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Diane asks, "I have a Bachelor's degree in Journalism, as well as other qualifications in Business and Administration. Over the last 7 years (while at college and since graduating) I have worked at a college newspaper as a Staff Writer, for several years as a Film Reviewer for web sites and a film festival, and most recently in Advertising (doing some ad editing) for a small, weekly newspaper. My dream is to eventually work full-time as a Film Reviewer (or something in entertainment/media) and I am currently working on 2 freelance articles for a new L.A. health magazine, which will be published in the first issue this summer. I am getting frustrated at trying to get a full-time writing position of some kind here in Texas (Dallas/Fort Worth area) and wondered if you had any suggestions. I would eventually like to move somewhere like California, where it looks like there are thousands of full-time writing jobs available when I search websites online, but unfortunately I am not in a position financially to move there. What would you suggest I do? Should I apply for international jobs (as I have over ten years experience traveling worldwide)? Or should I just take a chance and eventually head out to California? I would appreciate your opinion and look forward to hearing back."
You have some options. Generally, the best thing to do is get some offers from a place before relocating. Get as many market books as you can and look at all the magazines and newsletters and websites that publish film reviews and start submitting these to the editors. Sometimes that will lead to a full-time staff position. The problem now is that budgets are so tight publications are not hiring. They are using freelance writers more. Whether you can turn freelance writing into a full-time profession depends on a lot of factors.
Most of the writing jobs in the Dallas area are in corporate communications. You might go to the local library and check with the reference librarian for directories that have all the publications, big and small, in Dallas/Ft. Worth. Find out who the editors are and prepare a resume and cover letter. Try to connect directly with the editor who will hire you and get an interview.
The thing to remember is that jobs in ads only represent 20% of the available open positions. Most people get jobs through networking, by being in the right place at the right time. Don't hesitate to call yourself a film reviewer and get yourself known to the right editor at all the newspapers and magazines in your area. Talk to them and get feedback. Find out if they have internships.
You have experience and clips to go to the next step. What you need is a job search strategy that is applied directly to the target of your intention. Since you know what you want to do, you need to find out who hires that position and what you need to do to get hired. And it usually means a spiffy resume, contact, interview, follow-ups, etc.
Relocating is fine and can be stimulating. But, you would need about 5-6 months of livable capital and have a very determined strategy in place.
As far as international jobs, there are writing jobs available in that area. Obviously travel writing jobs is one. But, there are companies that need writers who know how to travel and move around the globe. That, in fact, is a competitive advantage you have.
I would suggest you make another effort at finding a writing job in the local area by learning how to research companies, cold calling people, targeting publications, and so forth. At the same time send out reviews on a freelance basis and get known to editors as a reviewer.
You have plenty of positives going for you and with a strategy and determination you should be able to find a job. Remember, we are emerging from a recession and the job market is starting to grow again.
Good luck in your pursuits!
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