Searching for a job while still employed

November 19, 2009 at 4:16 pm Leave a comment

Though it’s tough out here looking for a job, it sounds like it’s getting even more brutal in there — newsrooms, that is. Many friends and former colleagues at newsrooms across the country — and in D.C. — in a post-layoff environment are reporting they have more work and stress, less freedom and flexibility, and often new responsibilities and new bosses they didn’t sign up for. Many say they want out but are wondering how they can look for a new position while still hanging on to the job they have so they can pay the bills in the meantime.

Job hunting while employed takes time, energy, creativity and networking, all of which you must muster while still doing the tasks of your day job. Yet hiring experts say the conventional wisdom holds that it’s better to start a search — especially if you fear the ax may fall on your job any time soon — and try to land a new job before you’re shown the door. This is especially true for those who expect they will get little severance if their job is cut.

Some tips on how to conduct a search while you’re still working:

*First determine how badly you want to leave now. It is a tough, hotly competitive job market — especially for journalists — and job hunting done properly is another full-time job. Do you have the stamina for this right now? If you’re mildly unhappy and think you can stick it out for a few months until the market improves, that may be a wise choice, experts say. But if you are worried about your current job or are determined it’s time to leave, plan a search properly. First tell family and friends you can trust (who can be discreet) that you’re doing this as you’ll need their help and support. Then come up with a broad game plan — as you would for any important endeavor in your life.

*Be discreet. This may appear obvious but experts say too many job seekers leave hints of a paper or electronic trail of their search at work and if you’re caught, that can be a firing offense. And as some journalists have unhappily discovered, if you are fired “for cause” (even if it’s an unfair firing) you very likely won’t get severance and may have trouble collecting unemployment benefits. Appealing this can be costly. So be careful — best to confine your job search calls to your personal mobile phone number and all of your electronic correspondence to your private email and home computer files. Don’t make job-search calls at work. Be very careful about what you say about your search on social networking sites. Even chats deemed “private” can have a way of getting into the public arena — where you don’t want your search to be.

*Carve out time in your schedule for job hunting. If you work a “day” job, you’ll need to get up early or set aside time in the evenings for job hunting. Treat it like you would another job and schedule time for specific activities like networking, sending out resumes and following up on job leads. Treat it seriously or you won’t find the time to do it. Take days off of work — and late in the year is a good time with “use-it-or-lose-it” vacation days many workers need to burn — not only for interviews but to set up networking lunches, coffees and correspondence. Treat these days as working days and fully devote your energies on them to job hunting.

*Form a “support group.” People who can support you and offer advice and tips — and to whom you can turn when you’ve hit a snag in your hunt — are important not only for laid-off workers but for anyone job hunting. Your spouse or partner can sometimes provide this support, but not always. Find a few former colleagues, friends or fellow job hunters whom you trust and with whom you can swap tips and ideas. Stay in touch regularly. They will also keep you moving forward.

*Be careful how you ask for help. First, many people are going to say something along these lines: You’re lucky to have a journalism job; why are you looking NOW? Be ready to explain why you are looking to leave and have a ready list of the types of positions you’re seeking. And especially with former colleagues who have lost their jobs, be courteous and respectful of their situation — obviously they have to worry about their own prospects first and may initially view you as another rival in an already crowded market of job seekers. Before asking for help, always offer something first — and maybe two or three times — such as job leads for them, someone in your network who could help them or a reference or referral. That will probably soften them up and make them more willing to share some information they’ve gleaned in their search.

*Don’t ignore the job you have now. While conducting a search, and especially if you think you’re close to landing another job, the tendency may be to cut back on giving your current position the time and attention it deserves. But remember that until you’ve accepted the new job, nothing is for certain, so don’t count those chickens!

*If you couldn’t participate in yesterday’s teleconference sponsored by the Asian American Journalists Association’s D.C. chapter and, here it is…Loads of good free-lancing tips!

