My Job Search: Considering Options, Keeping an Open Mind

By Anne Sedjo

If you’re reading this to learn how my informational interviews or my social networking are going, you may want to keep browsing. When asked to write this blog, I had to say to myself, how do I put a positive spin on my job search?

Even as I sit here, another news segment about the slow-moving employment front is on my television. But I’m going to forge ahead, with this blog and otherwise.

My recent position was a senior associate editor at a B2B for pet-product retailers. Just to give some history, I started out as a copy editor at a daily, was assistant editor at a B2B for the underground construction industry and then stayed in legal publishing for a few years. I also freelanced for a health and wellness site.

I must be doing something right. I’ve had a few interviews (mostly journalism-related; two were not). But it’s hard to keep going sometimes because just a couple of years ago (OK, so three) I would normally have some job offers after a couple of interviews.

Here are some difficult opinions I’ve gathered from my personal job search: It’s better out there for editors at the associate level. It’s better if you have substantial amounts of Web or digital experience, including (but definitely not all-inclusive) content management system updating, video editing and e-newsletter experience.

Let me explain. I’ve applied for associate-level jobs. (There seem to be more of these at this point in time, which makes sense. Again, this is just my opinion.) You know it may not go well (i.e., you may not end up with the position) when the editor says to you on the phone, “You understand the salary is associate-level pay.” You try to convince her that you are OK with that and just want to get in with a good company in an interesting position, but that hasn’t quite cut it in my experience so far.

I really was disappointed earlier this year when I learned I did not get a Web editor position with a great company. I interviewed with many people, and it seemed to go well. The editor was kind enough to explain to me that, while I do have some CMS uploading and even XML coding experience, they went with someone who had more well-rounded digital experience coming in the door.

Well, I took some time to ask myself, “Where do I go from here?” I’m sure this is a big question for many people right now. It’s a sad state of affairs, but it does help to keep that in mind. For me, that meant looking into graduate school. Some Northwestern University professors took some time near the end of the quarter to talk to me, and I also attended an informational session. While that would be a dream come true, I am trying to get myself out of a financial situation and have decided I should not pursue that option at this time.

Option No. 2 related to journalism: Take some community college or other such classes to “up” my digital skills on my resume. I do believe this is the best choice for me right now, but I have not taken steps yet. I listened to an ASBPE Webinar on “Bridging the Digital Skills Training Gap.” That had some great information for some starting points.

Option No. 3 not related to journalism: I love animals. That is part of why I went to work for a pet-product B2B. Perhaps I should take steps to become a vet tech or something similar where I can work with animals (and people). After all, I used to be a phlebotomist at a plasma donation center in college. To combine that kind of work with animals would make me happy.

But journalism is still in my heart. So the revisited “where do I go from here” at this time: Keep applying. Take some classes. And, work on actually contacting people in my LinkedIn network and maybe scheduling some informational interviews.

Anne Sedjo is an editor/writer based in Chicago.

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