When to consider relocating for a job

December 23, 2009 at 4:16 am 1 comment

Willing to relocate? That phrase in some job listings — and often uttered by placement counselors — sticks in many a job seeker’s mind on days when the phone isn’t ringing. These days, when it looks like you can’t find a decent journalism or related job in D.C., you might be tempted to look elsewhere — others do, and somehow survive.

Relocation — either permanent or temporary — as a way to end unemployment is becoming a fact of life for some D.C. area job seekers. But before taking your show on the road, experts say you need to do some serious thinking and some research. Despite the tough job market here, the D.C. area actually has more opportunities for transitioning journalists than many other regions. (See Dec. 7 blog post “Why D.C. is a relatively good market for job hunters”) Also, other places may not be as inexpensive as they seem and you may not have the same network for free-lancing and part-time work while looking, not to mention a necessary support system to keep up your spirits.

Yet career counselors say job hunters should consider relocating when:

*Your specific skill set matches much more closely with openings in other areas. Financial and business writers will have more opportunities in New York, for instance, as will those who want to cover or find communications roles in the fashion industry. L.A. is still the capital of the entertainment industry and those who cover it for any medium or platform. If your talents and experience are firmly in an area where hiring is not expanding in D.C., it may well be time to consider relocating.

*You have flexibility and your job search here seems stuck. Obviously, if you don’t have kids in school in this area or other family responsibilities that tie you to the region, looking elsewhere may be a way to put your search in a higher gear. If you get some interest and interviews in other cities, that can bolster your confidence and help you enlarge your network — which may also loosen up some opportunities here as well. Then, you can decide whether an offer elsewhere is worth the cost and hassle of a move — many companies, with their pick of workers, are picking up little (if any) of the cost of relocating these days.

*You’ve been job hunting for a long time and your savings is running low — and unemployment benefits are running out. Desperate times call for action and taking your search on the road is an obvious step. Looking for a job in another city may be preferable to taking a huge pay cut to stay in the D.C. area. Remember, the move may not be forever. Many a job seeker has landed a job in another city,  taken a small studio apartment and commuted home on weekends until their family can relocate. Others take a job figuring they will be there for just a few years. Others move and commit to a new place, only to find they are in demand in D.C. a few years down the road — and back they come. So think of relocation as a possible adventure and a way to gain experience that could help you in future endeavors.

*A less expensive city beckons. It remains relatively costly to live in D.C., especially given high housing costs. Salaries haven’t necessarily kept pace — especially when a “layoff discount” that many job seekers experience is taken into effect. In Sun Belt cities and regions where there may be good deals on homes in the aftermath of the housing crisis, you may be able to land a job with a salary comparable to a D.C. job where your paycheck will go a lot further. Yet do plenty of research, especially before moving to a region before you have snared a position. Check on a range of costs — housing, day care, private school if the public schools don’t meet your standards, commuting costs (a lot of places don’t have accessible public transportation) and the cost of relocating. Also make sure your spouse or partner will have a good shot at getting work in their field as well. Out of frustration with your D.C. search, you don’t want to make a huge mistake by moving to a city where you won’t necessarily save much money, and may still be unemployed.

*Good news for laid-off workers struggling to pay for health insurance: An extension of COBRA benefits was passed by Congress and now has been signed by President Obama. (For background on these benefits, see Oct. 13 blog post “Back-to-work grab bag.”) Essentially, the legislation will allow laid-off workers to receive help with COBRA premiums — paying part of their health insurance — for up to 15 months from nine months previously. The provisions — included in the defense appropriations bill — also extended the cutoff for eligibility for the  subsidy to Feb. 28, 2010, from Dec. 31. The link to more details in the USA Today story follows:


*As always, some job leads. The hat tip on the first listing is to mediabistro.com, which had a lot of D.C. area listings this week:

*Stars and Stripes is looking for a Washington bureau chief/enterprise editor:

