One Job Opening Can Lead to More Openings, Opportunities

There are a couple of new job openings for football beat writers and they look good. The openings, in turn, could generate others. Let's use them to look at how job-seekers can use one opening to find others.

Nick Cotsonika, who covered the Lions at my old newspaper, the Detroit Free Press, has jumped to Yahoo Sports. Rick Alonzo, Vikings writer at the St. Paul Pioneer Press, has just left after less than six months on the job. The Lions beat has one of the best schedules in football because you are almost assured of never having to work past the regular season.

Both newspapers are calling around, looking outside.

So, we have two openings. But wait. When those sports departments fill their openings, there will likely be two more. And when those are filled, there will likely be two additional openings (provided the news org fills the spot). These moves could create more than half a dozen openings as they ripple through the job market.

Smart football writers who are looking to move will apply to Detroit and St. Paul right away. Even candidates who know they are not qualified for these jobs would be smart to apply. Here's why:

Having an application on editors' desks when they are seriously searching for candidates will get you a better look than if you apply when nothing is open. This can set you up for other openings. If a paper opts for an internal candidate, you could be in the running for a different job in that sports department before most people even know the new opening exists.

Being a live candidate should also get you some answers from the sports editor. Even a "thanks, we're going with someone else," is valuable. It gives you an opportunity to ask who was hired -- and to apply for that person's old job. You will also learn where this sports department hired from, and you may get an idea of what its talent pipeline is like. The exchange can also be the first step into a continuing dialogue with the sports editor.

If you don't get the next-level job, repeat. And repeat as often as there seems to be a reasonable fit for you. A hire is not an isolated event; it is a change in a network. If you follow where people go, you will discover new job openings and can even learn about hiring pipelines and patterns.

  • Joe Grimm

    Joe Grimm is a visiting editor in residence at the Michigan State University School of Journalism. He runs the JobsPage Website.


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