Job and Career Resources for Journalists

This page provides resources to help you:
• …figure out unemployment benefits
• …get to know a recruiter
• …optimize your LinkedIn profile
• …launch your own website and optimize your SEO
• …find freelance and other work
• …professionalize your resume
• …identify freelance reporting opportunities
• …understand contracts & money
• …develop and follow up on pitches (with examples)

You can also check out the Chicago Headline Club’s own JobFile for openings in:

Career Resources

Video Conference: Career Transition Advice, Working with a Recruiter, and Unemployment Benefits 

COVID-19 and Unemployment Benefits

Get to know a recruiter

Lynn Hazan & Associates 

22 Chicago Recruiting Firms 

Paladin Recruiting


Professionalize your LinkedIn 

A Guide to Optimizing Your LinkedIn Profile  

Launch your own website and optimize your SEO

Lucio Villa, presentation to Society of Professional Journalists

Be smart (and professional) about your social media presence

11 tips for a more professional social media presence

Where to find freelance work

Job pages

Professionalize your resume
(Credit: NextGroup Careers)

Craft a compelling summary statement for the top of your resume:
• Your objective statement (what you’re looking for in a job) is different from your summary statement (what you’re offering a company)

• Use a summary statement to encapsulate years of experience OR as a way to tie together disparate experiences with a set of key, transferable skills

• Remember the 7-Second rule: Recruiters spend 7.4 seconds per resume for an initial screening; grab their attention with 4-6 bullet points in your summary statement

Resume Tips 

1. Summary statements include 3 basic building blocks:

• Core Strengths

• Skill Sets most relevant to the role

• Past Relevant Experience (with key functions) & Notable Accomplishments (that you intend to repeat in the next role)

2. Be specific about your skills & competencies

3. Include concrete evidence of accomplishments

4. Incorporate keywords from the job listing in your summary statement

5. Design an easy-to-digest format

6. Create impactful bullet points, beginning with a strong action verb (tied to skills) + what you did = results 

7. Don’t try to say everything in just one statement. Your summary statement should not be a laundry list of skills

8. Avoid using soft or generic skills

9. Stay in the 3rd person

10. Don’t throw around jargon for jargon’s sake. LinkedIn listed the 10 most overused buzzwords to avoid: 


11. Always stay focused on your strengths and assets

Many thanks to Taylor G. Moore, who was recently honored as a finalist in the 2019 Peter Lisagor Awards, for sharing this comprehensive list:

Freelance Reporting Resources

Contracts & Money



  • Help a Reporter Out: Request expert sources via newsletter sent multiple times a day; must have an outlet lined up to post



  • Muckrack, Contently, Journo Portfolio: Portfolio sites that can archive your work automatically or by uploading links; no design skills required
  • Squarespace, WordPress, Wix, Google Sites, Weebly: Customize your own portfolio site
  • WordPress, Tumblr, Medium: Make your own blog
  • Evernote, OneNote, Scrivener: Organize your drafts, manuscripts, and notes
  • Asana, Trello: Project management tools that some people like to use for keeping record of story ideas, pitches, etc.
  • Wave: Free software for invoicing, expense tracking, and accounting. I don’t use this, but others really like it
  • Freshbooks invoice templates: Free downloadable documents in Word, Excel, PDF, Google Doc, and Google Sheets formats
  • PrintFriendly chrome extension: Save your stories as PDFs or images so that your clips don’t disappear if a site shuts down
  • Study Hall transcriptionist database: Journalists who will transcribe your audio accurately for fair pay (looking at you, Rev)
  • Otter: AI transcription service that lets you transcribe up to 600 minutes of audio per month for free
  • Temi: AI transcription service, more accurate than Otter in my experience, costs $0.25 per minute 
  • oTranscribe: Secure, offline platform that lets you play back audio and type your own transcript in one window
  • Feedly: Aggregates news by topic so you don’t have to get your news from Twitter, spiritual successor to Google Reader
  • Pocket: Save articles for future reading (also allows you to bypass some paywalls…)
  • DocHub: Fill out and sign forms (e.g., contracts, W-9s) without dealing with a scanner or Adobe Acrobat
  • Pomodoro: Timer that makes you work in 25-minute increments  
  • Ommwrites: Minimalist word processing software that blocks distractions (minimum price is ~$6)
  • Signal: Encrypted messaging app
  • Protonmail: Encrypted email service
  • Best VPN for journalists (VPN Guru)
  • LastPass: Password manager, can generate long complicated passwords
  • Recorders I have: Sony digital recorder (built-in USB drive, 57 hours of battery life, audio playback options), telephone pick-up microphone (plug headphone jack into recorder mic input, put earpiece in your ear, records both sides of the phone conversation)

