Friday, November 30, 2007

A Blog Is Born!

Today let's officially welcome Krisan Matthews to the blogosphere. Her new blog is The Publishing Curve, about her adventures as an editorial assistant and her love of books in general. She's already off to a great start, with a post yesterday about a day in her life in Chicago (I thought my commute was tough!).

She's also got a great blogroll going, as well as several other cool widgets. So stop by and say "hi" to the newest publishing blogger. I'm looking forward to reading her future posts.

Thursday, November 29, 2007

Publishing Jobs and Career Info on

What on earth took me so long to explore this fabulous resource?'s publishing section on its website is just amazing--chock-full of articles and facts on publishing careers, such as salaries, day-in-the-life articles, company profiles, industry info, networking boards, a sample resume, job and internship listings, and much more. Some of the content is free, and some of it you have to have a subscription to view.

Vault does all this to promote its book on publishing careers, Vault Career Guide to Book Publishing. At $29.95 and only 128 pages, it's kind of steep. Plus, it's more than three years old at this point. When they come out with a new edition, I will be sure to review it here.

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Another Way to Network About Careers Online: Yahoo! Kickstart

Yesterday Lindsey Pollak blogged about another new social/professional networking site: Yahoo! Kickstart. It's billed as "a professional network with a distinct purpose: to help college students connect with professionals and alumni who can help them find the right internships, post-graduate jobs, career development advice, support and mentorship." Sounds like it's right up our alley!

Kickstart fills the gap between Facebook (more social than professional) and LinkedIn (a bit too hardcore for college students, maybe). So it has the potential to take off (but maybe not as much as if it were sponsored by Google...). I think it's worth joining to see what happens.

You gotta give Yahoo! credit for some cheekily clever positioning. In their list of reasons to join is this one: "Uncle Ron may work for IBM, but it doesn't mean you want him writing on your wall or poking your friends." Um, yeah.

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Would You Use Twitter to Find a Job?

Rusty Weston on the My Global Career blog posts this question. He then proceeds to tell the story of a Dutch entrepreneur who puts out vacancy announcements over Twitter.

Twitter, BTW, is "a service for friends, family, and coworkers to communicate and stay connected through the exchange of quick, frequent answers to one simple question: What are you doing?" My grandmother, who called us eight times a day even though she lived just three miles away, would have loved it. I, on the other hand, don't have time for it right now.

I suppose any medium that connects people to one another can be used to network for job opportunities. But this seems like a stretch to me. I agree with the entrepreneur that most companies want a cheaper, easier way to find new employees. But I think most companies, especially those in the somewhat conservative publishing industry, aren't ready for this one just yet.

Monday, November 26, 2007

Don't Become an Informational Interview Pet Peeve Statistic

Last week author Laurence Shatkin sent me a link to this article on Marci Alboher's Shifting Careers blog on In it, Marci lets off a little steam about the wrong ways to request and conduct an informational interview.

An informational interview is when you find someone who has a job you are interested in and ask them whether they will spend some time telling you about their job and giving you advice. It's not, as some people might think, a way to trick someone into interviewing you for an actual job opening. So you have to be very careful and clear that you are not looking for a job--just information. Most of the people who have requested informational interviews from me were well-coached ahead of time and have held that line admirably. Sometimes they are even a little surprised or flustered when I ask them to send their resume ahead of the meeting. I just like to see what they've done in the past so that I can advise them a little better for the future. (You'll see below that some experts advise against involving your resume at all.)

A few people commented on Marci's post with their own pet peeves. Not saying "thank you" is a big one. Others said to do your homework and don't overstay your welcome.