Stars and Stripes
Industry Newspapers
Job Duration Full Time
Job Location Washington, DC USA
Job Requirements Stars and Stripes, the editorially-independent daily newspaper serving members of the U.S. military, their families, their commanders and Americas veterans, is seeking its next Washington Bureau Chief/Enterprise Editor. This key newsroom leader, reporting directly to the Senior Managing Editor, will supervise a deputy and four Washington, D.C.-based reporters and also shepherd the newspapers new emphasis on creative enterprise journalism focused on big-picture issues that directly affect U.S. service members. The ideal candidate for this position will have experience as an enthusiastic supervisor able to guide, teach and inspire Stars and Stripes reporters stationed in Washington, Europe, the Middle East and the Pacific. As a baseline, s/he should also possess the editing chops to take a raw story and make it smooth and take a smooth story and make it sing. But we are looking for more than that: We seek an editor practiced in the art of helping reporters focus their ideas into original, enterprise-quality work ranging from a vivid 1,000-word daily story to a lengthy multi-part series. A minimum of three years experience as an editor is required, with preference given to editors who have a record of guiding successful enterprise and investigative projects. A broad vision of how photos, graphics and Internet story-telling tools can be used to enhance written stories is also strongly desired. The salary range for this position is $70,000 to $80,000 and relocation expenses cannot be covered.

QUALIFICATION REQUIREMENTS: Three years of specialized work experience directly related to the duties described above. Demonstrated work experience must include 1 year equivalent in complexity and difficulty to the next lower pay band level.

PREFERRED CANDIDATES WILL POSSESS: Preferred are those candidates who possess a 4-yr course of study leading to a Bachelors degree in journalism and related 3 years supervisory work experience as described above.

CONDITIONS OF EMPLOYMENT National Agency Check with Inquiries Appoint subject to satisfactory completion of all pre-employment checks in accordance with AR 215-3 to include a National Agency Check with Inquiries (NACI). Temporary duty travel, to include travel to conflict/war zone and other hazardous areas may be required.

About Our Company Stars and Stripes is a daily newspaper published for the U.S. military, DoD civilians, contractors, and their families. Unique among the many military publications, Stars and Stripes operates as a First Amendment newspaper, free of control and censorship. We have published continuously in Europe since 1942, and since 1945 in the Pacific. Today, our readers number well over 350,000.
Stars and Stripes now maintains news bureaus in Europe, Pacific and the Middle East to provide first-hand reporting on events in those theaters. In addition to news and sports, our daily paper contains all the elements of the hometown paper our service members left behind, from ”Dear Abby” to coupons, comics and crossword puzzles. In all, we publish five daily editions: Mideast, Europe, Japan, Korea and Okinawa and a weekly in the UK.

*The Hill newspaper in D.C. is looking for a political journalist to cover the House (the hat tip is to both mediabistro.com and journalismjobs.com):

Company: The Hill
Seeking Political Journalist
Washington, District of Columbia
Job Status: Full-time
Salary: Negotiable
Ad Expires:
January 26, 2010
Job ID: 1136545
Website: http://thehill.com

The Hill is seeking an experienced political journalist to cover the House of Representatives.

The successful applicant will have at least 3 years experience covering Capitol Hill and be able to hit the ground running. We want a journalist capable of playing an integral role in The Hill’s coverage of both the policy and politics of the lower chamber.

Applicants must mail their materials and salary requirements to the managing editor with the envelope marked “House reporter.” No phone calls. No e-mails.

Please send materials to: Managing Editor The Hill newspaper 1625 K Street Suite 900 Washington, DC 20006

*And an interesting, well-paying government opening — an associate managing director of new media for the FCC in D.C. — for someone with the right experience:

