Jonathan Hogan

Author: Jonathan Hogan

An Interview with an Ambassador

A couple weeks ago I had the opportunity to speak with former Ambassador and Lawrence alumni Christopher Murray to learn more about life as a Foreign Service Officer (FSO) for the State Department. Among his many postings as an FSO, Ambassador Murray has served as the Ambassador to the Congo, Chargé d’affaires in Brussels, and Deputy Chief of Mission in Algiers and Lebanon. Here are some of the key takeaways of our discussion:

The work of an FSO is often predicated upon cultural integration and personal relations…

As a young FSO following the mining industry and transportation network in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Ambassador Murray was encouraged to engage with the local community by higher-ranking officers. By integrating with his local community and eventually becoming an officer at his community’s golf club, Ambassador Murray was granted a much more authentic understanding of both the mining industry and those associated with it. For those who are interested in becoming an FSO because they are interested in engaging with foreign cultures and languages, it would seem that doing so is not only possible during one’s career, but necessary—at least as a lower-ranking officer—if one wishes to do their job well.  

FSO’s do have some agency regarding their postings…

FSOs, while carrying out the policies of the Executive Branch, are not supposed to assume independent political stances. Yet, what if one fundamentally disagrees with the politics that they are being asked to represent? Ambassador Murray himself served during a period when many of his colleagues vehemently disagreed with President Reagan’s South Africa policy and he made it clear that, although FSO’s have little agency regarding the policy of the Executive Branch, they do have agency pertaining to where they serve. Most of those FSO’s that disagreed with the U.S.’s South Africa policy simply refused to serve in South Africa.  

Rank isn’t everything…

Ambassador Murray spoke briefly about the promotional culture in the Foreign Service, stating that many young FSO’s fixate on quick promotions and climbing the hierarchical ranks of the State Department. Yet, although Ambassador Murray was granted the highest-ranking position in the Foreign Service, he himself was promoted very slowly throughout the first half of his career. In his experience, however, those who are promoted the quickest are not necessarily those who are the best at their jobs, but rather those who are deployed to countries that are largely hostile to the U.S. For a fulfilling experience as an FSO, Ambassador Murray insists that intrinsic motivation and a certain amount of perspective regarding the promotional system within the State Department are essential.

Internships are ideal…

The Foreign Service, while offering opportunities to extensively engage with politics, languages, and cultures that would otherwise be inaccessible, is also quite demanding. For security reasons, Ambassador Murray was, for example, forced to largely remain inside of his embassy’s compound at multiple postings. Additionally, FSOs are expected to rotate to different posts in different countries every three years. Thus, the Ambassador highly recommended pursuing an internship with the State Department before committing to a career in the Foreign Service. One of the most prominent internships for the State Department is called the “Pathways Internship.” The application for next year’s summer Pathways Internship will be posted on USAJOBS in the coming months. If you have any questions about resumes, interviewing skills, or anything else professional development-related, be sure to schedule an appointment with GLI’s Ty Collins by clicking here.  

Jonathan Hogan

Jonathan is a Second Year German and Government major. He works as a Career Peer Educator to assist students in the CJW and GLI career communities. In addition to professional development, Jonathan is interested in the cultural construction of the modern nation-state, normative constraints on rational behavior, and all things German. You can schedule an appointment with him here to improve your resume, learn more about the CJW and GLI career opportunities, and work on anything else professional development-related.

Alternatives to Journalism

Print Journalism is quickly being relegated to the past. With the advent of radio, television, and finally the internet, the industry has been left unable to compete with cheaper and more expedient forms of media. The amount of print readers, for example, has been halved in the past two decades. Yet, despite the faltering nature of the print industry, the allure of ink on cheap newspaper still draws many to print journalism. To those individuals I recommend two things: (1) this article about the importance of print journalism and the shortcomings of new media for validation and (2) the remaining paragraphs of this article in which I offer a couple of alternatives to print journalism which demand similar skillsets and interests.