My author-friend Katy Piotrowski, author of The Career Coward's Guide to Changing Careers, devotes two entire chapters of that book to the fine art of effective informational interviewing. She provides a list of success steps for the informational meeting:

  • Determine whether you’ll be meeting in person or over the phone.
  • Decide on a time that works for both of you.
  • Double-check the appointment time and place.
  • Dress appropriately. Aim to look neat, but don’t dress as if you’re going in for a job interview.
  • Take notes (and leave your resume at home). You don’t want to present a mixed message. If the specialist asks for your resume, say something like, “Because I’m still deciding on my future career path, I haven’t created my resume yet. However, I’ll be happy to keep you posted on my decisions and share one with you at a later time. Would that be okay?”
  • Turn off distractions. Your cell phone, Blackberry, or any other beeping device should be turned off so that you can give the specialist your full attention.
  • Be an effective listener. As the interviewer, you should talk 25 percent or less of the time, and listen for 75 percent or more of the conversation.
  • Use an agenda. It’s perfectly fine to take along a list of questions. In fact, the interviewer will be impressed that you’re prepared! It’s also fine to share a copy of the questions with the specialist at the beginning of the conversation. This sometimes helps the specialist to stay focused with his or her responses.
  • Keep track of the time. You’ve asked for 15 to 30 minutes, so be sure to watch the clock.
  • Handle “want a job?” offers. Being offered a job during an informational interview can be flattering and exciting, but be wary of saying, “Yes!”, at least right away. Keep in mind that you’re still researching and making decisions about your career path. It’s better to respond with, “Wow, I’m really flattered. Thank you! Because I’m still researching my career path, I’m not ready to make that kind of decision right now. Could I get back to you in the near future, once I’m clearer about my plans?”
  • Wrap up successfully. Review your questions and notes to make sure you’ve covered everything. Confirm the contact information for any referrals you’ve been given, ask for their business card, and look the specialist in the eye and say, “This has been very helpful to me, thank you. May I keep in touch if I have further questions, and to let you know how things progress for me?”
  • Send a timely thank-you. Whether it’s an e-mail or a hand-written note (either is fine), it’s important to send a message thanking the specialist for his or her time and insights.

Sunday, November 25, 2007

The Arizona Book Publishing Association

When you think of Arizona, I'll bet publishing isn't the first thing that comes to mind (more likely, the mental image you get is a big saguaro cactus). But it turns out that they have a thriving publishing community made up of the 120 or so members of the Arizona Book Publishing Association. Not all of these members are actual publishers; many are affiliated businesses such as printers and binders.

Their website includes a very helpful list of members complete with contact names, in case you would like to network your way into a publishing career in Arizona (and who wouldn't--it's a lovely place!). You can also take advantage of announcements of their monthly gatherings (which sound like a lot of fun!).

For the members themselves, there are lots of reasons to join. In fact, they give a list:
  1. The contacts.
  2. The referrals.
  3. The information.
  4. The professional growth.
  5. The newsletter.
  6. The monthly meetings.
  7. The access to experts.
  8. The educational opportunities.
  9. The Web site.
  10. The fun.

This site got me thinking: If Minnesota and Arizona (and surely many other states) have organizations like these, why not Indiana?

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Give Thanks for Your Mentors

"Oh no," you're thinking. "Not another cheesy Thanksgiving-themed blog post!" But really, there's a relevant message here about how mentors can help shape your career (and your life), if you will bear with me through my self-indulgent little trip back in time.

I've been thinking a lot over the past few weeks about the people who helped me figure out where I belonged and find the work I was meant to do. I wonder how I got so lucky to have literally fallen into so much good advice from so many caring people. Although I owe a lot to my parents (insisting that I go to college, and instilling in me their entrepreneurial spirit and "git-'er-done" work ethic), they were very young and naive about careers and education.

The first concerned outsider to step in was my third-grade teacher, the late Charlotte Petkovsek, who told me bluntly that just because I was a girl, it didn't mean I had to be a teacher. She told me to think bigger. (Not that being a teacher is bad, but it wouldn't have fit well with my introverted nature, anyway.)

Then there was the late Don Weil, the middle-school band director at my school. After I took his required music aptitude test but declined to join the program, he went directly to my parents (not hard, since he lived next door) to convince them to let me join the band. I shudder to think what my life would have been like without the camaraderie and joy of being a musician. It brought me out of my shell and helped me make so many later connections that propelled me to my career destiny.

