How to help job hunters — and what to ask for if hunting

March 11, 2010 at 12:03 pm Leave a comment

So often, job hunters embarking on a search hear this from a lot of people in their world: “Let me know what I can do to help.” And then, so many of them disappear. Some don’t really want to help. But others are sincere and just don’t know how best to help — and usually don’t know what a job seeker is looking for and qualified to do. And in our busy lives, it’s hard to shoehorn in a reminder “to do something” to help a laid-off or bought-out friend or former colleague.

So if you’re searching for a job and want help, make it easy for others: Directly ask for their help and be specific about what they can do. Make it painless for them by figuring out the kinds of contacts you want and connections you need from them. And if you want to help someone — and if you’ve ever been in their shoes or might someday, you should — pick a job seeker or two to focus on and then offer specific ways you can help, or be responsive when they ask.

Again, it’s all about networking, (see Feb. 17 post “Coping with job loss among those in your network”)  so these tips are designed for those who want to offer help to share their advice and connections, and for those who are searching to go about asking in an effective way. They include:

*Help someone starting a job search — or trying to reinvigorate one — to design a job-hunting plan. Many people are overwhelmed at the thought of a search and don’t know where to start. One of the best things a supportive friend or former colleague can do for someone who has recently lost their job is to set up a time very soon — not weeks down the road — to talk on the phone or better yet meet for coffee or a drink and help them get started. Ask the following: what types of organizations and positions interest them, do they want to stay in the D.C. area, what specific skills do they have that employers might be seeking, do they want to stay in journalism or are they open to moving on to something else, do they have a lot of money saved or decent severance, or do they need to find something relatively quickly. Don’t pry, but most people who have recently lost their job will be eager to provide this information, so just listen. Then help them figure out what makes sense in terms of focusing their job search, and start thinking of people you both know who could be helpful contacts. And job seekers, don’t necessarily wait for people to offer this help — ask several good-hearted and well-connected people to meet with you to help develop a plan; this will jump-start a search or recharge one that has stalled.

*Make introductions and connections. Email and social networking sites have made this relatively easy. After brainstorming with your job-hunting friend about what kind of position they’re seeking, think of people you know who are in this world, and then make several email introductions. One simple way is to email the contact, and copy the job-seeker, saying “Bill, please meet my friend Jill. Jill has recently left XYZ Communications, where she did a terrific job as a manager of their LMN project.  She’s looking for a similar position in the D.C. area, and as you are one of the most plugged-in people I know in that field, I immediately thought of you when she was seeking contacts. I think you’d really enjoy meeting each other. Here is Jill’s contact information. Thanks in advance for offering your advice on her search.” It’s that simple, yet an introduction from you is often much more meaningful than simply giving your friend the contact information of someone else — the personalization really helps. You can use Facebook for this as well. LinkedIn has an “introduction” function where a job seeker can send you a “request to forward” item seeking your help in making an introduction to a specific contact they’d like to meet. Those on the hunt should remember to make it as easy as possible for those making the introductions, always express your gratitude and spread out your requests — ask for a few introductions from a number of people, it’s best to get a more diverse set of contacts anyway.

*Pass along invitations to events, lunches, seminars and other opportunities for your job-seeking friends to expand their network. Most of us receive a lot of invitations we can’t use — especially for events that occur during the working day — and these could be valuable to those on the hunt who need to be out and about making new contacts. When possible, take them along with you to an event you’re attending anyway and introduce them to people you know who can introduce them to others. Job seekers, be sure to print up attractive and clear business cards to hand out at such events, and follow up right away with those you meet.

*Send along job leads you see on list-serves and job boards (and from this blog — or better yet, encourage them to become a dcworks reader!) as well as articles and links to news and information that may be useful to them. Not only will the information be appreciated, but hearing from those in the working world on a regular basis can be immensely helpful to a job hunter who may be feeling somewhat isolated. It usually only takes a minute to forward something, yet that could be the item that puts the job seeker on the path to a new position! And job hunters, when you land your new job, make sure to do the same for someone else who is still looking.