Vacancy No. DEU-OMD-2010-0008 Department Federal Communications Commission
Salary $120,830.00 to $153,200.00 Grade 15 to 15
Perm/Temp Permanent FT/PT Full-time
Open Date 12/18/2009 Close Date 12/28/2009
Job Link Apply Online 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)
Federal Communications Commission
Sub Agency:
Federal Communications Commission
Job Announcement Number:
Job Title:
Associate Managing Director New Media
Salary Range:
120,830.00 – 153,200.00 USD /year
Series & Grade:
Promotion Potential:
Open Period:
Friday, December 18, 2009 to Monday, December 28, 2009
Position Information:
Full Time  Permanent
Duty Locations:
1 vacancy – Washington DC Metro Area, DC
Who May Be Considered:
All U.S. Citizens
Job Summary:
The FCC is an independent United States
government agency, directly responsible to Congress. The FCC was
established by the Communications Act of 1934 and is charged
with regulating interstate and international communications by
radio, television, wire, satellite and cable. The FCC’s jurisdiction
covers the 50 states, the District of Columbia, and U.S.
This position is located in the Office of Managing Director.
Key Requirements:

  • US Citizenship
  • Suitable for employment as determined by a background investigation.
  • Males born after 12/31/59 must be registered with Selective Service
  • Serve a probationary period of one year, if applicable
  • Must submit a financial disclosure statement upon assuming the position

Major Duties:
As the Associate Managing Director New Media, the incumbent is charged with managing the Agency’s new media efforts including responsibility for the Commission’s web design, information and data architecture, data transparency and search operations. Advises the Managing Director and Chairman and Commissioners, on matters pertaining to new media issues.  The work involves identifying, planning, designing and recommending actions that will contribute to changing the existing systems and technologies into integrated enterprise systems that support the Commission’s strategic goals and policies.  Oversees and leads the revitalizing and re-tooling of web and search services to increase participation and communications through the Agency’s web site and other network services. Manages a team of data and web application developers in the execution of this effort.  Initiates and/or is apprised of all FCC’s data transparency and web system architecture projects and assignments and advises the Managing Director on matters of major concern.  Coordinates routing matters and projects among the New Media and Technology staff where such coordination is required and in the day-to-day relationships acts for with the full confidence of the Managing Director.  Formulates, develops and implements policies, standards, criteria and guidelines for the implementation of online media initiatives; and defends the Agency’s position on key/critical policy initiatives and issues.  Formulates, develops, recommends and implements long-range strategic plans for the evolution of the Agency’s overall web design, information transparency, and open data initiatives.  Plans, manages and conducts comprehensive risk analysis and assessments of critical systems operations, to identify and quantify threats to the integrity and security of sensitive new media technology resources. Conducts continuous evaluations of the Commission’s business needs by ensuring that the Agency can use the internet and other new media tools to broaden and strengthen the Agency’s reach and presence.  Represents the Agency in conferences, planning and briefing sessions, etc., relative to plans and policies affecting new media technology.
Applicants must meet eligibility and qualification requirements by the closing date of this announcement.  Current Federal employees must meet time-in-grade
requirements by the closing date of this announcement.
Specialized Experience:  Applicants must have a minimum of one year of specialized experience equivalent to at least the GS-14 grade level in the Federal service.  For this position, specialized
experience includes the following:
1. planning, designing, and managing web design, information/data architecture, data transparency and new media projects/initiatives;
2. planning, designing, and managing multiple enterprise-wide
technology investments;
3. developing and communicating policies related to online media;
4. identifying and evaluating open data concepts and making recommendations or decisions; and
5. providing expert advice and direction to executives, managers, staff, and others.
Please note your resume must thoroughly support your responses to the vacancy questions.  Your resume is an integral part of the process for determining if you meet
the basic qualifications of the position and determining if you are to be among the best qualified.
How You Will Be Evaluated:
All applicants will be rated on the extent and quality of experience and education relevant to the duties of the position.  An automated score is administered based on the on-line application process used.  Eligible applicants will receive a numerical rating based on their responses to the job specific questions for this position submitted via the FCCJobs
website.  Applicants will be rated ineligible, if they do not respond to job specific questions and submit a resume.  For
more information, please click on Rating Process.
There are several parts to the application process that affect the overall evaluation of your application including:

  • the core questions (answered when you register in FCCJobs);
  • the vacancy questions (answered when you apply for this vacancy). To view the vacancy questions please visit our website at FCCJobs and click on ‘Just Browsing’ and view the announcement as well as the vacancy questions; and
  • supplemental documentation (e.g., DD-214, SF-50, SF-15, transcripts); and
  • your resume.