As a high-school freshman, a band friend's dad, who happened to be the dean of arts and sciences at the University of Evansville, locked in on me and said, "You will be an English major at UE." Sam Longmire ended up being my advisor and confidant for many years. I still remember him trying to pry from me an idea of my dream career. "What do you see yourself doing?" he asked. When I gave a vague idea (working with words in an office, mostly by myself, but with moderate interaction with others), he steered me toward taking communications courses along with my literature (much as it pained him as a literary purist).

One summer I had an internship in the promotions department at the Evansville Courier. It was quasi- journalism--writing ads disguised as newspaper articles. But our supervisor Ann Ennis made it worthwhile, drilling us on our writing and our reporting techniques until they were strong. She lined up informational interviews to help us with our career choices. And she left us with an indelible piece of advice: "If you ever stop learning and growing in your job, no matter how comfortable you are, force yourself to move on."

After a couple of rocky post-grad jobs and a move to Indianapolis, Joe Wikert plucked me from obscurity and hired me as a copy editor at Macmillan Computer Publishing. What was special about working with Joe was how he took the time to educate everyone about the big picture of publishing, instead of just expecting us to focus on the little picture of editing. Sometimes I still find myself asking, "What would Joe do?" And I usually make the right choice. Recently, he's also the one who pushed me to post to this blog daily, and provided the "spark" that started getting it noticed by mentioning it on his own very popular blog.

And I'd like to thank my JIST mentors (Sue Pines, Janet Banks, and Mike Farr) for teaching me about the careers business and giving me the freedom to do my own thing here. Especially important was their support of my three years as a two-day telecommuter while my little girl was young. It helped balance things out better and got me a few steps closer to "having it all."

I've left off lots of people, no doubt. But I think I've made my point. Mentors are everywhere--they're your teachers, your next-door neighbors, and your bosses and coworkers. You never know when you'll run across that one person who will make a huge difference in your life. During this week when we pause about 30 seconds from eating to think about what we're thankful for, think of your mentors. And someday, you can pay it forward.

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Krisan Matthews on Pace University's M.S. in Publishing Info Session

Krisan in Chicago has kindly volunteered to share with us what she learned at the Pace University informational session last week. Thanks for the detailed and insightful report!

This past Thursday, I had the opportunity to participate in an online chat/information session about the M.S. in Publishing and Certificate in Publishing programs at Pace University in New York City. The M.S. program is the oldest one of its kind in the country and has been in existence for approximately 25 years.

The M.S. program consists of a total of 36 credits--18 credits for required courses, 12 credits for elective courses, and 6 credits for the graduate seminar or internship. It is regarded as a high-caliber, rigorous program and is taught by current publishing professionals.

Certificates are also offered in the Business Aspects of Publishing, Book Publishing, and Magazine Publishing.

Both the M.S. and the Certificate in the Business Aspects of Publishing are offered in an online format vs. a traditional classroom format. The online classes are taught using Blackboard and are completed at the student's own pace. The online format allows for students who do not live in New York City to earn a reputable degree. It is typically completed within approximately 3 years online.

Merit and endowed scholarships are also available to students in this program at the time of their application.

December 1st is the priority deadline for applications. However, admission is rolling and applications are accepted at any time during the year.

For more information on either the M.S. in Publishing or the Certificate programs, please visit

Monday, November 19, 2007

"Young to Publishing Group" Launches Website

The Association of American Publishers last week announced the launch of a new website aimed at entry-level publishing professionals. is filled with resources, including newsletter articles, helpful links, information on the mentoring program, and updates on the group's events, which include brown-bag lunch programs featuring prominent people in the industry (most of this takes place in NYC).

"The Young to Publishing Group is an initiative of the Association of American Publishers (AAP) that strives to give entry-level and junior industry employees (typically with 0-5 years of publishing experience) a chance to build a community outside of their own publishing house and to educate themselves about the publishing industry as a whole. MEMBERSHIP IS FREE, and is open to all 'young' (not far advanced in growth, junior, lacking experience) persons currently employed by a book-publishing house," said Christina Rodriguez, project coordinator at the AAP.

Of particular interest is the 60-Minute Mentoring program, which pairs young publishing professionals with each other to share their experiences over coffee. The program is open to people outside New York, and their "coffee" can be over phone or e-mail. Once the 60 minutes is up, there's no further obligation (unless, of course, you become friends and want to continue meeting on your own).

The group, which is under the auspices of the AAP's Diversity, Recruit & Retain Committee, has been around for six years. You can join by filling out a short questionnaire at the site.

Thanks to Joe Wikert for passing along the press release!

Friday, November 16, 2007

Top 10 Reasons to Hire a Professional Resume Writer

In my job editing career books, I have naturally become immersed in the careers community--and in particular with the hundreds of professional resume writers. After all, I can identify with them in so many ways. I go to their conventions, read their blogs, and talk and e-mail with at least one of them every day. In the process I have become a convert to the idea of hiring a professional resume writer, even for people with excellent writing and editing skills.

So why, you ask, if a person is an excellent writer, should they pay someone else to write their resume? It costs a lot of money (according to surveys the author Louise Kursmark did for her newest book, Directory of Professional Resume Writers, the majority of the writers charge between $200 and $700, and some charge as much as $1,800 or more, depending on the candidate's level of experience). Well, here's the list of reasons I compiled:

  1. You don’t have time to write it yourself.
  2. You don’t know where to begin.
  3. You tried it yourself and got stuck.
  4. You aren’t good with words.
  5. You lack the objectivity to present your most important accomplishments and leave out less relevant experiences.
  6. You’ve forgotten a lot of your key accomplishments and need someone to help you bring them out.
  7. You’re not good with formatting and design.
  8. You don’t know the best ways to use a resume once it’s finished.
  9. You don’t know what an employer wants to see.
  10. Your resume is too important to your career success to do a less-than-perfect job on it.
The next question arises as to how to find the right resume writer to work with. I suggest looking at Louise's book (it's going to the printer today and will be in stores by mid-December). It lists 229 professional resume writers all over the country (and a few in Canada, Australia, and Hong Kong), and groups them by specialties, location, and more, and it even gives samples of their work. Whenever anyone asks me for a referral, I always suggest Louise herself, although sometimes she's too busy to take on new clients.

Thursday, November 15, 2007

The Rejecter: A Literary Agency Assistant's Blog

Ever wonder what goes through the mind of the person who reviews query letters and book proposals from would-be authors? The Rejecter gives you an unexpurgated look into the world of a literary agent's assistant, who, as it turns out, is the first line of defense against bad book proposals.

For anyone who's trying to get their novel published, The Rejecter gives tips on what (and what not) to do to make your submission stand out and make it to the "maybe" pile, where only 5% of submissions end up. Just don't send her your query letter: She won't read it.

And if you have ever considered a career at a literary agency, this blog gives you a really good idea of what it would be like. She even dishes about how and how much agents get paid.

But call me old-fashioned: I'd prefer that she spell it "Rejector."

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Blackhawk Helicopter Parents: Do You Have Them, or Are You One?

Almost every day you hear something in the media or anecdotally about "helicopter parents"--those Baby Boomers who want the best for the kids and end up going overboard and being just a bit too involved. Many people blame/credit them for creating the monster/phenomenon that is Generation Y--the new young workers who expect the workplace to be a kinder, gentler place than it currently is.

Everyone has a different opinion. For instance, this morning I read this post from Sue Danborn, Training and Development Coordinator for Volt Information Services. Not only does she encounter helicopter parents advocating for their kids at work; she also confesses to being one herself!

Gen Y spokesperson Ryan Healy on his Employee Evolution blog writes in defense of the helicopter parent and likens them to agents.

There was talk on 60 Minutes this week that the kind of work ethic engendered in children of helicopter parents will be the downfall of our nation's economic dominance.

As a Gen-Xer stuck in the middle, I'm not going to take a side here. Just ask youself: Do I coddle my kids too much? or Have my parents coddled me too much? Or, in a world where so many kids are neglected, is it such a bad thing to be a parent who goes the extra mile to make sure their kid does well in life?

