Thursday, June 09, 2005

Reader Question: Career Change/Telecommuting Work

A reader wrote in with the following question, which made a good topic for today’s blog entry.

I'm pursuing a change in career focus ... Can you point me in the right direction? I have worked in corporate and educational marketing communications or more than 17 years. My strongest skill set -- and what I most enjoy -- is publications management (print periodicals as well as marketing collateral). I have specialized in curriculum support materials and programs for K-12 students. I'd like to identify a full-time opportunity but am unable to relocate outside of Michigan. Do you have suggestions for refining my search to include Michigan-only jobs or identifying jobs where the employer is agreeable to the work being performed via distance? Mimi, Michigan

Your question is two-fold: first, location; then, type of job (publications management). As you are unable to relocate outside of Michigan, you have two options: 1) narrow your search to your area; or 2) broaden your search beyond the specific type of job you seek (publications management).
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Visit the job boards today! Full-time listings. Freelance listings. ****************************************************************************

  • Tips for Narrowing Your Search: Go to the major job boards like Monster, CareerBuilder and Yahoo!, narrowing your search to your area. Also, check local newspapers. With the advent of the Internet, job listings in local newspapers are a sorely overlooked source of leads, in my opinion. Finally, do some digging on the types of companies who publish in-house materials, and send them your cover letter/resume.
  • I read somewhere that up to 85% of job openings are never advertised. So, there are a lot of opportunities that never make it to the public forum. Contact ad agencies, nonprofit organizations, marketing and PR firms – all of these publish materials of some kind – get your credentials in their hands, even if they aren’t openly hiring.
  • Broadening Your Search/Looking for Telecommuting Work: As you have specialized experience, for telecommuting purposes, I’d target companies who publish these types of materials – ie, educational firms. There are literally thousands of these types of firms.
  • Put together an aggressive email/mail campaign. Many of them will not respond, but in my experience, most companies keep qualified applicants on file for up to a year. You may get a call 8 months from now out of the blue, announcing, “We received your credentials back in December and have an upcoming assignment that we think you’d be perfect for …”
  • Be sure that you have a complete home office setup so that you can comfortably work from home. Many times, when companies contact you for off-site work, it is because they are on deadline and need someone who can get started right away. So, there will be no time to go out and get the equipment you need. Really, all you need is a fax machine, a fast Internet connection and MS Word. Having the ability to open .pdf files and sometimes using a spreadsheet program, ie, Excel, will also come in handy.
  • All in all, editorial is a very static industry. It’s hard to switch gears (eg, go from marketing and communications to publications management), because most employers want someone with a specific skill set. So, if they are hiring a publications manager, they want someone who has been a publications manager before.
  • To get around this, do a very specific cover letter, stating how your skills are directly transferable. Also, be willing to accept a bit of a pay cut in order to get your foot in the door.
Good luck!


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Waller said...

Hello, Interesting blog you've got here. I came across it when I was searching for general information on how to find a job. I'm a careers advisor in the UK and so it's interesting to get some insight into how things work in the US,thanks.