Holiday networking and a grab bag of other items

December 3, 2009 at 1:28 pm Leave a comment

I can’t stress enough how most jobs, especially in the D.C. area, are not widely listed but filled through individual networks — what used to be called word-of-mouth. Some recruiters estimate that fully 70 percent to 80 percent of jobs are never publicly advertised, especially these days when hiring managers are flooded by resumes whenever they list a position.

Given that, what should you do to widen and deepen your network so that you’ll hear about more of those unlisted jobs? Though employers slow actual hiring during the holiday season, it’s a great time to network for future jobs. Many networking, alumni and affinity groups have holiday gatherings so if you’re job hunting, polish your party shoes and attend! Here are some tips from experts on how to most effectively network during the holidays:

*Don’t be “fashionably late” to holiday networking events. You’ll want to arrive on time — and even early if it’s a conference or lecture where an early entrance won’t be rude to a host — to talk to potential contacts as they arrive. If you are one of the first people in the room, others will congregate around you and if you’re shy, the early crowd won’t seem as imposing.  Use your time well and pass along business cards to key contacts — but only after you’ve struck up a conversation and found some common ground. Mix and mingle; don’t get stuck talking to only a few people.

*Don’t pitch yourself and your skills too hard at a holiday networking opportunity. You’re not going to find a job or even specific job leads here. What you’re aiming for is to make good contacts with whom you can follow up in coming weeks — who can lead you to hidden openings. And as it’s a holiday event, you’ll want to keep the conversation light and festive; don’t depress potential contacts with talk of a recent layoff or how difficult your job hunt has been.

*Make contacts want to help you. After you’ve talked to someone for a few minutes, be specific about the kind of jobs you are looking for and the industries in which you’re interested. That way if they know of something they may be able to help you in the future. Also, think about who you know and what you can do that would be helpful to them. That always makes an impression.

*Don’t overextend yourself. While it’s important to mingle and not get stuck in a corner, don’t engage in “speed-networking” and try to meet half the room. If you have made five or six good contacts at an event, that’s an achievement.

*Follow up by email the next day — before someone has a chance to forget you. Remind them of who you are, tell them how you enjoyed the conversation and try to include a funny, warm or helpful comment that arose from your conversation. Keep the note brief. Don’t expect a reply right away from busy professionals. If you don’t hear from them in a few weeks, follow up with another brief email, wishing them happy holidays.

*Now I get to do one of my favorite things — passing along good news, this time the word that three of my former CQ colleagues (all members of the “Gang of 45”) are landing well. Congratulations to them! Here are the details:

*Rachel Kapochunas, who was a writer for, starts Dec. 7 at The Washington Independent as a senior researcher. She will focus on political coverage through the Center for Independent Media.

*Avery Palmer, an environmental writer, has landed a position as a writer with the Alliance for Climate Protection, an advocacy group that was started by Al Gore. Avery will be responsible for Web content, op-eds, fact sheets, speeches and other written materials for their campaigns. This is the second note of congratulations to Avery in this blog as he has been working on a temporary assignment with the Pew Environmental Fund.

*Jessica Coomes, who covered the Hill for CQ and before that for Newhouse’s Washington bureau, on Dec. 7 will start a temporary reporting job at BNA in D.C. covering pharmaceuticals and the Food and Drug Administration.

Please pass along other good news of D.C. journalists landing well — success breeds success. And all of the folks above say tips from others in their network helped them land these positions; the network works!

*This next item (hat tip to Romenesko Latest News on is more sobering news, showing what a tough time LATimes alum have had securing well-paying work, especially in journalism. Yet I include it because I’m quite impressed with their site,, where they are helping each other find work and stay connected. Check it out:

Survey: 84% of ex-LATers say leaving the paper had a negative impact on their finances
Four out of five of the 75 former Los Angeles Times staffers responding to a survey report they now earn half – or less – of what they were paid at the Times. Thirteen percent of the respondents reported zero income.

*As always, a few job leads for your consideration:

*First, a company that contracts with the State Department is looking for a writer and editor (based in D.C.) with knowledge of climate change and energy issues. The job involves working with the State Department to communicate with other countries about U.S. positions on climate change, and developing platforms to discuss these issues with people around the world. Anyone who’s interested should contact me here (or on Facebook or at and I’ll help put you in touch with the recruiter.

*The next is a writer/editor for the FDA in Silver Spring:
Writer Editor
Health and Human Services: Food and Drug Administration (FDA) – Silver Springs, MD
COMP Job Title: WRITER-EDITOR Salary Range: 102,721… Communication, Center for Drug Evaluation and Research (CDER), FDA. Office of Training and communication… $102,721 – $133,543 a year

*The final lead is for someone who may be willing to relocate to Maryland’s lovely Eastern shore to take a job as a director of content for (Hat tip is

Job Summary
Director of Content POSTED: Nov 24
Salary: Open Location: Maryland
Employer: Type: Full Time – Experienced
Categories: Broadcast, Newspapers and Magazines, Online
Employer Information
About in combination with WBOC Television reaches nearly a million people a month. With a competitive compensation structure, this is a ripe opportunity for the right professional. Nestled between the Chesapeake Bay and the beaches of the Atlantic Ocean, Maryland’s Eastern Shore enjoys an affordable, high quality of life, especially for outdoor lovers, and easy access to the hustle and bustle of DC, Baltimore and Philadelphia. WBOC is an Equal Opportunity Employer.

View all our jobs

Job Description
The Director of Content will lead the content vision/voice, process and schedule for the site; working directly with the TV newsroom and the sales team equally to bring news and information, moment to moment, to best serve the Delmarva community.

The ideal candidate will have in-depth experience with various CMS’s and a history of increasing responsibility with content-driven online media. This person will have a solid understanding of the variety of content sources (feeds, aggregated, original, user-generated, advertiser, social-media-driven, blogger, vlogger, etc.) and the value and proper usage of each, as well as a clear view of where they believe content is heading from the technology, user and the business perspectives equally. News experience is a must; daily news preferred.

Responsibilities will include:
· Generate content ideas for website, as well as help organize the news team to form a cohesive approach

· To set and manage editorial calendar, posting schedule, content sources, and relationship with the outside community, keeping the site valuable, relevant and running cost-effectively.
· Help ensure the website reflects the legacy and standards of WBOC and delivers real value to the community at large.
· Be fully aware of the daily news cycle and make sure the site mirrors or leads as appropriate
· Set site style and educate team accordingly.

· To maintain quality assurance

· Build relationships with the industry and contributors
· Cultivate the continued growth and improvement of the product and the team

· This position reports to the GM, Interactive.
The ideal will be passionate about news and the potential of the site to serve the community. There must be an extreme attention to detail, process and rabid organizational passion in an environment where deadlines are not optional.

Contact me directly, No phone calls, please! No relocation assistance offered.

Good luck on the hunt!



Entry filed under: Uncategorized.

How to handle gaps in your resume Rethinking the holiday hiring slowdown

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