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

News About My Own Publishing Career

Last week my boss, associate publisher Susan Pines, sent out the following announcement:

Our new workbook product line manager is...

...Lori Cates Hand!

As you all know, Lori has done a great job managing our trade line, which has more than doubled in sales. Now she's ready for more responsibility and challenge. Effective immediately, Lori is taking on the workbook product line as well.

In her first few years at JIST, Lori edited several workbooks, including Job Savvy, which is currently in revision. She's also worked with many of our key workbook authors, including Vern Ludden, Mike Farr, Kathy Troutman, and Bob Orndorff.

Please join me in thanking Lori for her many contributions to JIST and congratulate her on her new, expanded role.

This all came about because of Dave Anderson's departure a few weeks ago. He had been managing the workbook product line (as well as the smaller assessment product line). When he left, the idea was to replace him with another product line manager. But the more I thought about it, the more sense it made for me to volunteer to take on another line. In return, I requested that we use the open "head count" to hire a development editor (whom I will supervise) to take over more of the detailed, day-to-day editing tasks from me. It will be easier to find someone with those sorts of skills. Plus, it really does advance my career by making my responsibilities more "big picture."

Workbooks have always been the bread and butter of JIST, because they appeal to our core non-trade markets. Trade has suffered a bit of an image problem, especially since our merger with EMC/Paradigm, because the retailers take such a big discount and send back so many unsold books. We have to sell a lot more trade books to make the same amount of money that we do on workbooks. So in JIST terms, taking over workbooks is a good move.

So wish me luck during the transition period--before I get someone hired and up to speed. It's going to be busy for me.

As an aside, my parents had a big week in the filial bragging department last week. My younger sister resigned her position as Manager of Customer Research with Hilton Hotels' corporate office to take a higher-paying research job with FedEx in Memphis. Her job is to figure out who customers are, what they want, and what will convince them to buy. Her first order of business will be to test FedEx's upcoming Super Bowl ads.

Monday, November 12, 2007

Debbie Weil on Business and Professional Blogging

To continue with sharing the excellent advice I picked up at last week’s Brand You World international branding summit, here are some tips on writing an effective business blog from Debbie Weil, author of The Corporate Blogging Book. I might add that these tips are also relevant for writing your own professional blog for career advancement and personal branding.
  • Package what you write. Give numbered lists of tips, such as “Top 10 Tips for Writing Your Resume.” It makes for good reading and other bloggers will link to it. Be sure to include a synopsis paragraph at the top.
  • Always link to other sites in your posts. Every post should have at least one link. “Links are the currency of the Internet,” Debbie said. You can link back to your own past posts, articles you’ve read, Wikipedia entries, etc. Make each post a resource worth reading and coming back to.
  • Use the right keywords in your headings and posts. Think like a journalist when titling your posts. Doing so will attract readers as well as Google. Be specific and colorful.
  • If you can’t commit to blogging consistently over a period of a year or two, don’t do it. Try to post at least once or twice a week. (Debbie cited some bloggers who post three times a day!) Such frequent posting will help your blog come up higher in search engine results. (I can testify to that: After three and a half months of posting nearly every day, I have captured the #1 ranking on Yahoo for the term “Publishing Careers.”)
  • Allow comments on your blog. To generate more, you can ask for them in your posts, or e-mail a link to the post to your friends and colleagues, asking them to take a look and leave a comment.
  • Consider using “controversy” to make your blog stand out. Obviously, tread carefully and always be true to your personality.
  • Keep focused on what you’re trying to achieve with your blog.
  • Consider embedding video clips in your blog. You can use YouTube to post them and then link back to them from your blog.
  • Don’t make posting to your blog harder than it has to be. Think of it as a tiny task. “You’re always running across ‘bloggy bits’ during the day,” Debbie said, such as relevant articles and blog posts, that you can refer to. Your entries can be short.
  • Establish yourself as someone who has something to say. You’ll attract speaking engagements and media quotes, and maybe even a new job or consulting gig.