Freelance

Whereas print journalism is expected to continue to decline, at least in the near future, freelance writing continues to employ more and more writers. Freelance writers are self-employed writers that can be found writing almost anything that can be found online, ranging from New York Times articles to product descriptions for online marketplaces. To learn more about freelancing, follow this link to read my article about some of the finer details of the industry.  

Public Relations

PR specialists pride themselves on their ability to make authentic connections with their customers while skillfully guiding potential customers to their product. Similar to freelancing, public relations also demand a propensity for entrepreneurial strategizing. PR specialists, even those working exclusively through social media, rarely publish content spontaneously and each release is typically statistically analyzed. Compared to freelance, it is arguable that public relations is less writing intensive and more analytics intensive; however, if you have a love for both writing and analytics, this is the perfect job for you. For a more in-depth look at PR in social media, follow this link.

Publishing

If you are drawn to print journalism for the high level of collaboration between different departments, working in publishing may be the career for you. Compared to print journalism, physical book sales have been making a comeback as of late. To work in the publishing industry in a literary capacity one must be willing to trade their passion for writing with a passion for reading; however, for many, working closely with fellow booklovers in departments ranging form editing to cover-design is worth the trade. For a brief overview of the editing aspect of publishing, click here.

Jonathan Hogan

Jonathan is a Second Year German and Government major. He works as a Career Peer Educator to assist students in the CJW and GLI career communities. In addition to professional development, Jonathan is interested in the cultural construction of the modern nation-state, normative constraints on rational behavior, and all things German. You can schedule an appointment with him here to improve your resume, learn more about the CJW and GLI career opportunities, and work on anything else professional development-related.

The Council on Foreign Relations Summer Internship

The Council on Foreign Relations (CFR) is currently offering a host of internship opportunities for the upcoming summer. Ranging from Latin American Studies and Middle East Geopolitics to Editorial and Circulation, CFR has something for everyone in the GLI community. But what is the Council on Foreign Relations, and what do these internships entail?

              Throughout CFR’s history, it has remained committed to internationalism and political relevance. The founders of CFR first conceptualized the League of Nations, a precursor to the United Nations. During the Great Depression, when U.S. sentiments rose in support of isolationist foreign policy, CFR vehemently argued for internationalism. In CFR’s quarterly journal—Foreign Affairs—George Kennan released his influential” X-Article,” which introduced the idea of the “containment” of the Soviet Union to U.S. the foreign policy apparatus. Since the end of the Cold War, CFR has reoriented itself around new security concerns such as climate change, terrorism, cyber security, and human security. CFR has also integrated domestic policy to its repertoire with the understanding that certain domestic policies, such as education, are especially relevant to U.S. foreign policy. Members of the council on Foreign Relations rank among the most influential diplomatic, political, entrepreneurial, academic and media figures in the world and range from former President Jimmy Carter to George Clooney.

              As one might imagine, an internship with CFR is highly competitive; however, if you manage to land an internship, CFR will ensure that you aren’t just getting coffee. Cybele Mayes-Osterman of College Magazine writes that “The Council on Foreign Relations gives its interns the most close-to-reality experience of working for a political journal” (Source). During their tenure at CFR, interns are assigned a single research project, for which interns work alongside some of the brightest minds in foreign policy and often see their work published in CFR’s journal, Foreign Affairs. In conjunction with their research assignment, interns are invited to attend all Council meetings and round table discussions, ensuring that interns have access to both the professionals with whom they are conducting research and the broader array of council members. CFR demands professionalism and hard work from its interns; however, the personal and intellectual growth, not to mention the $15 per hour payment, makes the internship well worth the work.

              Internship positions for the Summer of 2021 are being filled on a rolling basis and can be found here. To apply, one must submit both a resume and cover letter. Additionally, a short skills-oriented test may be required depending on the position for which one is applying. If you decide to apply and need help with an element of the application (learning about resumes for the first time, interview prep, cover letter clean-up), feel free to schedule a meeting with me, Ty Collins, or any of our other amazing Career Center colleagues here.  

Works Cited

Council on Foreign Relations, Council on Foreign Relations, www.cfr.org/.

