How to Write a Job Posting: One Student’s Opinion

Dear companies,

Are you trying to hire students fresh out of college?

If so, that’s wonderful! We really appreciate it. I’ve applied to a lot of jobs over the past few months, and most companies I spoke to made me feel welcome and appreciated.

However, there are a few strange flaws I see in a lot of job postings. These aren’t just my pet peeves: I’ve also heard a complaints from many other students. And when a student has hundreds of jobs they could be applying for, a good job posting often makes the difference between keeping them on the hook and losing them in the wide sea of capitalism.

To help companies improve their hiring, I’ve written this quick guide to writing job postings for students. Some of this might be relevant to other job postings. Take what you like, leave what you don’t.

Continue reading

How to Start a College Magazine, Part Three: Building the Publication

 

Want help starting a magazine?

I’m always happy to answer questions! Post them in the comment section or contact me directly.

 

This is the third article in a four-part series on starting a college magazine, written by the Chairman of the Yale Record, America’s oldest humor magazine. There’s a lot of information here; pick and choose whatever seems helpful. 

Click here to start with the first article.

 

Hello again, and welcome to the third part of the Guide!

This article tells you how to go from:

“Okay, we have people interested, now what?”

To:

“Omigod look at our first issue hot off the presses/internet, it’s BEAUTIFUL!

I’ve written this in three parts: The “how to write an issue” checklist, a sample timeline for a monthly magazine, and an extremely long and non-mandatory special feature: “One year in the publishing life of the Yale Record“.

In the final section, I explain what we do during the year, and when. Whether you’re starting a magazine in the summertime or the middle of the school year, you should be able to pick up a similar rhythm.

Continue reading

How to Start a College Magazine, Part Two: Recruitment and Staffing

 

Want help starting a magazine?

I’m always happy to answer questions! Post them in the comment section or contact me directly.

 

Welcome to the second article in a four-part series on starting a college magazine. There’s a lot of information here; pick and choose whatever seems helpful. Click here to read the first article.

 

Hello again! This time, I’m going to talk about finding people to work with you on your new publication.

If you think you already have enough people to get going, you can skip this article and read the next one. But I’d recommend recruiting even if you have friends working with you. Staffing can be unpredictable: people graduate, people leave school, and people move on. Having extra writers and editors rarely hurts, as long as you can keep your standards high.

 

How to Recruit Writers

And, of course, all the people who aren’t writers. Every publication’s needs will be different. However, I’ll explain the setup of the Yale Record, since we have a large staff, work in many different styles, and publish a lot of art.

Continue reading

How to Start a College Magazine, Part One: Ground Rules and Structure

 

Want help starting a magazine?

I’m always happy to answer questions! Post them in the comment section or contact me directly.

 

This is the first article in a four-part series on starting a college magazine, written by the Chairman of the Yale Record, America’s oldest humor magazine. There’s a lot of information here; pick and choose whatever seems helpful. 

 

As the chairman of the Yale Record, and the person whose email is connected to this web page, I get requests from students around the world to advise them on college magazine projects.

I looked around the internet to find resources on this, but most of them were written at least a decade ago, or applied only to newspapers, rather than the humor magazines/fashion blogs/scholarly journals people were asking me about. So I decided to write a series of posts explaining most of what I know about college publications.

This is part one of the guide, which deals with “ground rules”: things you should do, or think about, before you start writing and recruiting.

For part two, which deals with building a staff, click here. For part three, which deals with creating content, click here. For part four, which discusses growing your publication after you start producing material, click here.

Continue reading

Ridiculous Ideas For Your Future

Yesterday, a friend of mine mentioned that he’d been hearing the following words from many of his friends.

“I don’t know what to do with my life.”

Often, someone I know will say this with weary resignation, as though they are a literary figure doomed to wander the earth for decades, rootless and without purpose. And if they aren’t resigned, they’re panicking: “I don’t know what to do with my life!”

(You might hear the “panic” version a month before graduation.)

Continue reading

How to Change Your Mind

My third guest post for Applied Sentience is up!

http://appliedsentience.com/2014/07/25/2038/

This one wasn’t very original, but I thought it turned out well. Essentially, I took some of Less Wrong’s fantastic material on How to Actually Change Your Mind, then threw in some examples from my own experience. Plus, you get some fun mental training exercises to go along with the stories!