Work Freelance Teleconference Sponsored by AAJA-DC and 11/18/2009 – AAJA on Blog Talk
How to Succeed As a Freelancer or Consultant Learn the secrets of thriving as a freelancer or consultant from experts who have been there done that. This free teleconference is co-sponsored by the Asian American Journalists Association-DC chapter and …
*Some good job leads for hunters and gatherers follow:
*The National School Boards Association in Alexandria has an opening for a communications director. The link and job description:
About National School Boards Association The National School Boards Association is a not-for-profit organization representing state associations of school boards and their member districts across the United States. Its mission is to foster excellence and equity in public education through school board leadership. NSBA achieves that mission by representing the school board perspective before federal government agencies and with national organizations that affect education, and by providing vital information and services to state associations of school boards and local school boards.
Job Description
The National School Boards Association (NSBA) seeks seasoned communications professional to collaborate with the publications and web teams in directing the association’s communications activities, including publicity, public relations, and writing. The incumbent will plan, develop and execute strategic communications activities to promote public education and the critical role of school boards.Primary duties include: writing news releases, newsletter columns, reports, web content, and other materials for internal and external publications; coordinating the day-to-day work of the Communications Department staff to assure that NSBA is highly credible and regularly sought as a resource to the national media; working collaboratively to identify communications needs and develop strategies to support various departments’ efforts; working with NSBA officers and executive director on speech preparation; reviewing external communications, including the website; serving as editor of the BoardBuzz blog; and handling media inquiries.

NOTES: Local Residents Preferred (No Relo)
Minimum qualifications include: Bachelor’s degree in communications, public relations, marketing, journalism, or a related field; three years demonstrated experience in communications or public relations, creating and implementing communications strategies and activities; excellent organizational and project management skills; familiarity with web communications techniques and strategies; and excellent oral and written communication skills. Strong knowledge of public education issues, essential.Send letter of application, resume and salary requirements to: NSBA, HR/DC-09, 1680 Duke Street, Alexandria, VA 22314-3493. Resumes may be faxed to 703-837-9151 or e-mailed to
*Voice of America is seeking a senior Web editor in D.C. Again, the link and the description follow:
Vacancy No. DEU-09-176 Department Broadcasting Board of Governors
Salary $86,927.00 to $113,007.00 Grade 13 to 13
Perm/Temp Permanent FT/PT Full-time
Open Date 11/16/2009 Close Date 11/30/2009
Job Link Application instruction listed in job description Who may apply Public
Locations: ( Help make everyone’s job search easier! Report incorrect job locations. Include a new Location)
Job Description (Please follow all instructions carefully)
Broadcasting Board of Governors
Sub Agency:
Voice of America
Job Announcement Number:
Job Title:
Senior Web Editor
Salary Range:
86,927.00 – 113,007.00 USD /year
Series & Grade:
Open Period:
Monday, November 16, 2009 to Monday, November 30, 2009
Position Information:
Full-Time  Permanent
Duty Locations:
1 vacancy – Washington, DC
Who May Be Considered:
Applications will be accepted from all qualified applicants.Non US citizens may be considered for this position in the absence of equally or better qualified US citizens. If a non-US citizens is selected, he/she will be placed in the Excepted Service.
Job Summary:
This position is located in the Urdu Service of the South Asia Division of the Voice of America (VOA) in Washington, DC with the responsibility of serving as an Internet Webmaster and Designer, providing guidance for all aspects of Internet publishing.


Introduction to the Agency: The Voice of America is a component of the Broadcasting Board of Governors. The VOA broadcasts news and information to millions throughout the world in more than 40 languages, via radio, television and the Internet. Our diverse, multicultural and dedicated professionals staff correspondent bureaus, transmission stations and marketing offices around the world in addition to our main offices in Washington, DC.
Key Requirements:

  • Relocation expenses will NOT be paid.
  • Willingness to work nights, weekends and holidays is required.
  • All applicants must indicate citizenship.