Mayes-Osterman, Cybele. “CM’s Guide to the Council on Foreign Relations Internship.” College Magazine, 12 Dec. 2019, www.collegemagazine.com/cms-guide-to-the-council-on-foreign-relations-internship/.

– Jonathan Hogan

Jonathan is a Second Year German and Government major. He works as a Career Peer Educator to assist students in the CJW and GLI career communities. In addition to professional development, Jonathan is interested in the cultural construction of the modern nation-state, normative constraints on rational behavior, and all things German. You can schedule an appointment with him here to improve your resume, learn more about the CJW and GLI career opportunities, and work on anything else professional development-related.

Freelance Writing Careers

              Freelancing is one of the most profitable and secure industries in which one can earn a living from writing, but, the field of freelancing, barring a basic definition, is somewhat obscure. So what do freelancers actually do? And how does one start a career as a freelancer?

              Freelancing, at its most basic, is writing for a brand or an individual on a typically short-term contract. Within the broad industry of freelancing, there are a few subfields that are worth mentioning. Copywriting, largely the most profitable subfield of freelance, is broadly understood as writing for commercial publications. This could mean simply writing descriptions of products in an exciting way, or writing articles for brands that point customers to a certain solution: your product. For those looking to enter the field, copywriting is not only the most lucrative, it also seems to be the most accessible.

              Journalistic writing, in comparison to copy writing, demands extensive experience as a writer and typically a background in writing (English majors, this is your time to shine!). As a freelance journalistic writer, one can find themselves writing for trade magazines and newspapers. This article in the NYT, titles “Why Settle for Boring Glassware?,”  for example, was written by a freelancer. Journalistic freelance has a reputation for paying less than copywriting; however, it is also known to be simply more fun. Most journalistic copywriters focus on a specific niche that they find especially enjoyable, and spend their professional time researching and writing about this niche.

              Creative freelance writing is the final broad sub-category of the industry and can see freelancers do anything from writing for short-story competitions to garnering their own blog, which they sponsor through ad revenue. Compared to the other forms of freelancing, creative is arguably more difficult, as the market is smaller, and it can time to foster a personal brand.

Once you’ve found a subfield that you’re interested in, you might be wondering what you need to do to break into freelancing, and, unfortunately, it isn’t for the faint of heart. As a freelancer, you must be comfortable with rejection. Companies will reject your contract offers thousands of times and they may even reject your writing after they have given you the contract. You must also be comfortable with instability, as the availability of jobs changes from month to month. Yet, if you remained undeterred, there are a few things you can do to soften your entrance into the industry.

  1. Consider your work as that of a business and not of an individual.

If you want to work as a freelancer, it is imperative that you consider your operations to be those of a professional business. Those who casually approach freelancing often undervalue their work and they skimp on the necessary strategic planning that would allow them to find success.

  • Enter the field with a strong network.

If possible, it is ideal to enter the field with a strong network of individuals who are already familiar with some element of your abilities to write/work. This reality often gives professionals transitioning from a parallel industry a leg-up; however, the ability to largely skip the difficult stage of building one’s reputation and list of contacts through cold calls and writing portfolios can make a huge difference.

  • Build your presence online.

Essential for freelance writers, especially those starting out, is some form of online presence that allows interested clients to learn more about your writing ability and your personal style. Such a presence often takes the form of a blog, which houses a series of blog posts, or a freelancing website, which houses a portfolio of your best work. An online presence alone is not enough to find clients; however, when paired with cold calls and other forms of networking, a website adds legitimacy and transparency to one’s freelancing business.

  • Find your niche.

It is important to specialize as a freelance writer. In the field of freelancing, generalists rarely stand a chance against competition that has written about a relatively narrow topic for a long period of time. Thus, it is important to find a niche category of work that is both large enough to be profitable, and interesting enough to occupy the majority of the freelancer’s professional time.

Freelance writing is a truly fascinating industry that provides engaging work for thousands of writers. Yet, as has been hopefully conveyed above, it is a field that requires a strong entrepreneurial skillset and thick skin, in addition to excellent writing skills. If you are truly interested in freelancing as a career, I recommend the blog of “Come Write With Us,” a company started by experienced freelancer Kristan Wong.

