Thursday, October 07, 2010

When opportunity smacks you

Here lately I've read several blogs and articles about the reality and effort of professionalism. Then I came across a blog by a writing acquaintance that seemed to wrap its arms around the concept and prove a wonderful point about being a "professional" writer.

You never know who's watching.

Alexis Grant is a travel writer and journalist. She maintains a blog that is cute, smart and informative. She caught my eye talking about writing retreats, and I've followed her ever since. She's one of those blogs I just enjoy, and these days, those blogs are few and far between.

She recently attended a writing retreat, and blogged about the experience. She made me want to apply for a dozen! But something completely unexpected happened to her while she rejuvenated her muse at Hambidge Retreat. U.S. News & World Report offered her a position covering careers and job searches. All because of her blog.

From her blog:
Know what helped me get the job? A blog post I wrote on using social media for your job hunt. Yet another reason why anyone who wants to be someone should have a blog. For job-seekers, a blog is a great way to showcase your skills.

And because the job entails some on-camera moments, they viewed her video moments on that blog. Her personality, composure, and consistent reporting made an employer give her a call - out of the blue!

Mystery author Kathryn Wall self-published her two mysteries with iUniverse a decade ago. But instead of relying on the vanity press's promised to promote the book, she traipsed up and down the South Carolina coast, focusing on the setting of her books, to place them in gift shops. An employer of a publisher picked up the book during a vacation and liked it. She's been with St. Martin Press ever since, and just released her tenth novel.

I maintain a resume on my website. It's more for my own reference than anything else, but a magazine editor looked me up a few years ago, contacted me, and requested I write two short pieces for her publication. A $750 gig.

As I tell my job hunting sons, you don't find your perfect career at Craigslist or Monster jobs. You put yourself out there, knocking on doors. You continue to improve your skills, either through volunteer work, education, self-employment, or short-term gigs.

You keep moving forward, advancing, improving yourself, behaving as the professional, because sooner or later, you pass someone who'll want to snatch you up.

They can't find you when you're standing still.

Has opportunity ever caught you by surprise?


Ellie Garratt said...

I've always thought the same thing, Hope. You don't know who might be watching/reading, and you could find yourself in the right place at the right time!

Cindy Kerschner said...

I sent a query to Fresh Magazine and was told by the editor she couldn't use the piece but she liked my writing style. A year later I get an email call for submissions and this time my query lands an assignment.
Out of sight is not necessarily out of mind!

Linda O'Connell said...

Your posts always inspire me. You'll nevber know how important YOUR blog is to others. Thank you.

Alexis Grant said...

Hey! Thanks for the sweet mention! You're so right when you say you'll find your job when you put yourself out there.

I should set the record straight though: U.S. News didn't contact me out of the blue. I applied for a position there, a job I heard about through a journalism listserve I'm on, and they clicked over to my blog to find out more about me. *But* I have been contacted out of the blue by people who've stumbled across my blog and want to hire me for various writing, editing and social media projects. When you make it easy for people to find you, they do.

Subscribing to YOUR blog now!

Carol J. Alexander said...

Yes! Just recently I sent an article to an online ezine for no pay...just bio with my url, hoping to attract more followers to my blog. When the editor got back with me about the piece, he offered me a regular, paying job writing for the site.

Scott Bergman said...

Hi Hope, great article. I think just trying to "be out there" is exactly the reason for my blog and twitter account. Like you say, nobody will notice you if your standing still. Take care!

Barb Hodges said...

Yes, Hope. I had a colleague from my past tell me about a part time position in a local school district. I really did not think I wanted to pursue it due to the fact I had just retired 2 months earlier. But this position seemed to be tailor made for me and I thought I better go through this door. Well I did, and voila! this is my second year at it.