New job: Scouting the social web for dapd

I have some personal news to share: I recently started a new job as the first social media editor at the dapd news wire here in Berlin. I will cover digital issues, survey social media channels for breaking news and help feed the dapd profiles.

I’m happy to get back into reporting and writing, something I always missed at my previous web editor job. It’ll be exciting to work with reporters and editors across the newsroom to integrate social media into dapd’s coverage. The positions expands on the work of dapd editor Daniel Bouhs, who created a guide to social networks for journalists.

Being the first person to hold this title, I’m excited to help shape dapd’s approach to social media. As a wire service, dapd faces different challenges than, say, a website or a newspaper – but what’s not to love about challenges? Lucky enough, I have some wonderful examples to follow and be inspired by, such as the many smart journalists I have gotten to know over the past couple years (if you’re reading this, you’re likely one of them). I’m looking forward to bringing social media closer into the newsroom and to our clients.

A visual resume for non-designers: Great idea or gimmick?

Visual resumes are an eyecatcher. You may remember Chris Spurlock’s infographic resume, which was called potentially “the coolest student resume ever“. After the Missouri j-school blog posted it, it was cross-posted on the Huffington Post through a content-sharing agreement. HuffPo editor Craig Kanally helped make the resume go viral and eventually hired Spurlock as Infographic Design Editor.

“We couldn’t resist hiring him after seeing his amazing infographic resume, which became a viral sensation,” Arianna Huffington said in a press release. Success!

Graphics whizzes can shine

Spurlock told j-school buzz he was inspired by Michael Anderson’s visual resume, posted here. I also love Heather Billings’ venn diagram.

Chris (left) and Heather (right) have created unique graphic resumes using their design skills and creativity.

The site CoolInfographics collected a best of that inclues 18 resumes, but calls the trend “certainly not mainstream (yet).”

One problem: not everyone’s a graphic artist. This is an obstacle that VisualizeMe seeks to tackle. Continue reading

Five tips for your digital job search

During a job search, how you present yourself to potential employers is incredibly important. With digital tools, you also have a whole other world of networking opportunities — so make sure you take advantage of it! Here are some tips for making the best of social media and your online presence when looking for your next journalism position.

Be present

The basics: Update your profiles across Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn. Make sure they reflect your skills and interests. Use the same name or acronym across the services so people recognize you. Using the same picture also helps.

Blog

You don’t have a blog yet? Get on it! (No, seriously. Do it right now). Starting a blog is incredibly easy, and you will learn a ton. I’m partial to WordPress, but other platforms like Blogger or Tumblr will work well, too.

Find a subject you’re interested in and start writing. Actually, give it some thought first to make sure you find something you’re truly passionate about. Set a goal to post x times a week and stick to it. A month-old post at the top of your site will not leave a good impression.

Having a blog helps you focus on what you want to say about yourself. Filling in your “About” page is an exercise in self-reflection: What am I really all about? What do I want people to know? (Hint: you want to let them know that they can hire you — don’t be afraid to say you’re looking for a job — and why they should).

Ben Balter recently offered some tips on using WordPress to build your personal brand. Link your blog to your social media profiles to make it a one-stop shop. You can also use Flavors to create a central hub of all your profiles. For inspiration, see Kat Downs, who I worked with on a project, or Adam Westbrook, who also wrote a guide for using Flavors to get you started.

Create a digital resume

Now that you’re blogging, it’s time to add some additional pages to your site to let people know about your skills. Admittedly, not all of us can be as awesome as Heather Billings, who made her site a graphic, interactive resume. But at the very least, your site should have a “resume” page with an online and a downloadable version of your resume.

Why both? The online version should include links to your work and the organizations you’ve worked at, and could include details that didn’t make the print version. Again, we turn to Heather, as well as Greg Linch and Anthony DeBarros, for examples.

Actually, hyperlinks aren’t limited to the web version, but I’d recommend using them more sparingly on your print copy (someone might actually print it and then have lots of blue text on the page).

For this download copy, make sure you name the file smartly, e.g. Name_Resume, when you upload it because this name will show up on peoples’ desktop or download folder. Also remember to redact any information, such as address or phone number, that you might not want on the Internet.

Patrick Thornton has additional helpful tips on designing and building your digital resume.

Additional tip: Remember that your website is part of your online resume. As I said above, a blog that’s never updated doesn’t look good. If that’s not your thing, opt for a simple website without the blogging aspect. I highly recommend blogging, though, because it is another way to enter the conversation with other journalists and to keep working on your skills. And if you blog about your area of journalistic expertise, it’s one more way to show a potential employer how awesome you are.

Join groups

Join your alumni group on LinkedIn, as well as other groups that fit your interests. For starters, I’m a German-born digital journalist based in D.C. — lots of areas I can connect with others. Use sites like meetup.com to find meetings in your area that interest you, and take your networking offline to meet people IRL. The broader your network, the better.

Participate in journalism-centric Twitter chats

It’s networking on Twitter! Join one of the Twitter chats for journalists, like #wjchat, #spjchat, #pubmedia or #journchat. (Not enough hastags? Check out this spreadsheet of weekly Twitter chats.) The chats are usually on the same day of the week and often cover a specific topic. Introduce yourself, ask questions, participate. You’ll learn a lot both about Twitter and about who’s working on what and for whom, what peoples’ interests and expertise are.

Additional tip: Add the chat hashtag search to your Tweetdeck or search the hashtag on the Twitter site every now and then. When people post job alerts interesting to one chat group they often include the hashtag, so make sure you don’t miss those!

Follow journalists who work for organizations you’re interested in

By participating in journalists’ Twitter chats, you will find many people who work for news organizations. Follow them, especially the ones who work somewhere you also want to work. See who they’re talking to, and expand your network. This also keeps you up to date on what the organizations you’re interested in are doing.

You can organize the journalists you follow in a list like I did. Being connected to these people will help you hear about job opportunities before others do.

I actually found out about my new job via Twitter, where Jeff Sonderman posted a tweet late one day that TBD was looking for a web producer. See? It works!

Additional reading

Haven’t had enough? I highly recommend two posts by Alexis Grant, a journo friend of mine who writes career advice for U.S. News and World Report:

13 tips for job hunters – because I’ve been there (she agrees with me that “blog is the new resume”!) and
How to use social media to look for a job

Check out Tracy Boyer’s advice for potential bloggers,Don’t just ‘do it’, before you get started.

If you have additional tips, leave them in the comments. I’d love to hear them!