Grab bag — do’s and don’ts, collecting on free-lance and some leads

December 17, 2009 at 11:16 am 1 comment

‘Tis the season to be flooded with lists (one I’d really like to see would be: the worst dopey list stories of ’09) so I thought I’d compile a quick job hunters do’s and don’ts list, based on actual tales from the hunt from email correspondents and friends. If you have some to add, please share.

Let’s start with the don’ts, as those tend to be more interesting:

*Don’t wait for people who say they are going to help you get a job or will be in touch or will send along your resume to do so. Be proactive. A lot of people — especially just after you’re laid off or take a buyout — say they will make connections for you or pass along your resume at their company, but for whatever reason they don’t. People are busy and they forget. Or they may realize that your skills aren’t a great match for the position they mentioned and they’re embarrassed. So don’t give them time to delay. Follow up on all offers quickly and politely, and give them specific ideas in reply to the question of “What can I do to help?”

*Don’t look back. (I know some ’80s group sang it….who?) Though feelings of anger, frustration and loss about what happened with your previous job are natural, spending a lot of time trying to determine what you might have done to avoid a layoff or to have kept your job are fruitless. One thing is absolutely true: What’s done is done. You will need all your energy and smarts to look for your next opportunity. Try to close the door on your previous job and try not to be bitter about it. And never complain about a previous employer to a prospective one — that makes them very wary.

*Don’t forget the details. All the seemingly little things in a job hunt are important — the thank-you notes to those who took the time to meet with you, the follow-ups, being available by mobile phone and email at all kinds of hours, and polishing your resume until it shines. In this competitive job market, every little detail counts so become detail-oriented. It’ll pay off.

Okay, a few do’s for the more affirmative among us:

*Do brush up on your skills. Take some of your severance or buyout money and enroll in a course or two or an on-line seminar. Web-oriented skills are an obvious place for some polishing but think about your subject knowledge in certain areas and whether you could benefit from some courses there. And it’s not necessary to take a full-blown semester college course (though with the plethora of colleges and universities in the D.C. area — and some great community college offerings — that’s certainly a possibility). Look for short-term offerings that you can schedule around your job hunt.

*Do mention broadly that you’re looking for a job. This may seem like overly simplistic advice but I’m always surprised by the number of people who — out of embarrassment or shyness or reticence — don’t tell everyone they know that they’re job hunting. Your chances of landing a good job are directly related to the size of your network and the number of people spreading the word about you. I was recently at a cocktail party where someone congratulated me on getting a job, and the person I had been talking with whispered after the well-wisher had gone, “I didn’t know you had been unemployed. Me too.” Why whisper? Until then, I hadn’t known she was looking. After the party, she emailed me her resume and I passed it along to a few people. Spread the word broadly and unapologetically. People will respond.

*Do use this time for some reflection about your career goals — but then get real. As journalists with constant deadlines, it’s rare for us to have time to think about what it is we really want to do with our careers, what kind of work is most meaningful to us, what we’re really good at and where we may need to improve. So now that you have some time and flexibility, think hard about this. Perhaps even commit these thoughts to a computer screen or paper. But then take that information about yourself and use it to guide you to jobs that actually exist.

*A question several email correspondents have asked lately is: What’s going on with free-lance payment? With the crush of job hunters looking to do free-lance and contract work while they are on the hunt, things have gotten more competitive here, too, and some organizations are lowering fees as a result. Others are ending kill fees and taking longer to pay. Yet don’t despair, as other organizations are replacing full-time jobs (ugh; I know this is a chicken-and-egg situation) with contract and free-lance work.

As most journalists enjoy the actual free-lance project but aren’t particularly good at the payment part of the process, I turned to Maya Payne Smart, my free-lance guru and author of the thewritingcoach blog. As always, she had some good tips for helping make sure you are paid for free-lance work, starting off with negotiating a clear contract. Here is the link to her site with a recent post on this issue:

*As always, some leads:

*This first lead is for helping out with the 2010 Census. Don’t scoff; the hours are part-time and flexible, the hourly pay quite competitive, and you can do this close to home while you search for a full-time job — and you’ll meet a lot of real people and could come up with some story ideas as a result. It’s a particularly good option for college journalists and new grads. This lead came from a Montgomery County (Md.) list serve but they’re looking for Census workers elsewhere in the D.C. area and nationwide:

Job Offering for 2010 Census Jobs:
The Census Bureau in Montgomery County is now recruiting many field and some office positions.  Anyone age 18 or over with status eligible to work can apply.  Pay rate is competitive (approx. $18.50 per hour) and time is flexible.  If you are offered a Census taker position, you must be available for four days of training (either during daytime, evening, or weekend hours). You will be paid for training hours, mileage driven, commuting hours, at your regular hourly rate.  Please call now at toll free-jobs line: 1-866-861-2010 to schedule for a test.  For more information about these jobs, visit Web site at
*The American Society of Landscape Architects in D.C. is looking for a marketing manager (the hat tip on this job is
American Society of Landscape Architects
Title: Marketing Manager
Location: Washington, District of Columbia  20433
How to Apply: Please click here to create a free account and post your resume. Only logged in job seekers can apply for a job.

Display all jobs by American Society of Landscape Architects

Develops and implements an annual, coordinated marketing and promotion plan for ASLA programs, publications, products, and events:

*In coordination with member services staff, plans and implements recruitment and retention programs and develops new strategies, products, and services to promote membership growth and retention.

* Plans and implements advertising sales promotions and subscription sales/renewal campaigns for award-winning Landscape Architecture magazine; develops new strategies to increase magazine circulation and advertising sales; coordinates placement of house ads and ad trades.

