Thursday, March 13, 2008
Searching for a job is not only tedious, but a several step process. In my own ignorance to the game, I thought I would be able to email off my resume with a scribbled down cover letter and land a job, no problem. But there is a problem, the market for journalist is crap. I applied for about 60 jobs a couple of weeks ago. It was really systematic, tweaking each cover letter to fit the position desires. After religiously checking my email every five minutes for a week straight, it hit me there must be something wrong. I must admit I was afraid. I have several internships under my belt and an almost complete master's degree in journalism. What gives? Before falling into a deep dark depression, I decided to seek advice. I remembered what I learned about information interviews from a career workshop I took over the summer at UCLA. The criteria for an information interview is this- find someone who has achieved your dream position, take them out for coffee, and drill them with questions. I chose Terri T., editor from Body + Soul Magazine. She immediately agreed to meet with me. Having written out my questions the night before I was well prepared. Terri and I met at a local Starbucks, I opened my computer ready to go and she started talking. "What are your goals, whats going on with you these days?" Thrown off guard by her informal tone I told her about my woes. How I've been searching for a job for months and having no luck. I also told her how the journalism program I enrolled in was crumbling. I wanted to hold back, but she was very knowledgeable and I wanted her feedback. Terri literally flipped around my woes and took them into tiny solvable problems. She told me I made the right decision putting my degree on hold. As for the job search, she explained the key was in the follow-up letter. She explained to me that everyday she gets these informal trite sounding cover letters and that they are not memorable enough to distinguish one from the other. Terri said its all about having a conversation with the person your trying to get the job with. She explained to me that I was being too careful and that company's want risk takers those who call or write a enthusiastic letter back about why they would love working for their company. Everything Terri said made sense to me. I told Terri about this travel guide job I really wanted. She said that with my background writing for travel guides, I would have a excellent chance getting the position. I asked her to look over my follow-up letter. She agreed and after three attempts, I'm achieved a well crafted letter. Fast-forwarding to the present, I have been writing a zillion follow-up letters with Terri's guidelines in mind and it has actually paid off! I have been receiving back 50% on responses to those positions. I am more optimistic of my future career. I hope to land a position I truly love in the next month or so. We will see.