In closing, Debbie offered one last piece of advice: Just do it! It will be worth the time and effort.

Friday, November 9, 2007

Richard Bolles on How His Book Became a Brand

Yesterday was the much-anticipated It’s a Brand You World Global Telesummit on personal branding. For 12 hours, 24 of the foremost experts on personal branding conducted free seminars over the phone. I was lucky to be among the 100,000 expected participants, and I learned a lot for free!

I listened in on two presentations: Debbie Weil on business blogging and Richard Nelson Bolles on how his iconic career book, What Color Is Your Parachute?, became a brand unto itself. Today I’ll focus on the latter and tell you more about Debbie’s presentation next week.

So in 1969, Bolles was terminated from his position as an Episcopal clergyman in San Francisco. He took another job that enabled him to visit college campuses all over the Western states, where he found many other clergy were losing their jobs. The ministers asked his advice, and he ended up traveling 68,000 miles in search of answers for them. He asked people two questions:

  • If traditional job search methods don’t work for you, what is your “plan B”?
  • How do you change careers without going back to school?

Bolles also met a man named John Crystal in Virginia, who sent him his research files on job search methods. Dick typed the whole thing up and self-published it in December 1970 to sell to displaced ministers. He sold 2,000 copies all by himself, traipsing each day to the post office with his “orangutan arms” full to mail out his orders.

When Ten Speed Press came calling in 1972, it was a godsend to him because it relieved him of the drudgery of being his own distribution system. The “weird” publisher from Berkeley helped him broaden his focus to include the general job seeking population and the book quickly became a best-seller.

So why was the book so successful, the moderator asked. “I have no earthly idea,” Bolles replied. The two tried to come up with some possibilities:

  • It was written for the purpose of helping people, not for the purpose of making money.
  • There is consistency between the book’s voice and Bolles’ voice.
  • Bolles became known for his own brand attributes: honesty and not being available to be “bought.”
  • The book created a language the counselors and job seekers could use to communicate with one other and work together better.
  • The book is very visual—not just words.
  • The writing is engaging.

The book somehow became embedded in the nation’s consciousness and has sold 9 million copies. It’s now updated annually, and at age 80 Bolles is still an active participant. “I’m not an author,” he said. “I’m a switchboard. I stay accessible and people tell me what works well and what doesn’t.”

Bolles ended by offering some tips for those who want to create a book that ends up as a brand:

  • Starting out to create a book that’s a brand is the wrong approach. Start with what kind of person you want to help produce as a result of reading your book (in this case, people who can help themselves find a new job or career).
  • If people know who you are and that they can trust you, you are halfway to the sale.
  • Watch out who you associate with and never lose control of your message and your brand.

Thursday, November 8, 2007

Upcoming Information Sessions for Two Master's Programs

If you're thinking of getting a master's degree to further your publishing career, you'll be interested to see that two universities are hosting informational sessions on their programs next week:

  • Indiana University's Kelley School of Business is hosting an open house next Tuesday, November 13, 5-7:30pm, at the Ritz Charles in Carmel, Indiana (126th and Meridian). In addition to its full-time MBA program on the main campus in Bloomington, IU offers an evening MBA program on the IUPUI campus in downtown Indianapolis as well as in the affluent northern suburb of Carmel. It also offers a general administration MBA online through its Kelley Direct program.
  • Pace University in New York is having an online informational session about its MS in Publishing degree next Thursday, November 15, from 6-7:30pm. The MS program is offered at the midtown Manhattan campus; however, Pace also offers certificate programs that you can complete online. (Thanks to Krisan Matthews for letting me know about this one.)

If anyone attends either of these sessions, we'd love to hear a report about what you learn.

Wednesday, November 7, 2007

Freelance Copy Editor Turned Ghost Writer

Here's an interesting article from editor/writer Karen Cole about her freelance career. She gives some tips on upgrading your freelance income by taking on ghost-writing projects. [Edit: This link has been removed.]