The FCC offers a wide range of employee benefits, including:

  • Health Insurance
  • Life Insurance
  • Long-Term Care Insurance
  • Thrift Savings Plan
  • Retirement
  • Holidays and Leave
  • Health Care Flexible Spending Account
  • Transportation Subsidy
  • Alternative Work Schedule
  • Telecommuting

Other Information:
EEO Policy Statement

Reasonable Accommodation Policy Statement

Veterans Information

Legal and Regulatory Guidance

How To Apply:
To apply to this announcement go to FCCJobs
Your application, including resume, all supplemental documents, registration information and answers to job specific questions must be received no later than midnight U.S. Eastern time of the closing date.  For more information, please click on How to Apply, Applying for Jobs, and Inputting Resumes.  If
you have question or problems with password or
logging in, please click on Passwords, IDs, and Logging
If applying online poses a hardship, please
contact the Federal Communications Commission’s
Human Resources Office at (202) 418-0130 during
business hours (8:30 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. U.S.
Eastern Time) prior to the closing date of the
vacancy announcement.
Required Documents:
***Some positions require supplemental document(s).  Documents must be received in the FCC’S Human Resources Office by midnight U.S. Eastern Time of the closing date of the announcement.  Once you apply to this vacancy you will be prompted by the system to print coversheets – the fax number will be listed on this sheet.
Supplemental document(s) required should be faxed separately on the fax coversheet provided.  Once faxed, you should receive an
email confirmation within an hour.  If you do not receive an email confirmation, your fax has not been successfully received and you should fax again.  If you are unable to fax the required documentation, contact the Human Resources Office at 202-418-0130 prior to 5:00 p.m. U.S. Eastern Time on the closing date of
the announcement.***
Hardcopy Supplement Documents Required:

  • When the area of consideration is “Government-Wide” or “All U.S. Citizens,” current Federal employees, including those eligible for noncompetitive transfer or reassignment, must provide a legible hardcopy of Personnel Action, SF-50, that verifies your status and highest permanently held grade along with your most recent annual performance appraisal.
  • ICTAP eligible candidates must submit a copy of their most recent annual performance appraisal (at least “Meets or Exceeds” or
    equivalent) and proof of eligibility such as a RIF separation notice or letter from OPM, or your agency documenting your priority
    consideration status.  You must be rated well qualified (a score of 80 or above) for the position.
  • If applying for consideration under a non-competitive appointment such as Schedule A, Excepted Service, all documentation establishing your eligibility must be provided.
  • Veterans must submit form DD-214, “Certificate of Release or Discharge from Active Duty,” or an SF-15, “Application for 10-
    Point Veterans’ Preference” plus the proof required by that form.
    Contact Information:
    Sheila Shipp
    Phone: 202-418-0148
    Fax: 202-418-1498
    TDD: 202-418-0126
    Email: Sheila.Shipp@fcc.gov
    Or write:
    Federal Communications Commission
    1280 Fairfield Road
    Gettysburg, PA 17325
    Fax: 202-418-1498
    What To Expect Next:
    Once your complete application is received,
    we will conduct an evaluation of your qualifications to determine
    your ranking.  The best-qualified candidates will be referred to the
    hiring official for further consideration and possible interview.
    You will be notified of the outcome.<
    EEO Policy Statement:   http://www.usajobs.gov/eeo
    Reasonable Accommodation Policy Statement:   http://www.usajobs.gov/raps
    Veterans Information:   http://www.usajobs.gov/vi
    Legal and Regulatory Guidance:   http://www.usajobs.gov/lrg

USAJOBS Control Number: 1763630

Happy hunting!




Entry filed under: Uncategorized.

Making initial contact — the inquiry letter Contemplating your search or job over the holiday weekend(s)

1 Comment Add your own

  • 1. Derrick  |  December 23, 2009 at 4:35 pm

    I can testify that relocating can help. Several years ago I worked in the Chicago suburbs, which had a high standard of living. I was offered a job in Fort Wayne, Ind. — not as exciting a place, but the standard of living was so much lower, I took a pay cut and still wound up ahead.


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