Credit goes to Paul Chiari, editor extraordinaire, for the photos and captions.

 

Here’s an excerpt:

From the ages of 13-16, I spent a lot of time arguing with people on this political forum. I changed my mind a few times in the process, but by the time I left the site, I was pretty sure I’d found the “correct” side of every major political issue, even though I never had that thought explicitly.

If you’d asked me: “Do you actually think you’re right about everything?” I would have answered no. But if you’d asked “What are some things youactually think you might be wrong about?” I’d have stared at you for a while and then started to mope. (At least, that’s what happened whenever I asked myself that question.)

 

If you can only click one link from the guest post, make it “Steelmanning”, by Chana Messinger. It’s much more fun to argue with people when you pretend their arguments are better than they really are, as opposed to worse.

(It’s also a relief when other people show you the same courtesy.)

 

I Declare Crocker’s Rules

Meant to do this awhile back, but since my two readers haven’t been especially active in the comments, the delay wound up not mattering.

 

These are the rules. An excerpt:

Declaring yourself to be operating by “Crocker’s Rules” means that other people are allowed to optimize their messages for information, not for being nice to you. 

Crocker’s Rules means that you have accepted full responsibility for the operation of your own mind – if you’re offended, it’s your fault.  Anyone is allowed to call you a moron and claim to be doing you a favor.  (Which, in point of fact, they would be.  One of the big problems with this culture is that everyone’s afraid to tell you you’re wrong, or they think they have to dance around it.)  

 

When I gave the first draft of this post to a friend—at which point it was a long essay—he respected the Rules and gave me a frank review.

“Why is this so long?” he said. “Who is supposed to care about this?”

It hurt to hear those words. But it hurt him even more to say them. Giving feedback is hard. Giving unsolicited feedback is really, really hard. So from now on, all feedback anyone chooses to give me is officially solicited feedback.

 

Thanks to my friend’s honesty, that’s the end of this post. Much appreciated, Leandro!

Writing: What I’ve Learned So Far

I composed this recently for a writing class I’ve been teaching (ages 13-16), and it came out surprisingly cogent. Posting with slight modifications, in case it comes in handy. If any writer who is better than me tells you something different, listen to them.

This list would not exist had I never encountered Anne Fadiman, Verlyn Klinkenborg, or William Zinsser. Buy Zinsser’s book and you don’t have to read any of this.

Oh, and also, I’m trying to make the blog easier on the eyes by embedding giant essays in PDFs. Click below for the thing I’ve been talking about!

Some Thoughts on Writing

Advice from a Young Writer to Another Young Writer

I’m a rising junior at Yale, and I’ve written enough things that a rising sophomore asked me for advice about long-form journalism, procrastination, the fear of being boring, and various other things that plague writers of all ages. This was ironic, as is the title of this post. I know almost nothing about most things, and not much more about writing.

Even so, my reply to her wound up encompassing most of what I can claim to know about the technique of, if not actually writing well, making yourself write something.

I almost titled this piece “6 Ways to Beat Writers’ Block”, which might have gotten me ten extra hits, but the best thing about being a young writer who doesn’t yet need to live off of his writing is that I can do my work without thinking about search engines.

(If you’re reading this, Google-bots, I mean only the best. Tell the Doodle I said hi!)

*****

My reply, with some slight edits:

Thanks for getting in touch. Writing is one of the most important things a person can do with her brain, and like many activities, can improve enormously through the application of a few habits. Not everyone can be (insert epic journalist here), but everyone should, as long as they have a story, be able to learn to tell it well.

Continue reading

Advice for New Teenagers

Quora is a fantastic website and I highly recommend membership. Imagine Yahoo Answers, plus about 50 IQ points and a coalition of smart kids getting adult advice about the rest of their lives, and you have an intellectual Eden based on life experience and upvotes.

Anyway, this question recently appeared in my stream: “Life Advice: What habits would you tell me (a 13-year-old male) to start building because they proved the most useful to you?” I wound up typing a small essay for the questioner; it is replicated below. (Not that I’m an authority on life, but I try to keep to my own advice, and it has worked out decently so far).

So far, this guidance has a sample size of one; if it works for my 11-year-old brother someday, I will claim a bit more authority. Eli, you’ve been warned.

Continue reading