Wednesday, April 29, 2009
In response to Friday's post,
one commentator asked what a good response would be to the job interview question What are your weaknesses? This is probably every one's least favourite question, but a common one, so be prepared.
One strategy is to turn a negative into a positive. Admit to a weakness – a minor one – then quickly turn the conversation to how you have overcome that weakness, or how you manage it.
For example, I get distracted very, very easily. A person walks by, an email pops up, or I hear someone talking about a movie I just saw and have to add my two cents. I manage these distractions, in part, by wearing headphones and listening to music to block out sounds, and by turning off all auto notifications on my email – no dings or bouncing icons. This demonstrates to the interviewer that I'm capable of self-assessment and self-improvement.
And that's the main point of the question. The interviewer wants to know if you can recognize where you need improvement and if you can figure out how to make yourself better.
And keep in mind, you don't want to admit to anything that might be a deal breaker, like you hate writing or don't always work well with others. But you also don't want to say anything completely irrelevant either. A weakness for chocolate or an inability to manage your chequebook are just weird answers.
Monday, April 27, 2009
If you're in a job you hate or have been out of work for a while and you're desperate to find a new gig, the worst thing you can do is let that desperation show to potential employers. In a pair of posts (with a third promised), recruiter Lindsay Olson talks about how frustrating job hunting can be.
She shares an absolutely horrible job inquiry sent her way, which starts out
"I'm hoping you won't say that you 'don't have anything right now', or you 'don't have anything at my level'. That would be a horrible way to start the week."
The letter is quite cringe-worthy, and worth the read. Of course, it speaks to the frustration a lot of people are feeling right now, so Lindsay also offers up a few tips to keep in mind on why a company will and will not hire you.
A company will not hire you because you have bills to pay and need the job; they will hire you if you're the right person for the job. Make sure they're hearing about the latter and not the former. No one responds well to desperation.
Friday, April 24, 2009
There are certain things we just shouldn't say. Particularly on job interviews. If asked what you're weaknesses are, don't say you have none or you that you don't know. Or even worse, don't say you're a perfectionist (no one buys it, and it's a transparently underhanded way to say that you don't have any faults). Check out the Ed2010 site for more tips on what not to say during an interview.
Wednesday, April 22, 2009
There are many reasons why I love being an editor, and I was reminded last night about one of them: the thrills.
There's the thrill of getting your first internship. Of seeing your name on the masthead for the first time. Your first business card that says editor
. Your first byline. Landing the job at the magazine you've always wanted to work at. Meeting an editor you've long admired (our celebrities, if you will). The really good swag (admit it). And, of course, getting nominated for a National Magazine Award.
This is my first time being nominated, and it's a very nice little thrill.
Congrats to all the NMA nominees.
Monday, April 20, 2009
Two new things to report about Ed2010.
If you're an Ed member and have missed the daily newsletter, Ed News is back. Starting today you'll find Ed's daily roundup of magazine industry news (mostly US-based) through the Ed2010News Twitter feed.
now has it's own homepage on the Ed website. There you'll find details on the chapter, as well as news on upcoming and past events.
Thursday, April 09, 2009
Samir Husni – that's Mr. Magazine to you – has published a series of brief videos in which industry leaders talk about magazines:
Eleanor Griffin, editor-in-chief, Southern Living, on the soul of a magazine; Howard Greenberg, design director, Southern Living, on the differences in innovation between print and web.
Jim Sexton, senior vice president and editorial director, Southern Progress Corporation Digital Network, on how print and web complement each other.
Lindsay Bierman, editor-in-chief, Coastal Living, on innovation in reinvention.
Vicki Wellington, publisher, Food Network magazine, on extending the brand.
Trisha McMahon, editor-in-chief and senior vice president for communications and public relations, Morris Visitor Publications’ New York division, on the value of print.
Thursday, April 09, 2009
I don't know if I've said this before, but there is such thing as doing too many internships. After one, you should be able to start applying for entry-level positions. You can do as many as three, but more than that and potential employers may start to ask why you haven't landed a job yet. Joe Grimm on Ask the Recruiter
points out that even more important is how long you intern after becoming employable (e.g. graduating from school). If you're getting nowhere with the job hunt, put your efforts into freelance gigs and networking instead of doing another stint as an intern, even if you have to get a part-time job outside the field to support yourself. You'll build contacts and your portfolio, which is more valuable.
Friday, April 03, 2009
Maybe all those meetings you have aren't necessary. And if they are, maybe they needn't be as long. There are three things that guarantee zone-outs: rehashing what everyone already knows, talking about things that are relevant to only two or three people in the group, and going off topic.
A selection of tips from Seth Godin on how to make your meetings more effective:
• Understand that all problems are not the same. So why are your meetings? Does every issue deserve an hour? Why is there a default length?
• Remove all the chairs from the conference room. I'm serious. [This might not work for story meetings, but can you imagine how much more quickly a weekly update meeting would go?]
• Bring an egg timer to the meeting. When it goes off, you're done. Not your fault, it's the timer's.
• The organizer of the meeting is required to send a short email summary, with action items, to every attendee within ten minutes of the end of the meeting.
I'd add to the list Start All Meetings On Time.