Jonathan Hogan

Jonathan is a Second Year German and Government major. He works as a Career Peer Educator to assist students in the CJW and GLI career communities. In addition to professional development, Jonathan is interested in the cultural construction of the modern nation-state, normative constraints on rational behavior, and all things German. You can schedule an appointment with him here to improve your resume, learn more about the CJW and GLI career opportunities, and to work on anything else professional development-related.

A Career as a Book Editor

Outside of working as an author, few careers are more ideal for lovers of books than that of a book editor. Book editors work within the broader publishing industry and are tasked with acquiring and editing books.  Within any given editorial department, there are various editorial positions. For the sake of efficiency, this article will discuss two broad categories: assistant/associate editors and editors. Assistant editors dedicate the majority of their time doing what their title implies—editing. Granting insight into the nature of assistant editing, Corley Miller, an intern at a major publishing house, insisted that “you have to love reading… and proofreading”. For lower-ranking employees and interns reading and rereading and rereading is the order of the day. Yet, reading and editing books is not just confined to the offices. Miller reports that during breaks, coworkers would talk books as well. In fact, after a day of reading, it is not uncommon in the industry for assistant editors to go home and cozy up to a nice book of their choice.

The nature of work for fully-fledged editors is slightly different. Editors spend the majority of their days meeting with authors and coworkers to discuss ongoing projects—their actual editing is often done after-hours or over the weekend. Editors are tasked with selecting a publishing house’s books, collaborating with authors throughout the editing process, and coordinating with other departments to bring the best out of a book. Yet, despite the corporate implication of a day of meetings, the work of fully-fledged editors still requires and feeds off of a deep passion for books. Catharine Bleeke, an editor for Flatiron Books (which is indeed located in the beautiful Flatiron building in downtown New York), goes as far as to describe the experience of finding an author whose book she would like to publish as “falling in love,” and states that as an editor “You’re the main supporter of this book. You’re the book’s person. There are a lot of people involved, but the first job of the editor is to make your own enthusiasm contagious. You want to get everybody just as excited as you are”

Assistant editors and editors, with their passion for good books, function as the backbone of the publishing industry. Yet, the publishing industry is much more than editors. For a broad overview of the publishing industry, its different departments, its big firms, and its broader work culture keep an eye out for the next edition of the CJW newsletter.   

Jonathan Hogan

Jonathan is a Second Year German and Government major. He works as a Career Peer Educator to assist students in the CJW and GLI career communities. In addition to professional development, Jonathan is interested in the cultural construction of the modern nation-state, normative constraints on rational behavior, and all things German. You can schedule an appointment with him here to improve your resume, learn more about the CJW and GLI career opportunities, and work on anything else professional development-related.

Works Cited

Bourne, Michael. “A Day in the Life of a Book Editor: Caroline Bleeke of Flatiron Books.” Poets & Writers, 19 Sept. 2018, www.pw.org/content/a_day_in_the_life_of_a_book_editor_caroline_bleeke_of_flatiron_books.

Miller, Corley. “What It’s like to Work in Publishing.” The Tab US, thetab.com/us/2016/06/07/like-work-publishing-15073.

Peterson, Valerie. “Major Departments in a Publishing House and What They Do.” The Balance Careers, 21 Oct. 2019, www.thebalancecareers.com/major-departments-in-a-publishing-house-2800046.

USAJOBS Tutorial

USAJOBS Tutorial

              For those that are hoping to assume a position within the federal bureaucracy at some point in their career, USAJOBS is an invaluable resource. Similar to Handshake for on campus jobs, nearly all job postings for federal governmental positions can be found on USAJOBS. Yet, for many, the prospect of creating an account on, and navigating through a federal website is somewhat intimidating. But fear not! USAJOBS is a surprisingly accessible and easy to use website, and, with the help of this article, which will take you through the basics of creating an account and navigating the site, you’ll be acquainted with the best resource for federal jobs in no time!