How I Work

  • I track every pitch I send, every story that’s published, and every invoice that’s sent. Here’s a Google Sheets template of what this looks like. Feel free to copy and make your own.
  • I also save every published story as a bookmark in Chrome, save as a PDF with the PrintFriendly chrome extension, and save the link to the document mentioned above
  • Taxes (I’m not an accountant!!!!)
    • I pay quarterly estimated taxes to the IRS every quarter. What I do is save 25% of every freelance check and put it into a separate savings account. By each quarter deadline, I empty the account by transferring the funds to the IRS. I track what amount I send to the IRS each quarter and report the year’s income each time I file federal and state taxes.
    • I write off news subscriptions, professional memberships, books and materials I have to buy as part of reporting, web hosting and domain costs, office supplies, and internet expenses
      • Note on internet: I only count working hours. Since I work from home full time, that’s 40 hours a week. To calculate my deduction, I multiply the month’s internet cost by [160 approximate working hours in a month / 720 total approximate hours in a month]) then deduct that amount from my taxes. I did this for 2019 tax year and *knock on wood* did not get audited. P.S. You do not need to take the federal itemized deduction to write these off your taxes. You can take the standard deduction and write off freelance/small business expenses.
  • Like other freelancers in Study Hall, I tweeted about the rates I was paid and how much I made freelancing in 2019. My offer is still open: if you are a freelancer (especially if you’re a woman, POC, and/or LGTBQ+), please contact me at or on Twitter if you want to know what I was paid for a story or my experience with a publication.

My Pitches That Have Worked


[I introduced myself because I had not worked with this editor before.]


My name is Taylor Moore, and I’m an Asian-American journalist based in Chicago. I’ve written for Literary Hub, Electric Literature, Chicago Review of Books, and other outlets. I saw your call for 2020 pitches and wanted to throw my hat in the ring.

For Zora, I’d love to feature Cathy Park Hong, who is coming out with Minor Feelings: An Asian American Reckoning on 2/25. In this essay collection, the New Republic poetry editor dissects her Korean-American upbringing, the “vague purgatorial” place that Asian-Americans occupy in U.S. cultural consciousness, and how our experiences become flattened in service of politically driven model minority narratives. 

I think that this would interest Zora readers because it reflects a moment (one of many to come, I predict) of Asian-American radicalization. There is deep economic and social stratification amongst the many communities and cultures that make up the group, and the gatekeepers of publishing and film are finally starting to see the value of our disaggregated narratives. Not only that, but I also think there is an emerging realization that our continued existence is tied up with advocating for (and with) other communities of color, rather than the American dream of assimilation into whiteness.

In terms of format, I could write this in longform, similar to this interview with Carmen Maria Machado, or as a Q&A. Let me know what you think would work best.

Here are some examples of other work I’ve done: [XYZ]

Thanks! I look forward to hearing back.

Taylor Moore


[I already knew this editor and this was part of an existing email chain, so my pitch is less formal. This is also for a local publication, so I did not explain what these neighborhoods are like and what these organizations do.]

I’m interested in writing about how COVID-19 is exacerbating existing issues of air pollution on the South Side. Pollution breaks down your immune system, making you more susceptible to the virus, and existing breathing issues make it even more deadly. There’s also the fact that neighborhoods like Little Village, McKinley Park, and Deering are low-income communities where work-from-home jobs are scarce.

I’d like to interview environmental justice organizers from Little Village Environmental Justice Organization, Southeast Environmental Task Force, and Neighbors for Environmental Justice (McKinley Park) to see how they’re engaging with coronavirus-related education, mutual aid, and activism, as well as talk to a physician about the effects of COVID-19 on an immuno-compromised community.