Investing in your job hunt

November 30, 2009 at 12:19 pm Leave a comment

Sometimes the most lasting gift you can give is to yourself. Though that sounds selfish in this season of giving to others, during a job hunt one needs to focus on oneself more than at other times — you, in effect, are the “product” you are marketing. And while you’re obviously trying to pare expenses while unemployed, there are some investments in yourself you should consider making that could land you a good job sooner.

Experts say that just after a layoff or buyout — especially if you have a decent severance or separation package and if you have a good-sized emergency fund to get you through the next few months — you should set aside a portion for spending on job-hunting investments. These are things that can help you get organized, appear and be more confident and make sure you are maximizing your potential in your job search. They include:

*Devices to keep you more organized and be in touch with potential employers. Especially if you had a company-provided BlackBerry (or other PDA) or mobile phone, you should seriously consider investing in one on your own. If you shop carefully (rebates are available from several manufacturers now; just make sure to find out exactly what forms you need to fill out and send in!) you may be able to get a good deal on both the device and the service. It’s imperative that prospective employers be able to reach you quickly and easily for interviews and follow-up; if they can’t, they will move on to the next candidate.

*Hiring — for just an hour or two — an employment lawyer to look over your severance or separation agreement. Though in most cases companies are spending a lot of time making sure these are airtight, it’s probably worth the peace of mind you will receive by having a lawyer look over it. And in some cases, a lawyer may be able to get you a bit more money if the rules weren’t followed closely or you were treated differently than others in the layoff.  (In almost all layoff situations you are given at least several days to look over the agreement and sign it before it becomes binding.) The D.C. Bar can refer you to a lawyer; make sure to get a disclosure of all fees before signing on:
DC Bar

*Sitting down with an accountant — again, even for an hour or two — to discuss the tax implications of separation pay or a buyout, especially if you are receiving it in a lump sum. In some cases — for instance, you are taking on a fair amount of free-lance work without withholding from your paychecks — you may need to start making quarterly payments to the IRS to avoid added fees and penalties. An accountant, or financial planner if you have one, may also be able to give you some tips on deductions and other strategies you hadn’t considered.

*Hiring a career coach. I know, I know, this sounds like something we do on the “coasts” that those in the fly-over states where I grew up would giggle about as a waste of money, but if you find the right person this could be valuable. The best thing a career coach can do during a job hunt is to listen and give objective yet informed advice on such things as networking, updating your resume and other job hunting tools and where to find openings, especially if you are transitioning out of journalism. They’re also usually available for consults before and after interviews to give advice and to see how you’ve done. If you have friends or former colleagues who are acting in this capacity for you, you may not need it. But it’s often worth the investment — again, most coaches charge on an hourly basis — to have someone you can turn so all the pressure isn’t on you. Some companies provide this as an outplacement service; check to see if it’s part of your package. A group that certifies career coaches can be found at:   Certified Career Coaches

*Getting a good haircut. This is one of the best investments you can make. (See recent post on “Looking the Part.”) It’s important that your hair not be falling in your face or otherwise distracting the hiring manager during an interview. A good haircut is nearly always worth the money you’ll spend. Also, an investment in a good business suit or two — nothing flashy, but one that flatters you — is imperative. And you may want to consider some other appearance “aids” — such as a manicure, teeth whitening, makeup application for women — not only to improve your appearance but to make you feel more confident. A local beauty Web site with some deals: Beauty in DC

*As always, some openings to pass along…

*First, an internship in D.C. for those seeking one for the winter/spring semester at the National Center on Homelessness & Poverty:

Spring Semester Development & Communications

Spring Semester Development & Communications
National Law Center on Homelessness & Poverty
Washington, DC

The National Law Center on Homelessness & Poverty (NLCHP) is seeking a motivated, highly organized undergraduate student to intern with NLCHP during Spring 2010. The internship will provide the student with the opportunity to learn about homelessness and poverty in the United States while developing their research, organization, communications and outreach skills.

NLCHPs mission is to prevent and end homelessness by serving as the legal arm of the nationwide movement to end homelessness. To achieve its mission, NLCHP pursues three main strategies: impact litigation, policy advocacy, and public education. To amplify the work of its small staff, the Law Center relies on interns, volunteers, and the pro bono assistance of the private bar.

The interns responsibilities may include the following:
– Develop and maintain media lists
– Track media coverage of NLCHP
– Draft copy for NLCHP Web site, press releases, media advisories
– Format NLCHP publications
– Maintain NLCHPs social networking pages
– Assist with direct mail efforts
– Assist with organization of events
– Assist with support/outreach/registration for trainings
– Assist with data entry
– Provide administrative support to the Development and Communications staff
– Research innovative development strategies & analyze the efficacy of NLCHP
communication tools

*The next is a communications director at the University of Maryland’s Libraries:

Communications Director (115959 )
Closing Date: 12/20/2009
Department: Libraries
Starting Salary: Salary minimum is $78,866.

Duties: This position advises the Dean of University Libraries and others in matters relating to internal and external communications. Creates, maintains, and implements a strategic communications plan and program for the UM Libraries, a campus-wide system of seven libraries that serves every academic discipline on campus. Provides communications counsel to leadership of the UM Libraries to advance institutional priorities among diverse and numerous audiences, including senior university administrators, members of the academic community, donors, and the community at large. Understands and employs social media effectively to reach audiences. Participates in and contributes to strategic planning, budget preparation, and presentations to key influencers. The director must develop strong relationships with external constituencies such as local and trade media and professional organizations. The complete position description may be viewed at: html.

Qualifications: A Bachelor’s degree in journalism, marketing/public relations, or communications is required; a master’s degree is preferred. Position requires a minimum 7-10 years professional experience in higher education, in increasingly responsible jobs that includes strategic marketing and public relations. Work experience in academic libraries preferred. Additional requirements include: Excellent written and oral communication skills; Demonstrated experience using MS office suite, publishing and graphics programs; Demonstrated relationship-building skills; and the ability to travel on a limited basis.

To Apply: Electronic Applications Preferred: For full consideration, send electronic application with position, title and number in the subject line. Submit cover letter (include source of ad), resume and names/telephone numbers of three professional references by December 20, 2009. Applications accepted until position is filled. Send resume to or mail to University of Maryland, Library Human Resources, 6115 McKeldin Library Co.

*And the Washington Network Group has among its most recent listings some communications and public affairs jobs that may be of interest:

Washington Network Group

WNG Job Announcements
November 28, 2009



Here is the latest edition of our WNG Job Announcements posting.Subscribe to this free newsletter, update and manage your subscription: click here.


*And finally, with a hat tip to the Pulse at, an opening to write a monthly column for an insurance publication:

Insurance industry publication needs a reporter

InsuranceNewsNet is looking for a journalist to write a featured monthly column.
The successful applicant can write from anywhere.

InsuranceNewsNet’s listing includes:

We are an ambitious insurance industry publication devoted to life insurance, annuities, health and benefits markets. We are looking for a freelance reporter/editor with thorough knowledge of the business to write our front-of-the-book star monthly column. Please do not apply if you do not have experience in this field. Send a cover letter, resume and no more than three clips to

Happy hunting!


Entry filed under: Uncategorized.

Giving of your time while job hunting When to consider taking a pay cut

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s

Trackback this post  |  Subscribe to the comments via RSS Feed

DC Works has moved!

I'm now blogging at I hope you'll join me there!

%d bloggers like this: