Friday, October 24, 2008

On job searching

So today I spent the day applying for a job. The whole day. One job.

It's often been said that job searching is a full-time job in itself, and never have I felt the full weight of that statement until this week.

Earlier this week, I spent a whole day trolling through various media job sites looking for open (and interesting) postings. I found 7. Now, it's not that I'm picky or anything - in fact, I even put far away jobs that I am borderline qualified for on my "must apply" list. And often, I start the process and stop it promptly, when I realize I have no clue what the acronyms in the qualification questionnaire stand for.

Of course, I don't just apply for anything. I don't apply for jobs I am under-qualified for, unless I really really really want it. Even then, I don't expect to get called for an interview. It's also a waste of time to apply for too many jobs, since writing cover letters can get to be a tedious task. However, I do still apply for jobs I know I can do but am over-qualified for - like the ones requiring a high school diploma and good people skills.

Yeah, somehow, I don't get called for those interviews either.

Job searching in journalism is not easy right now. Not only is the economy in recession - and therefore everyone's cutting back - the media industry has been in its own recession of sorts for a few years now. That means newspapers are cutting local staff (like at the Montreal Gazette, for example - sign the petition here!) and consolidating resources by producing less content and operating from one central location. Some broadcasters are under hiring freezes which means that although they have a number of open positions, they can't actually hire you in the end... This is also the cause of vanishing job listings - the ones that mysteriously disappear although the application deadline is still ways off.

In other words, it's a tough life, and you've got to spring on anything that comes your way, no matter how under or over qualified you are. It's also a very depressing situation.

The solution, or so I've heard, is to reach out to your network of contacts, and ask, push and even beg for a job - paid or unpaid - so you can learn, build more contacts, and hopefully eventually get a real position. Just don't fall into the endless internship scenario - I've known a few smart people who have - where you work hard for free and never have an honest chance of getting hired simply because there are no jobs (because there's no money) whether or not an extra hand is needed.

All in all, there's nothing to do but try everything. Again, over and over, and hope it produces results. Until then, try to balance the job search with the voluntary work... and perhaps a bit of a personal life.

Now if you'll excuse me, I've got to write a cover letter for this kick ass job I'm applying for.

Stay tuned!

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