Major Duties:
The incumbent provides authoritative guidance and expertise in the Urdu Service’s development and implementation of content for its websites. Participates with the Service and Division management in the development and strategic planning of site content design and acts as liaison with the Office of New Media, the Internet Services Office and the Program Review Office in developing new features for the Urdu websites and implementing recommendations. Oversees the creation and management of the production process of web content on the live site. Exercises sound editorial judgment in producing multi-media reports for a fast-paced, live news website. Maintains familiarity with diverse fields related to the Web development for the complex, database driven website of a broadcast news organization. Commands a comprehensive array of skills including user-centered design, information presentation and visual design. Keeps abreast of new developments in the Internet technology industry. Coordinates the training of new personnel in unique requirements of web production. Provides the Urdu Service guidance in and is responsible for the production values and aesthetic quality of the production and implements improvements to the website. Provides suggestions and assists with action plans related to the promotion of the website and the use of new technologies. Reviews and evaluates news sources and developments to identify items for coverage and necessary updates.
Applicants must meet the following basic requirements:

Specialized experience: One year of specialized experience equivalent to the next lower grade. Specialized experience is defined as experience assisting in Internet publishing, coordinating the content of websites and overseeing web postings.

Screen-out factor: Fluent knowledge of the Urdu language with demonstrated experience in applying the journalistic and Internet publishing principles and methods in order to write, edit and produce integrated, well-balanced and highly-targeted written and graphic materials.
How You Will Be Evaluated:
Once the application process is complete, a review of your application will be made to ensure you meet the job requirements. Non-U.S. citizen applications will be evaluated on experience. U.S. citizen  applications will be evaluated and rated under the Category Rating and Selection Procedures.  Your resume and supporting documentation will be reviewed and compared to your responses on the occupational questionnaire or KSAs (as applicable) to determine if you meet the minimum qualifications for this position.  If you meet the minimum qualifications for this job, your qualifications will be further reviewed by a Human Resources Specialist, a subject matter expert, OR a panel of subject-matter experts to assess the quality, depth, and complexity of your accomplishments, experience, and education as they relate to the critical experience requirements listed in this vacancy announcement.  You will then be placed in one of three rating categories:

Qualified Category – Meets the specialized experience outlined in the minimum qualifications requirements section of the vacancy announcement.

Well-qualified Category – Meets the basic qualification requirements for the vacancy announcement and demonstrates proficiency in the critical competencies for this position.

Best-qualified Category – Meets the basic qualification requirements for the vacancy announcement and has successful experience in the same or similar job that has demonstrated outstanding proficiency in applying knowledge, skill and ability in the critical competencies for this position to work of increased levels of difficulty and complexity.

You should be aware that your ratings are subject to evaluation and verification.  If a determination is made that you have rated yourself higher than is supported by your resume, you will be assigned a rating commensurate to your described experience.  Providing false information may be grounds for not selecting you or termination after appointment.

DIRECTIONS FOR COMPLETING KSA STATEMENTS:  Consider what in your education and experience background best reflects your possession of each knowledge, skill, and ability (KSA).  For each KSA, provide a clear, concise statement demonstrating your possession of the KSA as it relates to the position for which you are applying.  Your statements should illustrate the degree to which your background has equipped you with each KSA, reflecting the scope and depth of your knowledge, skill, or ability and your level of responsibility.  You may refer to paid or volunteer work, education or training, or any other applicable experience.

KNOWLEDGE, SKILLS AND ABILITY FACTORS: Relative numerical values equate to a total of 30 points.

1. Demonstrated knowledge of the unique requirements of how news is presented on international websites, encompassing professional journalistic standards and web design conventions. (6)

2. Thorough knowledge and understanding of political, economic, social, cultural and historic issues and developments, world conditions, public attitudes and trends, including knowledge of South Asia. Thorough knowledge of US, Pakistani and international news events, developments and affairs. (6)

3. Broad knowledge of complex multi-media software systems related to digital audio/video and graphic editing and Internet development in order to produce state-of-the-art website content.(6)

4. In-depth knowledge of a wide range of concepts, principles and techniques utilized in web scripting and editing, digital audio production, operations and graphic art production.(6)

5. Demonstrated experience with technical and conceptual environment of web development, conversant in existing and emerging web technologies, (i.e. HTML, FLASH, JAVA, WAP).(6)

The submission of statements addressing the Knowledge, Skills, and Abilities (KSAs) listed above is highly encouraged so as to assure that your relevant experience for the position for which you are applying is clearly articulated and geared towards each KSA element.  KSA statements should be clear, concise examples of your experience that show the depth of your knowledge, level of skill or the degree of your ability related to the individual KSA elements.

