Q: Here's my deal: I've worked at a 100,000-circulation daily for nearly seven years. Five of those in features, writing reviews and lifestyle stories. A year ago, I moved to the newsroom as a beat reporter. I'm trying to move to another paper: bigger would be nice; smaller would be OK if it's a quality paper in a scenic location. I'm applying to both news and features writing jobs. I've sent out 47 resume/cover letters. Nothing, except one e-mail request asking for more clips.
A friend suggested I join the National Association of Black Journalists to network even though I'm white. I'm not sure that would work. Tonight, a 22-year-old editorial assistant who's just came to work at our paper, told me I needed to contact recruiters.
Here's my question: Am I searching the wrong way or are there just too many laid-off journalists applying for too few jobs. My boss talks about how it's the toughest job market since 1991. But will it ever get better?
A: That lack of response can certainly be disheartening.
All the factors you mention could be at work: searching at places that are not hiring, trying to compete in a flooded market or a lack of contacts.
The only variable you can really work on is the networking. I wouldn't join any group where I might not feel like I really fit solely for the networking opportunities. Join a group like the Society of Professional Journalists, Investigative Reporters and Editors or the American Association of Sunday and Features Editors. There are many more groups, for education reporting, military reporting, photography, design, editing and more. I have recruited at these groups and more. The Council of National Journalism Organizations has links to more than 60. If you're looking for a group to join, choose one where you share goals and where you would like to get involved and make a contribution.
If you prefer not to join, you can attend the annual conference and job fair of NABJ or some other organization by registering as a non-member.
You can also meet recruiters and hiring editors at seminars, state press associations and on the job.
You might even try the kind of on-line networking that Sree Sreenivasan has written about.
Keep plugging, keep an eye open for live openings in your target areas and get out to see people.
Note: "Ask the Recruiter" is moving to Poynter's new Career Center. The new home is here. Don't forget to change your bookmark.