bachelor’s and master’s degrees, a gigantor resume, a little bit of freelance writing, and a steady trickle of interviews with potential employers. I have that much to be thankful for, but I also have a whole lot of bills including student loans that need to be paid. Yes, those suck.

I am hoping Unemployment 2010, as I have come to call it, will be a very temporary state in my life. The last time I didn’t have a job for awhile was in 2005 after my first year of college. So not having a job is a pretty abnormal state for me. However, I will try to look on the bright side of this. I will finally get the chance to dedicate some of my time to starting a couple of web projects I’ve been poking around with and writing a little more.

But the most fun part of this temporary state of joblessness is I will finally have a chance to watch a few movies I have never seen and should because they are iconic pop culture films. These films include Labyrinth and Purple Rain. Yes, it’s true I have never seen either of these movies featuring the wonderfully fantastic David Bowie and Prince, respectively.



So as I work away at freelance projects and watch movies featuring some of the greatest musical artists of our time, I will occassionally tweet items related to Unemployment 2010 with the hashtag #UE2010. If you are experiencing joblessness as I am, join me in using this hashtag.

Maximize your potential and stay organized: Thoughts and advice on managing a job search

15 Jun

For the past few months, I have been employed part-time at Park Place Publications doing web maintenance, design, email marketing and some social media planning. This job gave me the opportunity to solidify my web skills, but still with time left over to work on freelance projects such as writing and social media marketing.

I think when I took the position, I saw it as a way to not only get more experience, but also to take time to figure out what I really wanted to do career-wise. I had just spent the past six years in college, first obtaining a bachelor’s degree in journalism and then a master’s in new media. My job at Park Place even led to an offer to apply for a full-time position, but I wanted to see what else the marketplace had to offer. As my time draws to a close there, I have started to think about the direction I am heading and what I want to do in the future.


It may not be what I planned, but I can still do other things

It was my goal out of college to pursue a career in the media industry as a web journalist and producer, but I know the reality. Not too many media organizations are hiring at this time and the positions that are open are very competitive. I have had the opportunity to interview with the NBC-affiliate KXAN and Univision. I’m happy that I beat out dozens of other applicants and got to interview, but I still haven’t had an offer.

Nonetheless, what I discovered in the past few months is that I have a very diverse skill set, but with two main interests: communicating and creating. Now, those are two really broad interests. To drill things down more as I applied for various positions, I thought about what I would really love to do and who I wanted to work for. I still want a job that is related to the media industry and utilizes the skills I have. So I narrowed my search to media production, web design and communication positions for tech and media companies. Still, these are very broad, but it has been a more concentrated search.

With my new-found focus, I took a few steps to get on people’s radars and hopefully better my chances at a job interview. I’m happy to report that some of this has paid off as I now have an interview with Demand Media this week.

Utilize your social network to connect with with other job searchers and employers

It’s true. When it comes to looking for a job, who you know is REALLY important. Many friends and acquaintances who are searching or just landed a job have been valuable resources for finding out what employers are looking for and what companies are good to look at. My professional contacts like professors and former employers have been extremely helpful in sending me job tips, advice and putting in a good word if they know someone at the company I applied to. It was how I got my interview with KXAN.

Another thing I have found particularly useful is my online social network. I have been connecting with people like crazy and making sure I stay on different people’s radars. This is how I was able to connect with people at Univision and get an interview there. I make it a point to post regularly to Twitter and think of relevant information to provide on the web. Last week, Mark S. Luckie, the man behind @10000Words, sent a tweet out asking if anyone had a personal business card they wanted to show for a blog post he was writing. I responded as soon as I saw it and my card was picked and featured at the top of the samples in his post.


Furthermore, take advantage of networking events in your area. The great thing about living in Austin is a lot of people are very tech-savvy and connected. Fellow tweep Jacqueline Hughes put together an amazing calendar of tech, social media and networking events in Austin called Bridge the City. I would highly suggest attending these events with business cards and a positive attitude. You never know when the CEO or hiring manager for the company you want to work for maybe in the room. Don’t forget to follow up too if they offer a business card. I know even I can get lax on that.

Keep your applications organized

Keeping track of all the places where you have applied can become quite the task, especially if you are looking in a couple of different fields like I am. I think the easiest thing to do is to keep a list or spreadsheet on hand with a short description of the company and positions you applied for. That way when someone calls back for an interview, you know what skills to highlight and where to begin your research. Keep contact information as well. If it doesn’t work out, try to keep in touch with those in charge in case they start hiring again. You can also pass on the information to a friend who might be better qualified. Remember, it’s good karma to share!

