List serves: Are they worth the time and effort?

October 8, 2009 at 8:42 pm Leave a comment

As I’ve been spending some time — and I know many of you have — going through “targeted” job list serves and online job boards, I thought it would be a good topic to explore. Obviously, they are attractive because they list real openings. Or do they?? I asked a few recruiting experts about this and they were divided on whether job seekers should pay close attention to job list serves, especially those catering to journalists.

The argument favoring attention to list serves and job boards (I’m using them a bit interchangeably here) goes like this: Often, employers are listing real openings on them. And while your chances of getting a job from a list serve aren’t high — because so many other job seekers will also see these openings and apply — it is another tool in your job-hunting arsenal.  And especially for research-savvy journalists, the list serves can provide information on what companies and organizations are in hiring mode, and what they’re looking for, even if you don’t apply for those specific jobs.

The downside, of course, is that recruiters and hiring managers often are flooded by resumes when they post a job on a list serve or job board, especially high-traffic ones like or (I know this first-hand, having spent much of the past year in recruiting mode!) That’s why the best advice is to find an opening on a job board or list serve, and start networking like crazy to think who you know — or who you know who may know someone who knows someone working there — who can get your resume and material directly to the hiring manager. That makes all the difference. (Make sure to be polite and gracious about the connection — and honest. If the person who has agreed to deliver your resume doesn’t really know you and is doing a friend a favor by helping you, that’s fine, but don’t pretend to the hiring manager that the deliveree knows your work well).

The other problem with list serves and job boards is that the listings sometimes are out-of-date and other times there is a preferred internal candidate, and the organization is listing the position just to cast a wide net and make contacts for future positions. And there’s no way of knowing when that might be the case.

So the best advice regarding list serves and job boards appears to be to use them as a research tool and don’t center your job hunt on positions you find through them. Recruiting experts agree that the vast majority of jobs — especially as you head up the salary and experience ladder — are obtained by networking. More on some nifty networking tips in future posts.

And with all that said, here are a few list serves that may be useful for job-hunting journalists and ex-journos in D.C. Google them and then subscribe. (You can always unsubscribe if they’re not useful!) for new postings in the non-profit/public service arena

Tom Manatos’ Yahoo group (He’s in Pelosi’s office — also reposts HAR job listings)

Howard Bauleke’s e-mail list (Dennis Moore’s chief of staff – e-mail him at to be added)

Ed Lundquist’s Job of the Week e-mail
And here’s one I really like — as you can control the parameters of what it gives you (kinda like online dating sites! don’t laugh, I met my husband that way) in terms of salary level, position type and geography.  It’s — and they will send you a daily email to your specifications, early in the day to look over with your coffee.

Also, we’ve got a few job leads today — all again from current and ex-CQ’ers. Talk about a network! Please keep ’em coming!

*A former CQer, Lara Hearnburg, got in touch about a couple of job openings at her company, Altarum Institute. The Ann Arbor, Mich., firm deals with health care research, analysis and consulting. It has offices in D.C. and Alexandria, Va. Clients include government agencies, nonprofits, etc.

Here is a link to their job listings, which include a writing spot and a media production specialist.

*Freedom House is looking for a press officer in its advocacy department, here in D.C. Details follow:

Freedom House
Freedom House
United States (Washington, DC)
Contact Information:
Lorena Castro

Freedom House, a non-partisan, not-for-profit organization, was established in 1941 by Eleanor Roosevelt and Wendell Willkie to support the expansion of freedom around the world. Freedom House serves as a catalyst for freedom, democracy and rule of law through its analysis, advocacy and action programs.

The Press Officer will directly assist the Director of Advocacy in all aspects of media outreach, including writing and editing press releases, writing and placing op-eds, ensuring press coverage of Freedom House events and initiatives, and writing content for Freedom House’s website. The Press Officer will be responsible for maintaining and expanding Freedom House’s contacts with important media outlets and will work with the Director of Advocacy to ensure that Freedom House maintains a compelling and consistent voice for the expansion of freedom.

Please send cover letter and resume by email or fax to: Jeffrey Mosser Director of Human Resources and Administration Fax: (202) 822-3893

Applications will be accepted until the position is filled. Interested candidates must submit a cover letter, resume, and salary requirements. If any candidate does not have all required information, he or she will not be considered. Candidates are also requested to state where they viewed the job advertisement in their applications. Only candidates who have been selected for an interview will be notified. No phone calls, please.


The ideal candidate would possess the following skills and experience:

• Five or more years of experience in the media or communications fields

• Exceptional writing abilities

• Familiarity/contacts with national media outlets/journalists

• Familiarity/contacts with international media outlets/journalists a plus

• Strong interpersonal skills

• Ability to work under deadlines

• Interest in international affairs and/or human rights

*BNA is looking for a reporter for its Health Care Fraud Report. Here’s more info:

*And last but not least, a former CQ’er’s firm is looking for reporters who want to make the leap into political, campaign-style research for a progressive group, here in D.C. Knowledge of the legislative process (hey, we learned all about that at CQ!) and key congressional leaders is preferred. If you’re interested, please get in touch with me (here or on  Facebook or at and I’d be happy to make that connection.

Happy hunting!



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Friday grab bag of ideas, leads

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