If you do not submit KSA statements, your relevant experience will be gleaned from the information affected in your application or resume only in order to evaluate your credentials against the KSAs.  Please note however, that failure to submit KSA statements may result in lower scores being assigned during the evaluation process, in comparison with other candidates who submit targeted KSA statements.
You may participate in the Federal Employees Health Benefits program, with costs shared with your employer. More info:
Life insurance coverage is provided. More info:
Long-Term Care Insurance is offered and carries into your retirement. More info:
New employees are automatically covered by the Federal Employees Retirement System (FERS). If you are transferring from another agency and covered by CSRS, you may continue in this program. More info:
You will earn annual vacation leave. More info:
You will earn sick leave. More info:
You will be paid for federal holidays that fall within your regularly scheduled tour of duty. More info:
If you use public transportation, part of your transportation costs may be subsidized. Our human resources office can provide additional information on how this program is run.
You can use Health Care Flexible Spending Accounts for expenses that are tax-deductible, but not reimbursed by any other source, including out-of-pocket expenses and non-covered benefits under their FEHB plans. More Info:
Other Information:
Veterans’ Preference:“Application of Veterans’ Preference:  the Category Rating Method does not add veterans’ preference points, but protects the rights of veterans by placing them ahead of non-preference eligibles within each category.  Preference eligibles who do not have a service-connected disability of 10 percent or more will be assigned to the appropriate quality category based upon the job-related assessment and will be listed ahead of non-preference eligibles within the appropriate quality category.

1. If you are an eligible Interagency Career Transition Assistance Program (ICTAP) applicant you may apply for special selection over other candidates for this position. To be well qualified and exercise selection priority for this vacancy, displaced Federal employees must be rated at 85 or above on the rating criteria for this position. ICTAP eligibles must submit one of the following as proof of eligibility for the special selection priority: a separation notice; a ‘Notice of Personnel Action’ (SF-50) documenting separation; an agency certification that you cannot be placed after injury compensation has been terminated; an OPM notification that your disability annuity has been terminated; OR a Military Department or National Guard Bureau notification that you are retired under 5 U.S.C. 8337(h) or 8456.

2. If you are a veteran with preference eligibility and you are claiming 5-point veterans’ preference, you must attach Member Copy Number 4 of your DD-214 or other proof of eligibility. If you are claiming 10-point veterans’ preference, you must attach an SF-15, ‘Application for 10-Point Veterans’ Preference’ plus the proof required by that form.

If you are still on active duty, you may submit a statement of service from your Personnel Command which states the date you entered active duty, the date you are separating, and the campaign medals you have received.  For more information on the  VRA, consult the Vets Guide at:

3. Information on Special Hiring Authority. Individuals who are eligible for consideration under a special hiring authority (e.g., 30% compensable veterans, severely handicapped individuals, former Peace Corps and VISTA Volunteers, etc.) will be accepted and considered non-competitively for this vacancy.  Special hiring authority eligibles must indicate on their application if they are applying under a special program and must submit proof of eligibility with their application.  Applicants who wish to be considered under an appropriate special hiring authority as well as under the competitive examining process must submit two complete applications.  When only one application is received from a special hiring authority eligible, it will be considered under the appropriate special hiring authority only.

Eligibles applying for consideration of noncompetitive appointments under special appointing authorities must clearly make this request on their application and submit the required documentation.

4. If you are a male applicant who was born after 12/31/59 and are required to register under the Military Selective Service Act, the Defense Authorization Act of 1986 requires that you be registered or you are not eligible for appointment in this agency.

5. All qualification requirements must be met by the closing date of this announcement. Additional information on the qualification requirements is outlined in the OPM Qualifications Standards Handbook of General Schedule Positions. It is available for your review in our office, in other Federal agency personnel offices, and on OPM’s web site at .
How To Apply:
To submit the documents requested, follow the instructions below:  Your resume, curriculum vitae, the Optional Application for Federal Employment (OF 612), or any other written format you choose to describe your job-related qualifications can be submitted by fax, mail or by hand-delivery.  Please ensure that your resume contains your full name, address, phone and at least your last four digits of your social security number.