Step 1 – Create an account

  1. Once reaching the USAJOBS website, you’ll want to navigate to the upper right corner and select the “sign-in” tab.
  2. After selecting “sign-in” you’ll be asked to sign in or to create an account. For those without an account, select “create an account.”
  3. Here, you will be asked for your language preference, and for your desired method of two-step authentication. Using your phone number to receive a security code may be the most convenient, if not the most secure manner to satisfy USAJOBS’ security requirements.
  4. On the following page, you will be asked to select groups that apply to you (example above). These groups will come in handy once you begin your job search on USAJOBS, as they help filter out any jobs that are not available to you.
  5. You will then be asked to enter your address, and whether you are registered for selective service (only males who are citizens are required to be registered.) Finally, you be asked for your level of education. Unless you have completed your degree at Lawrence, you should not enter your education at Lawrence, as USAJOBS is concerned with completed degrees. By selecting “student” in step “3” it will be apparent that you are working towards your bachelor’s degree.  

Step 2 – Enhance your account

  1. At this point, you will have successfully created your account! Now, you may choose to enhance your account by adding additional information. If you wish to do this later, you may simply login to USAJOBS, click on your account in the top right corner, and click on the “profile” tab across the ribbon.
  2. To enhance your profile, you can choose to add information in the following categories: citizenship, hiring paths, experience (federal service, work experience, federal service,) education, demographics, languages, organizations, references. Many of these topics are either self-explanatory or have already been addressed in “step-2,” thus, I will address “experience,” “languages,” and “organizations.”
  3. Under the experience section, you will be asked to enter work experiences, federal-service, and military service. Under work experience, it is wise to include recent work experience to strengthen your application. Nonetheless, this section must not be exhaustive. Jobs that will not strengthen your application meaningfully (note here that “meaningfully” is subjective) can be excluded.
  4. Under the languages section, it is important to note that you may specify your strength of competency in any given language. Thus, if you have four-years of Spanish in high school, yet are not fluent, it is still wise to include Spanish in your profile.
  5. Under “organizations” you will be asked to list organizations with which you have been involved. Similar to the “experience” section, this section must be by no means exhaustive. Including only those organizations that you believe will strengthen a given application is sufficient.

Step 3 – documents

  1. In the documents section, you may upload up to five resumes. It is very wise to upload a resume into this section, as, after uploading a resume and selecting “searchable” beneath your recently uploaded resume, you make your account and resume searchable to potential government employers. Given that you can only make one resume searchable to employers, it is wise to upload a resume that is broadly tailored to the type of positions that you hope to achieve. If, for example, you are interested in getting an internship with the Foreign Service, it would be wise to upload a resume that highlights your experience with foreign cultures etc.
  2. Within the “documents” section, you may also upload up to ten additional documents. USAJOBS highlights government forms and transcripts as examples of what to upload in this section.

Step 4 – Utilizing USAJOBS

  1. After creating an extensive account, it is time to use the platform to find government jobs. In this regard, USAJOBS is surprisingly straightforward. You may search jobs by title, department, agency, series, or occupation. Furthermore, you may search jobs by location.
  2. Once you search for a job, preferences that you may have already specified in your profile will ensure that results are tailored. You may, however, further tailor these results by selecting filters to the top and right of your search results.
  3. If you find a job that you like, you may easily save the position by selecting save. This position will now appear on your USAJOBS homepage under the “home” tab.
  4. Especially relevant for students and recent graduates is the “Pathways” internship series, which consists of internships that are specifically for students and recent graduates. To find Pathways opportunities, simply enter “Pathways” into the search engine, or select the “students and recent graduates” badge.

– Jonathan Hogan

Jonathan is a Second Year German and Government major. He works as a Career Peer Educator to assist students in the CJW and GLI career communities. In addition to professional development, Jonathan is interested in the cultural construction of the modern nation-state, normative constraints on rational behavior, and all things German. You can schedule an appointment with him here to improve your resume, learn more about the CJW and GLI career opportunities, and work on anything else professional development-related.