*The following is some in-your-face advice from a recruiter’s perspective — recruiter Steven Coyne’s  “3 Reasons I’ll Read your Resume” is packed with useful tips. Enjoy:

*And today’s job leads include communications and journalism positions:

*NPR in D.C. is looking for a supervising senior editor for its All Things Considered program:

Supervising Senior Editor, Planning, All Thin
National Public Radio (NPR) – Washington, DC
ORIGINAL JOB LISTING Supervising Senior Editor, Planning, All Things Considered Tracking Code… news producer or news editor, including work on…

*The State Department has an opening in D.C. for a writer-editor:
Department of State – Washington, DC
Area, DC As a writer-editor you will oversee the… presentations, issues briefs, and other communication tools that are carefully researches and tailors to… $89,033 – $115,742 a year

*The American Diabetes Association in Alexandria is looking for an associate director of external communications:

Associate Director – External Communications
American Diabetes Association – Alexandria, VA
relevant communications plans. * Supports management of corporate brand and reputation. * Works with colleagues in Marketing & Communications, to develop…
From American Diabetes Association

*Abt Associates in Bethesda has an opening for a vice president of strategic communications:
VP of Strategic Communications
Abt Associates, Inc. – Bethesda, MD
of communications. Reviews Company communications… appropriate communication sources for communications issues. Writes various communications materials…

*With a hat tip to (for the final two leads), National Geographic Digital in D.C. is looking for a freelance online copy editor and an online environment editor:

Company: National Geographic Digital Media
Washington, District of Columbia
Job Status: Freelance
Salary: Commission/Contract
Ad Expires:
April 15, 2010
Job ID: 1155536

ONLINE COPY EDITOR seeks an experienced copy editor for all of our online editorial content related to environment (energy, water, oceans, biodiversity, sustainable food, green living, climate, weather, and more). We’re looking for a detail-oriented person who can quickly learn National Geographic style and process news stories, feature articles, blog posts, and photo galleries.

This is a freelance position estimated at up to 20 hours a week.


– Three to five years of copy editing experience for online media (news experience preferred)

– Ability to work independently

– Excellent writing skills; ability to correct errors in grammar, spelling, usage, and style

– Experience working in a CMS preferred

– Knowledge of SEO best practices preferred

ONLINE ENVIRONMENT EDITOR seeks an experienced news editor for all of our online editorial content related to environment (energy, water, oceans, biodiversity, sustainable food, green living, climate, weather, and more). We’re looking for an editor who is familiar with these issues and has experience editing for the web. This person would need to quickly learn National Geographic standards and practices and process about two news stories, feature articles, or photo galleries a day, on average.

This is a freelance position estimated at up to 20 hours a week.


– Three to five years of editing experience for online media, preferably news.

– Degree in journalism, communication, or related field; additional degrees in environment- and science-related fields a plus

– Excellent editing and communications skills; ability to work with writers to help them compellingly convey complicated science and environmental concepts to a general web audience

– Experience working in a CMS preferred

– Knowledge of SEO best practices

– Ability to work independently


An hourly or per-article rate based on experience and time available

– How to Apply:

Interested candidates should submit a resume and cover letter with salary requirements to The subject line of your email should read “Copy Editor” or “Environment Editor.”

We regret that we are unable to respond to each resume. Only those individuals selected for interviews will be contacted. National Geographic is an equal opportunity employer.

*And to wrap up today’s leads, Atlantic Media in D.C.  has an opening for an assistant to the editor:

Company: Atlantic Media Company
Assistant to the Editor
Washington, District of Columbia
Job Status: Full-time
Salary: Not Specified
Ad Expires:
April 12, 2010
Job ID: 1154864

The Assistant to the Editor will work side-by-side with the Editor in Chief and Deputy Editor on a wide range of office and organizational needs including:

  • managing the Editor-in-Chief’s and Deputy Editor’s schedules and mail
  • acting as liaison for all requests to and from Editor
  • completing research requests for EIC and Deputy Editor, (and when time permits, from deputy managing editors)
  • organizing and maintaining files
  • planning travel for Editor and Deputy Editor and filing Editor and Deputy Editor expenses
  • fielding public phone calls
  • managing and responding to all permissions requests for the magazine
  • handling timesheets, copyrights, and permissions
  • miscellaneous circulation and production assistance, basic research, office supplies and other administrative responsibilities

Candidates should have a minimum of two years experience in administrative work, preferable in a high-pressure position, dealing with fast-moving requests and needs. Available to work flexible hours to meet publishing deadlines.

To apply, please visit Atlantic Media Company is an Equal Opportunity Employer.

Happy hunting!



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