Q: I left a staff reporter position in September that I held for two years at my hometown 70,000-circulation daily in order to move to New York City.
I arrived without a job and have been working as a waitress for the last few months, but next week I am interviewing for an editorial assistant position with the AP Business Desk. My question is whether I am overqualified for the job, and if it would be better to hold out for a reporting position at another news outlet.
The editorial assistant job is obviously a step up from my restaurant gig, but I'm worried that if I accept and shortly thereafter end up looking for a position that allows for more writing and reporting, it won't reflect well on my reliability. What do you think?
A: It does, indeed sound that you are overqualified to be either an editorial assistant or a waitress. However, either job will keep you in New York City and it's better to sling faxes than it is to sling hash.
If you accept a job that makes your AP tenure a short one, you should have no problem if you make sure you stay with that subsequent job long enough to establish that you are not a job-hopper.
No, the real problem would be if the AP feels ripped-off that they hired you and you didn't stick around.
So, anticipate that by talking about it in the interview. It sounds as though they will spend almost nothing for recruting, interviewing or moving you, so they do not face very muc financial exposure. So, the issue would be any investment in training or time.
They know you've worked for a 70,000-daily. They know you're a journalist. Explain what you're doing and ask what they see as a reasonable minimum commitment on your part. It probably is unwise to tick off one of the nation's largest employers of journalists, so make sure you're on the same page.
A note for you and others: In some cases, employers will have new hires sign an agreement that, if they leave within a one- or two-year window, the employee will reimburse moving costs.
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