*Plans and implements promotional campaigns for the ASLA annual meeting and expo, including marketing collateral and messaging. Organizes and staffs ASLA Commons at the annual meeting.

*Coordinates marketing of other ASLA products, programs, and services as assigned.
Sets goals for growth and implements metrics to measure campaign success.

*Identifies and develops new market potentials for the Society.

*Manages production of both print and electronic marketing and promotional materials, including brochures, ads, solicitations, and web sites.

*Reviews all marketing materials for ASLA affinity partnerships and manages co-marketing exchanges with allied organizations.

*Plans and implements ASLA participation in allied organizations’ trade shows, meetings, and programs (some travel to shows required). Manages schedule and travel arrangements of exhibiting ASLA staff as well as logistics of exhibitor space.

*Coordinates marketing for ASLA participation in events, including negotiating list trades and in-kind sponsorships.

*Manages the marketing budget and assists managing director and CFO in developing budget projections.

*Performs other duties as assigned.

NO PHONE CALLS: Please email the following four items to 1. Cover letter; 2. Resume; 3. Two writing samples; 4. Salary history for the past three positions held. Only candidates submitting all four items will be considered.

Founded in 1899, ASLA is the national professional association for landscape architects, representing more than 17,000 members in 48 professional chapters and 68 student chapters. The Society’s mission is to lead, to educate, and to participate in the careful stewardship, wise planning, and artful design of our cultural and natural environments. Members of the Society use their ”ASLA” suffix after their names to denote membership and their commitment to the highest ethical standards of the profession. Learn more about landscape architecture online at .

*APR Consulting is looking for a Web content editor for a five-month contract for a client  in the D.C. area:

Web Content Editor (683000) – new

APR Consulting – Washington, DC Our client in Washington DC is seeking a Web Content Editor for a 5 month contract beginning immediately… written and verbal communication skills 5. Strong… $60 an hour
From Dice


Web Content Editor (683000)

developer, journalism, excel, word, vision, creative, web content editor, editorial, health, personal finance, travel, food, relationships, technology



APR Consulting, Inc., has been in the IT Staffing business for over 28 years doing business with many large corporations. We pay weekly, offer direct deposit, medical, dental, AFLAC, and 401K.

We pride ourselves in being very ethical and working closely with our consultants and clients to fill their business needs. Please visit our web site at for more information. Thank you!

Our client in Washington DC is seeking a Web Content Editor for a 5 month contract beginning immediately.


– Aid with creation, strategy and development of editorial content for a new website
– Source, produce, and edit content
– Evaluate potential content providers


1. Deep understanding of online journalism and content creation

2. Expert with Excel, Word, and Visio

3. Solid technical writing/documentation skills

4. Excellent written and verbal communication skills

5. Strong attention to detail and ability to work under tight deadlines

6. 7+ years in an editorial consumer-facing environment

7. High degree of editorial creativity

8. Expertise in one or more of the following subject areas: health, personal finance, travel, food, relationships, technology

9. Must be a US CITIZEN or PERMANENT RESIDENT able to work on our W2 to qualify – unable to work with Visas at this time.


$60/hr (DOE) – Optional APR Medical/Dental Benefits package, 401k plan, etc.. – benefits available shortly into this contract (30+ days – starting with the 1st of the following month of the start date).

If an offer is made, a 7 year criminal background check, drug screening, and 2 professional references will be required. Candidate must be pass all screenings to be hired.

Local candidates are encouraged to apply. Client nor APR Consulting will pay to fly candidates in for an interview.

Please send your resume as an MS Word attachment to and refer to JOB# TO14167 when responding, thank you!

*And last but not least, Inova Health Systems is looking for a communications consult in Springfield, Va:


Inova Health System – Springfield, VA an experienced Internal Communications Consultant The Internal Communications Consultant, in partnership with the Sr. Manager, Internal Communications, helps…
From Inova Health System

Facility: Inova System Office
Location: Springfield, VA US
Department: Marketing – Internal Communications
Work Schedule: Full Time, M-F
Shift: Day
Hours per Pay Period (2wks): 80.00
Job Level: 5-7 Years
Education: Bachelors Degree
Category: Marketing/Public Relations
Position Summary:
Inova Health System is seeking an experienced Internal Communications Consultant

The Internal Communications Consultant, in partnership with the Sr. Manager, Internal Communications, helps develop and drive internal communications and higher levels of employee advocacy and engagement by developing and disseminating messages that align with Inova Health System and operating unit priorities. The Internal Communications Consultant will develop strategic communication plans for a wide variety of System efforts across all operating units and Human Resources. The Internal Communications Consultant also coordinates planning, writing and editing services for employee and physician stakeholders, management teams and boards, and contributes significant writing assignments as defined. Exercises independent judgment, sound decision-making and discretion in carrying out responsibilities; develops and implements effective communication plans and other deliverables in support of internal-communication strategies and effectively manages broad scope of projects with attention to detail.

-Superior verbal and written communications skills and attention to detail is a must
-Candidate will have at least 5-7 years of experience writing and editing for publications
-Candidate will have experience planning and implementing communication strategies with consideration for audience impact and message development

Preferred skills:

-Experience partnering with staff at all levels of an organization, including executive leadership and/or physicians
-Experience developing HR communications.
-Proficiency in desktop publishing, project management and writing for healthcare organizations a plus.

Education Requirements:

Bachelor’s degree in communications, journalism, marketing or related field.

Happy hunting!

Entry filed under: Uncategorized.

How to survive in a fiercely competitive job market What to avoid on your resume

1 Comment Add your own

  • 1. Tom  |  December 17, 2009 at 2:45 pm

    I think that being proactive and having a positive mindset as well as being confident in your skillset are some of the most important things you can do.


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