Tips for that job hunt

When jobs are more scare, you might have to change your expectations

According to Gary Green, looking for a new job has been harder than any photo assignment he’s ever had.

But experts say that looking at a job hunt as just that — a journalistic exercise — may make the process easier to handle.

You have to make the calls, network — and be willing to follow the story.

“This is a time to be very open-minded about what it is you want to do,” said Melanie Huff, career services coordinator at the graduate school of journalism at Columbia University. “And if it’s really important to you to work at a daily newspaper, then you go to the editor and say, ‘I’m here, and I’m willing to pitch in wherever you need me.’ It’s not the time to march in and say, ‘I want this and this and this,’ and have a lot of demands about the conditions under which you will work for them.”

“Journalists have always needed to be hungry and eager,” she added. “It’s only been in the last couple of years that the dot-coms have been hiring at such a rate that there seemed to be more jobs than journalists. In other years, you needed to get out there and pay some dues and show that you had the proverbial ink in the veins. You’ve got to get out there and hustle. Getting a reporting job is a reporting assignment.”

Another way to think outside the box when it comes to today’s job hunt is to consider other types of work.

“One of the things that happens during a hiring freeze is that it’s harder for a newspaper to hire a reporter, but even during a hiring freeze it’s a little easier to hire a copy editor or a designer,” said NABJ president William Sutton.

Then there’s the possibility of working for other types of publications, and for those facing bias from their employers, seeking legal advice for workplace bias can be crucial.

“I’m encouraging students to look beyond the obvious — to consider an internship, a trade magazine, writing for something you haven’t thought of,” said Karen McGee, director of career development for the S.I. Newhouse School of Public Communications at Syracuse University.

One piece of advice, though — don’t go into public relations.

“I’ve polled our graduates,” she said, “and advertising and public relations have been hurt the most. High tech PR is absolutely poison.”