Web tools that let you know who’s keeping tabs on you

I have a personal website where I share my job history, provide a download of my resume, a link to my portfolio, contact information, and a short bio. Oh and I have this blog of course. While all this information is out there for people to see, it’s good too know who those eyeballs belong to. That’s where Google Analytics comes into play. If you haven’t set this up for your site and blog, do it now. It provides a wealth of data on your visitors. It can tell you from what area of the world people are looking, right down to the city. I use the service provider information since a lot of companies have their own ISP. For example, I know someone at The New York Times has taken a peek at my site.

Another app that I like to use is Friend or Follow. It tells you who on Twitter is following you or not following you. When you get a lot of followers at once – maybe thanks to a great link you posted – this becomes a good way to manage and follow back interesting people.

Stay inspired

The hardest part of a job search can be staying positive and inspired. Finding a new job is a job in itself. It can be frustrating when you get rejections or a company you were really interested in does not follow up. Having a good support system really helps too, whether that is friends and/or family. Know that your search will not be in vain and something good is around the corner.

Goals are good

31 May

I’ve fervently been on the job hunt lately, and one place in particular asked a very interesting question: What are your goals for the next year, three years and 10 years?


I really hadn’t thought about that in a long time. I’m typically a very organized person and I usually have my little road map for life (or so I think), but ever since I graduated from grad school, things have been less-than-planned. This can be good because I think it’s important to have spontaneous, unplanned moments in life, but I also know I need some direction right now. So it was a great question to think about and I’m really glad I got some responses down!

Here are my goals. They are numbered, but really they aren’t in any order. I just did it to keep track of the number of goals I have.

One year goals
1. Train for and finish my first full marathon
2. Start to repay and lower my debt
3. Continue to roll out my graphic design business
4. Grow artistically and creatively
5. Strengthen my personal relationships with the people I care about
6. Stay happy and healthy both physically and mentally

Three years
1. Qualify for the Boston Marathon
2. Get strong enough to teach fitness classes for fun
3. Be nearly debt-free
4. Visit other continents (and run in each of them!)
5. Establish myself as an innovator in web and media development

10 year goals
1. Write a book
2. Consider getting a doctoral degree
3. Be totally debt free
4. Consider having or adopting a kiddo
5. Have money saved up
6. Continue to be happy and satisfied with life!

Think about your goals. This is a great exercise. I remember someone once told me that people who wrote down their goals were 75% more likely to achieve them. That’s a pretty good stat if you ask me.

Journalists afraid to take on multiple forms of storytelling, we’re ready to take your spot

23 Apr

I may not make many friends with this post, but I’ll risk it anyway.

Today, the 11th annual International Symposium on Online Journalism began and will run through Saturday. Since I was unable to attend today (gotta work to pay the bills), I observed tweets from the symposium and took part in some of the conversation.

One tweet in particular by San Antonio Express-News reporter Eva Ruth Moravec caught my attention, which you can see here. John Paton, the CEO of the Journal Register Company, said media organizations need to downsize their staff so that three people can do 10 jobs versus the current model where 10 people are doing one of those 10 jobs. The #scary hashtag in that tweet really got me thinking about what media organizations are doing.

Journalists shouldn’t consider this a scary thing. They should embrace it and take advantage of it. Paton has a great vision for his company and I am hoping it succeeds. While it is sad to see anyone lose jobs, if journalists are not embracing technology and learning different ways to tell a story, then they aren’t doing their job. It’s only hurting the product they produce and the audience they serve. To that end, I say you probably will be laid off and rightfully so.

I think this old-school mentality is hurting newsrooms and it frustrates me. I see so many talented, young journalists graduating from college, but they’re working as freelancers or in related fields when they should be working for a media organization. Truthfully, I feel I am one of those people. I graduated with my master’s degree in mass communication-new media from Texas State University-San Marcos and worked very hard to try to get a job at a media organization. I managed to get a journalism job after graduation, but the situation didn’t work out and I felt like I didn’t give myself the chance to weigh other options. Now I’m doing some freelance web and writing work, which I do enjoy, but the full-time journalist position eludes me for the time being. I guess I just want to make sure getting my master’s (and bachelor’s) degree wasn’t in vain. I really love journalism and realize what a passion I have for it.

Nonetheless, I, like many of my fellow recent journalism school grads, will continue to toil away on our blogs, sharpen our social media skills, and learn more about video editing or creating our portfolio sites while we send resume after resume out. We don’t do it because we feel we have to. We do it because we love it.

The truth is, you aren’t just a journalist anymore. You are a multimedia producer. That means you need to be able to write a good story, shoot photos, put together a great character-driven narrative video, and maybe know a little graphic design and HTML. If you really love this industry, you’ll stick around to learn different modes of storytelling. Otherwise, move out of the way. The 20-somethings are eager to take your spot.