How to get out of a job-hunting rut

January 13, 2010 at 11:55 am Leave a comment

The winter blahs can extend to job hunts. Just as dieters often hit a plateau on the way to their ultimate weight-loss goal, it’s often the case that job seekers — especially after many months — can reach a place where they seem stuck and the end goal of a good job appears illusive.

As it’s so important to stay positive, focused and hopeful, hiring experts recommend that job seekers switch it up a bit and make some shifts in how they are pursuing a job — which can also help repair your outlook as well. Here are some tips for making those changes, especially in cold, dreary January:

*Take stock of your job-hunting strategy. Conduct a time-management study with yourself as the subject. For one week, at the end of each day note how much time you spent on various tasks: networking, responding to email, time on social-networking sites, going on interviews, going on job boards, etc. First you’ll be able to identify some patterns — perhaps you didn’t realize you were spending several hours a day between Facebook posts and playing online chess games, for instance! Then be honest about which activities have the biggest payoff. If your personal network has been the source of most real leads and the interviews you’ve had, then it makes sense to focus there. If job boards haven’t been too successful but a lot of your week is spent there, limit yourself to an hour a day. Use your search time wisely — this exercise will equip you with information to do so.

*Throw something new into the job-hunting mix and incorporate it into your daily routine. This can energize you and perhaps send your search into new areas and help you develop new contacts. Join a new social-networking site and get active there, join a new “real-world” group (such as an alumni association or other affinity group) and actually show up for meetings and events, start a blog or a Web site on a topic you enjoy and in which you have some expertise or become an active poster in a new discussion group for you. It’s obvious but true: Add something you’ll enjoy and you’re more apt to stick with it.

*Toss out something that’s not working. Especially if an activity or strategy is costing you time, energy and perhaps money, get rid of it. Or put it on hiatus — you don’t have to leave a social-networking group that is sucking up your time better spent elsewhere, just don’t post or visit it every day. And something that worked at the beginning of your search — for instance, spending time on job boards to get an idea of what’s out there — may now just not be worth the effort.

*Ask friends and others in your network for new contacts. With a new year, many people have “expand network” resolutions, so most probably won’t find this an odd request and will indulge you. A key strategy: Network with the well-connected, they not only have more people in their network (so more chances for job leads) but they also are used to helping out people and often enjoy networking — that’s how they got good at it! Don’t be shy about asking. Always be polite (and try to offer them something in return — even an interesting, well-written email can be a reward) and specific: tell them, for instance, that you’re not in contact with many people who have successfully made the transition from journalism to a communications job at an NGO, if that is something you might consider. Even if they don’t know anyone like that, they may know others who could put you in touch with them. And it may help to give yourself a specific goal: such as to expand your network by a dozen new people (and follow up with them) before the month is out.

*Some good news to report (and you know how I love to pass along good news) on a few individual hires. Congratulations to them — and see, there is some hiring going on in D.C. and there is hope!! They include:

*Phil Mattingly, a reporter at CQ/Roll Call who has been covering financial services on the Hill, will be joining Bloomberg’s Washington bureau on Jan. 25 to cover a similar beat there.

*Kate Davidson Choma, also a reporter at CQ/Roll Call and before that a reporter at newspapers in New Hampshire, will be joining American Banker’s Washington bureau on Jan. 25 (and working with me!) on the community and regional banking team.

*And last but certainly not least, Chris Dally, who worked at CQ from 2006 to early 2008, ultimately as the House votes reporter and then went to Madrid to work for a non-profit environmental educational group, has landed a  job with The Clean Economy Network in D.C. (And the job offer came on his birthday, no less!)

Congratulations to Phil, Kate and Chris, and I wish them much success in their new positions. And if you hear of someone in D.C. journalistic circles who has successfully ended their job search please send me the good news to spread. Hope is crucial!

*And now some job leads that just might help you land your next position:

*MedIummune has an opening at its corporate headquarters in Gaithersburg for an associate director of internal communications for R&D:

Associate Director, Internal Communications R D
MedImmune – Gaithersburg, MD
Director of Internal Communications to develop and implement a strategic communications plan to educate… communications activities with his/her communications

*Long and Foster Real Estate is looking for a director of PR and communications to work out of its Chantilly office:
Director, PR & Communications
Long & Foster Real Estate Inc – Chantilly, VA
Director, PR & Communications
From Monster

*With a hat tip on the next two items to, National Defense Magazine has an opening for a graphics/production coordinator in Arlington:

National Defense Magazine
Seeking graphics/production coordinator
Arlington, Virginia
Job Status: Full-time
Salary: $40,000 to $45,000
Ad Expires:
February 15, 2010
Job ID: 1142248

If you are an organized and detail-oriented graphics professional with solid design and layout skills, National Defense Magazine has an immediate opening for a full-time production and graphics coordinator. The job requires a self-motivated candidate who can handle multiple tasks and can transition smoothly between print and web. It’s important for the candidate to be comfortable taking direction and working collaboratively in a small staff. Ability to multitask is critical. Candidates should be prepared to hit the ground running. The job requires skills in magazine layout and web production. Required skills: QuarkXpress & Indesign, Photoshop skills, basic web knowledge, Mac & PC experience Desired skills: Microsoft Sharepoint, ability to create conceptual graphics or illustrations, knowledge of high-res PDF workflow, familiarity with press-checks.
National Defense Magazine ( has 48,000 subscribers and 65,000 online readers. It provides authoritative, non-partisan coverage of business and technology trends in U.S. defense and homeland security.

The magazine is published monthly by the National Defense Industrial Association — a non-profit educational organization. NDIA is an equal opportunity employer. Benefits include health plan, paid vacation and 401k. Convenient location by Courthouse Metro, in Arlington, VA

Candidates will be asked to complete an application for employment form.

Send cover letter, resume, samples and three professional references to

*And Elsevier Business Intelligence is seeking a reporter in D.C. for “The Pink Sheet” publication covering the pharmaceutical and biotech industries:

Elsevier Business Intelligence (EBI)
Washington , District of Columbia
Job Status: Full-time
Salary: Not Specified
Ad Expires:
February 16, 2010
Job ID: 1142489

Want to shape what the drug industry knows? “The Pink Sheet,” the leading source of news in the pharmaceutical and biotechnology fields, is seeking a Washington DC based reporter to enhance the publication’s coverage of business, regulatory and legislative events in this dynamic industry. Key responsibilities include tracking news events, attending federal advisory committee meetings, and writing articles for daily and weekly deadlines. The job offers the opportunity to work with a large editorial staff in a lively, stimulating environment. “The Pink Sheet” is published by Elsevier Business Intelligence, whose family of products, including IN VIVO and Health News Daily, provide in-depth news and information together with penetrating insight and analysis of the healthcare industry. Qualifications: • Bachelor’s degree (preferably in journalism or related area) required. • Interest in writing for business/professional audience. Previous experience on a daily or weekly publication preferred. • Ability to turn around complex stories on tight deadlines and to juggle multiple story projects. • Strong writing, analytical skills, and intellectual curiosity are a must. • Capacity to synthesize regulatory, legislative, business and scientific information. • Team-oriented approach with ability to work in interactive environment.
Interested candidates should apply online at Please include a cover letter listing salary requirements, resume and writing samples. We offer an excellent compensation and benefits package. Elsevier is an Equal Opportunity/Affirmative Action Employer.

Happy hunting!



Entry filed under: Uncategorized.

Job fairs — are they worth the time of job hunters or recruiters? How to get recruiters to notice you

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