Success is a Bunch of Clips – Gail Kavanagh

I had nothing to offer retail or business. My qualifications for anything were so old they pre-dated the Vic 20. Even the local greengrocer, looking for a check out person, had a state of the art LED cash register that I couldn’t begin to understand.

But I was starting again after a failed marriage and desperately needed a job. All I had was a folder full of clips from my years of freelance writing. Could that get me a job on a newspaper or magazine? My job counselor thought so. She took one look and got on the phone to someone higher up, saying “I’ve got a professional writer here – what jobs can she apply for?”

No one had ever called me that before. Clutching my clips, I applied for a job at the local newspaper. After two interviews with my clips, one with the editor and one with the chief of staff, I was employed doing the thing I do best. In my late 40s, I had become what I always dreamed of being – a newspaper reporter.

Of course, I had to learn a lot of stuff about working for a newspaper. I did a two-day training course learning to work with the company’s computer system, but when it came to the big fancy copier and fax machine, I simply said I’d never worked with that brand before and was shown in minutes what to do. I learned never to be afraid to ask about new technology. If the words came out right and the editor loved my work, not knowing which button to press on the copier was no big deal.

I’ll never forget that job counselor who showed me that my clip folder was my greatest asset. The boost to my confidence was enormous, and I’ve never forgotten the other valuable lesson either. Keep your clips. Keep them in chronological order in a good quality folder and be proud of them. You never know where they could take you.

Gail Kavanagh is a freelance writer living in Queensland, Australia. Gail’s articles have been published all over the Internet and in print. She specializes in practical advice and how to’s to help people become more self sufficient, and to help hobbyists and craftspersons to be more creative – such as her book How to Make a Miniature Gypsy Wagon, available at Amazon.

Gail is also a regular blogger. You can catch up with her at and at