She raises the interesting point that often editors are called upon to step outside their narrow roles and do other things to make a manuscript right. Sometimes as a freelancer you get paid more to do that, and sometimes you don't. I think it's a matter of making the employer aware, before you do the work, that it needs more editing than they thought. Then you can negotiate for a higher rate to do that work (be it development, rewriting, or whatever). If they won't give you the increase, in my opinion you should just do what you're paid to do and make sure they are aware that you believe it still needs higher-level work.

I used to hear all the time from in-house copy and production editors that they were doing the work that development editors should have been doing. But still they did it. They cared too much about the books to just let it slide. Meanwhile they were working insane hours to get it all done.

And I also hear from freelance proofreaders who feel that the copy editor before them didn't do their job. So they're having to fix a lot of things that should have been caught sooner. In those cases, I would suggest that yes, you fix the misspellings, typos, and inconsistencies. But you should restrain yourself from making it read like a masterpiece of editorial precision. You're making more work for yourself and for the layout person who has to make the corrections. Also, you're increasing the pre-press costs of the book and cutting into its profits. As an editor, it's hard to think this way. But most readers aren't going to know or care that the book uses "since" when it should be "because." A publisher will value you for your economy as well as your precision, so try to keep the big picture in mind. But by all means, feel free to tell your in-house contact (tactfully...) that you think the copy edit was lacking. It's something they need to know.

Tuesday, November 6, 2007

Does Anybody Use the Classified Ads Anymore?

Conventional wisdom among career experts these days is that reading the newspaper's classified want-ads, although not an outright waste of time, is one of the least effective methods for finding a job. In fact, Richard Beatty, author of The Ultimate Job Search, found that only 7% of jobs are filled through classified ads. (Surprisingly, he ranked the Internet as #1 at 33%, and networking as #2 at 25%.) He got his figures by combining the results of several different studies on the subject.

As a result, the advice most career authors give is this: Go ahead and look at the ads now and then, but don't spend a lot of time on it. Put most of your efforts into seeking out the jobs in the "hidden job market"--the ones that never get posted and are filled by people known to the hiring manager.

Having said all that, because I got my first publishing job through a newspaper ad, they still have a place in my heart. I've been looking at the Sunday classified ads in the Indianapolis Star every week for about 15 years, whether I'm looking for a job or not. It helps keep me abreast of new companies and the ones that seem to have constant turnover. Granted, it used to take a lot more time when the section was 75% bigger than it is now. But there are still sometimes interesting nuggets of information to be gleaned.

For example, in this week's ads, I found that
  • The Lafayette Journal & Courier is looking for a copy editor.
  • The Indianapolis Star is looking for a commerical print coordinator, a media designer, and freelance magazine reporters (for their supplementary publications).
  • DRG, a magazine and book publisher in Berne, Indiana, is looking for a "Knitting Editor."

You might be tempted to laugh at that last one. I mean, are they looking for someone to edit books about knitting? Or are they looking for an editor who knits? Or both? But in all seriousness, I can name you five people right now who are editors who knit. Some of them even blog about it. It's not really all that far-fetched: Both editing and knitting take patience, attention to detail, good eyesight, the ability to follow set standards, and creativity. And in the end, you can wear what you make when you knit.

Monday, November 5, 2007

Selena Dehne: Copywriter/Marketing Communications, JIST Publishing

Here's the story of coworker Selena Dehne and how she landed her first job in publishing. She had the good fortune to be interning at JIST when a job opened up. In a day she went from intern to full-time employee. And we are lucky to have her. Her excellent writing skills have gone a long way toward getting us more media exposure this year.

On the last week of classes before my college graduation one of my journalism professors asked the class, “How many of you have a full-time job lined up after graduation?” Nearly half the class raised their hands. I was not one of them.

No big deal. Half of us were still without a job offer. I was in good company—until my professor asked, “How many of you have an internship lined up after graduation?” Nearly the remainder of the class raised their hands. Again, I was not one of them. It was time to panic.

I did just that until the same professor forwarded an e-mail to me announcing a publicity internship that was available with JIST Publishing. Within minutes of receiving the e-mail I e-mailed my resume and writing samples to the publicist at JIST. Two interviews later, I was hired and my panic subsided.

