Are there any editorial jobs in San Francisco? Any at all?
April 1, 2009 5:24 PM   Subscribe

I very much want to move to San Francisco but I will have limited funds, few connections and no job lined up when I land. I'm an editor at a website and would like to stay in the same field. What are my job prospects in the Bay Area "in this economy?"

I wouldn't actually be moving until October, and by then I'll have enough saved up to live for about three months without work assuming I can find a cheap sublet somewhere.

Three months sounds like plenty of time to find work, but I've looked on Craigslist,,, and Mediabistro to get an idea of what's out there for Web editorial positions -- and it's depressingly sparse right now.

I have two years of experience doing this full-time in New York plus some freelance on the side. Good references, lots of experience working in a CMS, SEO best practices, blah blah blah. I'm pretty confident that I'm employable, but first I'll need some positions to apply to. (Not that I haven't seen anything, there's just now much and, in my experience, you get about one interview for every 15 applications.)

Help, San Francisco residents! Are there no editorial jobs in SF ever (i.e., I should stick it out in New York)? Is the current paucity of editorial jobs due mainly to the economy (so it might get a bit better by October)? Or am I just looking at the wrong job boards?

Your job-seeking tips and Bay Area know-how are greatly appreciated. Obviously I won't be applying to anything for a while (though I'd pounce if an opportunity presented itself), but planning the move is a long process, which I can still put the brakes on if I'm being unrealistic.
posted by thebergfather to Work & Money (13 answers total) 7 users marked this as a favorite
(This is just my opinion, based on my experience at an Internet software startup that is currently hiring, and my past experience in hiring during a downturn)

Your chances are poor unless you are already networked with people who work in the field you want and can apply some leverage to your resume. From what I can glean, the only people who are getting interviews currently are people who come recommended by current employees or friends. The job market is brutal out here, and unlikely to improve before the third quarter.

If you already have a job, I would strongly recommend staying in that job until the end of this year, by which point it will be clearer where the economy is going and what the chances of recovery are.
posted by scrump at 5:48 PM on April 1, 2009

This is the time to figure out what your long term ambitions are, and what you need to do to achieve those ambitions.

SF is not going to be great for editorial positions. For one thing, the media is a mess. As well, SF is a relatively small town (compared to NY), with way more competition.

How can you differentiate yourself from your competitors?

As well, what companies are you targeting? Why not try cold calling companies you might like to work for in order to set up information interviews to figure out what people want.
posted by KokuRyu at 6:55 PM on April 1, 2009

Well, I don't want to tell you not to move out here, because it's a beautiful place, but I've been unemployed for six months, and I've known a lot of people, editor or otherwise, that have been layed off recently.

Considering that California has one of the highest unemployment rates in the country, I think it's going to be an uphill battle to get a job here.

Just sayin'. Prepare to do some waiter(ess)ing when you get here. It may take you longer to get a job than you would think.
posted by OrangeDrink at 6:57 PM on April 1, 2009

Response by poster: Wow, this is sobering. I really appreciate the honesty though -- it's exactly what I need to help make a decision. Please keep them coming if you have some info.
posted by thebergfather at 7:17 PM on April 1, 2009

I know an awful lot of really bright unemployed people here, I'd wait a little while before moving out here without a job. You can always look for a job and move once you find one...
posted by foodgeek at 7:25 PM on April 1, 2009

There really aren't any quotations around "this economy" right now. It's not hoopla. Three months will go by in the blink of an eye if you're out of work and living in expensive San Francisco.

Having said that, I know someone who did just move out there. But she's an an incredibly talented and experienced trauma, post-op, or ICU nurse. She already has a few offers. A vague 'editor' position? Not likely. Keep working to find something from afar, then move out there. Or be prepared to do ANYTHING.
posted by barnone at 8:17 PM on April 1, 2009

What about telecommuting to the work you're currently doing in New York?
posted by ShooBoo at 8:26 PM on April 1, 2009

According to the radio this morning, there are more than 2 million people unemployed in California... Competition must be very stiff, I wouldn't make any moves yet.
posted by jkaczor at 8:26 PM on April 1, 2009

To add a side note, if your contingency planning gets you thinking about L.A. as a temporary substitute, the printed media here is taking a major beating as well. City Beat published its final issue this week, the L.A. Times has been slashed down to a shell, and somehow L.A. Weekly is hanging in there, but there are a WHOLE lotta unemployed (and highly qualified) journos down here.

If New York is working for you even in the slightest, I'd hang on there.
posted by mykescipark at 9:00 PM on April 1, 2009

Don't move here. Sorry.
posted by jenfullmoon at 10:04 PM on April 1, 2009

Don't do it. Do not do it.

It is a tough market in good times and there are gobs of good people who have connections. Common enough that the precious-few openings will have a few connected candidates, people who have an edge through a company's internal-recommendation program, an informal recommendation, etc.

The job market these days reminds me a lot of the dot-combustion time. Very little out there and employers know it, know they can ask for a lot, pay a little. Sick to see SF-area jobs in this realm involving a good measure of responsibility, skill, talent and experience... and paying $18-$20/hour.
posted by ambient2 at 4:56 AM on April 2, 2009

Please stay away, I have enough competition finding any work of any type.
posted by whoda at 6:02 AM on April 2, 2009

I recommend staying away. I have a feeling editorial jobs are going to go from bad to worse. Hearst Corp says it's prepared to sell or shut down the city's paper, The SF Chronicle, if situations don't improve. That's going to put a few hundred experienced, well-connected local staff, reporters, and editors into the job market as your competition. Just this week, 120 staffers already took buyouts. I have a friend at SF Station and they've already cut back hours and staff for their online city guide/magazine.
posted by junesix at 1:40 PM on April 2, 2009

« Older Tactile reminder device   |   No more solitary confinement? Newer »
This thread is closed to new comments.