Instructions on submitting resume and supporting documents in hard copy via fax or by mail:

If you fax your documentation you must use a cover page.  The information contained on the cover page should match the information you provided to the occupational questionnaire.  The Vacancy ID number DEU-09-176, your Name, and SSN should be written accurately and neatly.  If the information is inaccurate or incomplete it will delay the processing of your application or you may not receive consideration for this position.

If hand carrying or using the US Mail, FedEx, etc, resumes and, if applicable, any supporting documentation *MUST* be received in the Office of Human Resources by 5:00 p.m., on the closing date of the vacancy announcement.  If you are using e-mail or fax, resumes *MUST* be received by 11:59 p.m. on the closing date of the announcement.

You can mail or hand deliver your application materials to the address below:

International Broadcasting Bureau
ATTN: Office of Human Resources
330 Independence Ave., SW, Rm. 1543
Washington, DC 20237                                                   Attention: DEU-09-176
REQUIRED DOCUMENTS:  Failure to submit all required documents will result in your application not being considered.


Leslie Brown
Phone:  (202) 382-7500

Fax:      (202) 382-7541 or (202) 382-7542

Or write to:
International Broadcasting Bureau
Office of Human Resources, (Room 1543)

ATTN:  Leslie Brown

330 Independence Avenue, SW

Washington, DC  20237

*The Washington Post has a few openings. The first is for a local news Web editor for the new local home page:
COMPANY: The Washington Post
TITLE: Local News Web Editor
LOCATION: United States – – District of Columbia WashingtonJOB DESCRIPTION: THE WASHINGTON POST is looking for a Local News Web Editor to oversee the operation of our newly launched local home page We are looking for a passionate, experienced editor who thinks a local site is nothing less than the future of online journalism. The person should be a seasoned people and content manager, with a proven track record of driving coverage online, especially news, utilities and listings. The Local News Web Editor will oversee a small team of local home page producers and will work closely with local reporters, bloggers and editors, as well as our interactivity and presentation teams to manage a homepage that aims to be the indispensable guide to life in Washington and an invaluable source of trusted news and information that will engage, entertain and educate audiences. Key responsibilities beyond generating significant local traffic will be to help conceive and maintain local databases, get DC-area users more engaged and involved and build partnerships and digital bridges to the local community figures. A deep knowlege of the DC area would be preferred but prior experience at large local online efforts elsewhere will do. The Local News Web Editor will report to the head of the Universal Desk, Sandy Sugawara. If you are interested, please contact AME News Personnel Peter Perl at

*And there’s an opening on the Post’s sports desk for a writer to cover the Nationals (courtesy of Mediabistro’s Fishbowl DC) so sportswriters, polish off your resumes:

WaPo Seeks New Nats Writer

By Matt Dornic on Nov 18, 2009 03:23 PM

Chico Harlan is shifting gears at the Post and leaving his spot as the Nats writer up for grabs. Memo obtained by FishbowlDC below:

After two very long seasons doing an outstanding job covering the Washington Nationals, Chico Harlan is eager for a new challenge at the Post, and a well-deserved one. We do not fault Chico for having failed to bring winning baseball to the District. In fact, he now joins a long list of baseball writers who have come up short in that regard. What this means is that we are looking for a new reporter to cover the Nats. This is one of the most high profile and rewarding beats in Sports because our coverage of the city’s MLB franchise is at the center of our department’s mission. It is also a very demanding job. It involves covering upwards of 140-150 games per year, in addition to spring training and the off-season.The beat writer is also responsible for regular posts to the Nationals Journal blog, which has a large and passionate following of baseball fans. A background in sports is not essential, though the ideal candidate would be someone who has high energy, a willingness to travel and a love for the game of baseball.

We would like to fill this position soon to give the writer time to acclimate before the start of spring training in Florida in mid-February.

If interested, contact Matt Vita, Peter Perl, or Alexa Steele by December 2.

Happy hunting out there!


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The temptation of temp work When to act as a reference

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