I spent the summer writing news releases and feature articles, developing media kits, and collaborating on publicity strategies to promote JIST’s products and authors. My internship paid off when a job opportunity in the marketing department became available and I was offered a full-time position. I wanted a good job where I could write, be creative, and bounce from one project to the next. JIST needed someone who would work well with the rest of the staff and knew the products and customers.

Now, as copywriter for marketing communications, I write and proofread copy for brochures, catalogs, flyers, and e-campaigns; develop marketing strategies with other members of JIST’s team; and continue to assist the publicist with news releases, articles, and media kits.

Although, at the time it felt as though my job came through on a stroke of luck at the last minute, it was actually my internship and writing experience in college gave me the skills I needed to land the job I have today. More than a year into my career, I’m thrilled with the direction I’m moving. However, I could have been well on my way to a great career much sooner had I considered the following advice before graduation arrived:
  • Gain experience early. I wrote articles for Indiana University’s student newspaper, but that’s not the only opportunity on campus to get experience. Most student organizations need volunteers who can help promote their organization and events—whether they’re writing news releases, designing flyers, or just brainstorming ideas. The key is to contact leaders in the organization to find out how you can help.
  • Visit your college career center. Not only will they work wonders with your resume, they can set you up with career fairs, on-campus interviews, and suggest several resources for finding jobs that connect to your interests and studies.
  • Talk to professors, counselors, classmates, and friends. Professors and counselors know better than anyone what types of employers are likely to hire students like yourself. With classmates and friends you can share what’s worked and what hasn’t in the job search and may even gain leads as to who is hiring.

Friday, November 2, 2007

Two Events of Note Next Week

On my radar are two events next week, one of which is more of an FYI. The other is a must-do.

First, I see that Santa Barbara City College is having its annual Meet the Pros communication career expo on Wednesday, November 7. Much like the event at SMU last week, alums with communication (including publishing) careers are coming to campus to relate their experiences to students as they plan their impending transfers to four-year colleges. Unless you're a student there, you probably won't be attending (but get a look at their campus and maybe you'll decide you want to be a student there!).

The other event is a huge, worldwide teleconference. The Personal Branding Summit, which takes place November 8 starting at 10am New York time, celebrates 10 years of the personal branding phenomenon. Anyone looking for a job or working to advance their career should be working on defining and communicating their own personal brand. And what better way to start than to hear 24 of the world's foremost experts on the subject--for FREE? Presenters include William Arruda of REACH Branding, Richard Bolles (author of What Color Is Your Parachute?), Guy Kawasaki, and Susan Britton Whitcomb (my author!). I spoke to William Arruda about it earlier this week and he noted that although the event runs 12 straight hours, people are certainly welcome to drop in for just the presentations that interest them most. All speakers and sponsors are donating their time and money to the event. You too can make a donation, which will go to KIVA, an organization that sponsors third-world entrepreneurship. See you there!

Thursday, November 1, 2007

The Places Where "Editor" Is a Popular Job

Thanks to author and data-meister Laurence Shatkin for directing me to a cornucopia of statistics on jobs, called CityTownInfo. Here, among other things, you can plug in a job title and see the cities where that job is most popular (has the highest percentage of the total population working in it).

So, as a for-example, I put in "editors" to see what cities came up. Here are the top 10 places where the job is most popular:
  1. Ithaca, New York
  2. Champaign, Illinois
  3. New York, New York
  4. Bloomington, Indiana
  5. Dubuque, Iowa
  6. Ann Arbor, Michigan
  7. San Francisco, California
  8. Colorado Springs, Colorado
  9. Boston, Massachusetts
  10. Charlottesville, Virginia

Now, it doesn't take a genius to see a pattern here. What do all of these places have in common? Most of them are college towns. My hypothesis is that the confluence of all that knowledge just naturally spawns places to publish it, and it's not necessarily limited to university presses.

You can, of course, pick any other job in publishing and see where it's popular. I just picked editors because it's a job so closely associated with publishing.