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One of the most common things we talk about on FWT panels is: Where do I even look for a job?
Every Monday she emails subscribers with dozens of fresh job listings she has painstakingly collected by hand, along with — you guessed it — adorable pup photos.
You may have noticed last week that FWT started hosting listings, and Journalism Jobs is how we’re able to do that. So I wanted to chat with Mandy to hear more about her process and how she does her work. Below is an edited interview with her that covers what she does, how she does it, how to be a better job candidate, and more.
Hi Mandy! What will subscribers to Journalism Jobs find in your newsletter?
Each Monday I send out dozens of recently posted journalism jobs, internships, and fellowships from across the U.S. On top of that, I include industry readings, free or low-cost training opportunities, and other resources I found throughout the week as I scour social media, job boards, and industry websites. I segment the jobs by region so it's super scannable, and I include remote jobs and openings in locations not just concentrated on the coasts.
Job hunting can be really hard on a person. I try to infuse my newsletter with fun, helpful, or interesting things that got me through the week and a picture of one or both of my dogs at the bottom. Some people subscribe just for the dogs, and that's totally fine with me!
You've said that you responded to more than 100 job openings when you were applying for your first full-time role. In retrospect, what would you have done differently?
Yes, when I started out about 10 years ago, I applied to wayyy too many places, and it took a toll on me. I just didn't know the right way to navigate a job search and how long it could take. When I look back on the list of places and the roles I applied for, I'd tell my younger self to put more time into fewer applications for roles I was better suited for and spend more time reaching out directly to hiring managers and connecting with them.
I should have also been a little more intentional about how much time I spent searching for roles and set aside blocks of time for it. Whether I applied for a job the day it came out or a few days later likely wouldn't have changed the outcome, so slowing down probably would have been better for my mental health. Job searches can take months, and I wish I had known that.
JJ newsletters for paid subscribers sometimes talk about strategies for writing better cover letters when applying for jobs. What would you say are the two or three things all of us could improve on when writing those?
Cover letters can be tough! It's hard to write about yourself, but I've heard from a lot of hiring managers that they still appreciate getting these. It's helpful to make cover letters unique to the job that you're applying for. Go beyond what's listed on your résumé, and connect what you currently do to a potential future employer.
If you're unsure of where to start, go back to the job description. Are there a few bullet points about skills or experience that you're fantastic at? Highlight those, and use them as a basis to build out an outline and expand it into the body of a cover letter.
Still stuck? Check out this NPR training resource for even more ideas. Also have someone read over your work before you hit submit.
You offer free 30-minute coaching calls on Thursdays to women and other folks underrepresented in media. What are a few common themes you've noticed in those calls, and how do you respond to them?
I'll sometimes hear from really sharp people underselling themselves and their accomplishments, folks who have gotten discouraged with a job search, or those who are feeling a little stuck in their current job. I mostly try to listen and ask questions about where they're at and how they're feeling, and then try to validate their feelings, call out recent wins they've had, and brainstorm next steps.
Wins can be especially hard to recognize for yourself. Sometimes you need someone else to call out for you how awesome you are or how much you've grown. This could be a mentor, friend, co-worker, or partner — just someone you know and trust.
Another way is to try what Katie Hawkins-Gaar, writer of the My Sweet Dumb Brain newsletter, does and save those wins in a folder to look at them again when you need a quick pick me up. Remember: You've got this!
October Zoom Panels
3 p.m. How to launch and host a podcast: Between logistics, gear, and personalities, launching a podcast is never easy. This will help.
4:30 p.m. How to write better personal essays: Want to sharpen your personal essays? Figure out where to pitch them? Learn how to pitch them? This is the panel for you.
6 p.m. Personalized pitch feedback roundtable: Bring a pitch or two you want feedback on to this limited-space roundtable, which will be structured as a grad-school-level class in which everyone is expected to participate.
6 p.m. The art of structuring a longform feature: Join me as I lead a deconstruction exercise of a longform narrative story and provide tips on how to use those tools in your writing.
3 p.m.: The business of freelancing: Contracts, rates, platforms and more: How do you set rates? Create your own platform? Diversify your clients? All that and more!
6 p.m. Everything to know about selling and writing a nonfiction book: Not sure where to start? Unclear on best practices for writing a proposal? How do you find an agent? All of that and more in this workshop.
And, as always, please feel free to share this with and/or forward this to any journalists or organizations who might be interested!
Wirecutter, remote friendly | Multiple openings, including Audience Development Manager, Social and Community and Audience Development Strategist, Off-platform (Source: @amatos12 via Twitter)
Reynolds Journalism Institute at the Missouri School of Journalism, Columbia | Innovation Lab Editor & Project Manager (Source: @KatDuncanPhoto via Twitter)
NJ Advance Media, Iselin, New Jersey | Social Media Producer (Source: JournalismJobs.com)
MySA, San Antonio | Digital Content Producer (Source: @msweetharris via Twitter)
Oh, a few other things …
• [Update 10/5: This has been claimed] A very kind and generous journalist who wishes to remain anonymous has offered to sponsor a yearlong subscription for a student journalist — email me at email@example.com to claim it! (First to write gets it!)
• I am now offering one-on-one coaching! This can include anything you need help with: pitch feedback, writing and/or editing coaching, story development, story editing, social strategy, and anything else. Book a timeslot here.
• For paid subscribers: Coming out on Thursday: Find *editors* you like to work with, not publications. I also just posted a huuuge update to the full archive of recorded Zoom panels and workshops! New playbacks include panels on selling and writing a book; writing better culture coverage and criticism; and everything to know about starting a podcast. Also new for paid subscribers: The dos and don’ts of writing the perfect pitch and the only pitch template you’ll ever need.
Okay bye ily!