Strategies from the (job-search) front

April 5, 2010 at 2:05 am Leave a comment

The other day I sent a request to dcworks group members on Facebook asking for strategies — large or small — that proved successful in a recent job hunt. Some of you responded immediately with some great, specific tips! I’ll share several here (might as well spread the wealth right away) to rev up job searches at the start of this work week, and will save several for posts on specific topics in coming weeks. Please keep ’em coming!

*Here are some of the “strategies from the front:”

*This is one of my favorite job-search tips in some time — as it allows a job hunter to get their references to start working for them as soon as they dash off a resume. The sender, who snared a D.C.  journalism job very quickly after a layoff, acknowledges that he was “reluctant to give it out because it’s so damn effective” (but happily, his generosity got the better of him). His strategy, which works for “quiet” searches as well as public ones is: “Highlight static quotes from references. LinkedIn is great for this – and it seems socially acceptable to have a comprehensive and updated LinkedIn page that one can always point people to in a covert job hunt.”

He provides further details: “My references segment of my resume is a collection of pull quotes, then ‘For more information, call or e-mail…’ That way I know exactly what the thrust of someone’s recommendation is and the hiring manager has a gist of what the ones they don’t call would say. In my experience, people only call 2-3 references.
The helpfulness with this is that most people’s references won’t work for them until well into the job phase, and sometimes after they’ve decided on the ranked order of candidates. Mine work for me as soon as I turn in my CV.”
*One email correspondent, who landed a job relatively quickly in her same field in D.C. after a recent layoff, underscores that friendliness and confidence went a long way toward helping her establish a comfortable relationship with her prospective employer, which led to a good job offer. Her strategies:
“I always tried to put my interviewer at ease with being friendly and easy to talk to — I’ll go out on a limb and say that interviewers probably hate the process as much as the person who is being interviewed, so I think approaching an interview as a discussion, and dare I say ‘fun,’ was important to me.”
Also, ” Confidence seemed to be a driving factor as well. It was relayed to me, from a placement agency, that a client of theirs appreciated the fact that I stood up to present my portfolio. To them, it gave an impression of confidence and that I could hold my own in meetings or presentations with the upper echelon of the organization.”
This is a reminder that every job interview and meeting with a prospective employer is a tryout and they are watching to see how you present yourself to others. So pretend you are on stage and wow them, as this email correspondent did in her interview.
*Several senders mentioned that building a specific, definable social-networking profile was a key ingredient in landing a job (and one sender mentioned that she turned down a few job offers since a layoff because she has a lot of free-lance work and likes working for herself).  More details on this in an upcoming post, but the email correspondents mentioned that it’s not enough to have a Facebook page, LinkedIn account or Twitter handle, but you need to post regularly and keep your profile focused on a targeted subject area that could lead to a job. Targeted marketing — of you — is key!
*And last but not least from this batch of suggestions, a now-employed marketing professional (who landed a job in D.C. after nearly six months of looking after a layoff), reminds us that sometimes you have to “lower your expectations,” especially if your severance or savings is running out.
“This is not a job I would have taken when I was just laid off and in some ways, it is not a great fit for me,” she acknowledges, “but I’m getting a steady paycheck, I have decent benefits and I’m learning new things. I expect I’ll find something else after a while, and I’m glad I was open to this. Sometimes you can’t afford to be too picky.” That’s a sobering message but a realistic one. With job hunting as in other areas of life, sometimes it’s enough to just do the best you can and hope for better later.
Thanks again to all those who sent along strategies and please give me more for future posts! Send along some tips that worked for you, or you have heard that worked for others,  along to me (and I won’t use your name unless you specifically say I can) via email on Facebook or at LinkedIn, as a comment here on the blog, or to my personal email:

*The tone you take in addressing a prospective employer (whether in a formal cover letter, a follow-up email or a VoiceMail message) can make or break your candidacy. The Washington Post (and had some good advice this past weekend in a piece on job-hunting tone and some helpful tips on playing to your audience. The links follow:

Article | 04/04/2010

When applying 4 a job, take care 2 watch ur tone : Experts say best approach is to sound assured but…

Article | 04/04/2010

Know your audience

*And here’s a good range of job leads to pursue this  week:

*The Center for Preservation Leadership, part of the National Trust for Historic Preservation in D.C., has an opening for an online content provider:

*The Consumer Electronics Association in Arlington has an opening for a senior director of communications:

Senior Director, Communications
Consumer Electronics Association – Arlington, VA
editing a variety of communications materials. Managing a staff of five communications professionals, you… yoga, weight training, excellent training programs…
From Public Relations Society of America (PRSA)

*Nexus Health Inc. in Fort Washington, Md., is seeking a director of communications:
Corporate Director of Communications
Nexus Health, Inc. – Fort Washington, MD
public relations or communications positions, with… of newsletters, e-communications and other media. Ability to develop communications in house using…
From CareerBuilder

*Discovery Communications in Silver Spring has an opening for a director of photo services:

Director Photo Services
Discovery Communications – Washington, DC
Marketing), Photo Editors (Production Photography and… team of 13 full time employees comprised of Photo Editors, Art Producers and System Specialists. Includes…

*The Gallup organization in D.C. has an opening for a senior government communication and marketing professional:
Senior Government Communication and Marketing Professional
Gallup – Washington, DC
include a growing Communication and Social Marketing… of experience with communication and social marketing projects is required. Prior communication/public…
From CareerBuilder

*Fleishman-Hillard in D.C. is seeking a senior level communications professional specializing in digital and social media:
Digital and Social Media, Senior Level, Washington, D.C.
Fleishman-Hillard – Washington, DC
include internal communications, employer branding… recruiting and internal communications that leverage integrated communications and social media tactics…
From Fleishman-Hillard

*Courtesy of, the Library of Congress in D.C. is looking for a writer-editor:

Library of Congress
Industry Writer-Editor (Non-Technical)
Salary Under $75,000
Benefits Dental, Flexible Hours, Health
Job Duration Full Time
Job Location Washington, DC USA
Job Requirements Applicants must have had progressively responsible experience and training sufficient in scope and quality to furnish them with an acceptable level of the following knowledge, skills, and abilities to perform the duties of the position without more than normal supervision.

Ability to communicate in writing. **

Ability to edit materials. **

Knowledge of reference sources and research techniques. **

Ability to apply information technology to perform writing duties.

Ability to meet and deal with others.

Ability to adapt.

Ability to communicate orally.

HOW TO APPLY: To be considered for this vacancy, applicants may apply online at or submit a completed applicant job kit. Online applicants must complete all mandatory sections of the online application form. In order to use the online application system, applicants must use a computer that is equipped with either Netscape 4.7 or Internet Explorer 5.0, or higher. Attempting to complete the online application with an incompatible browser could result in the inability to submit a complete application. Job kit applicants must submit a completed application using the job kit scannable form AND an OF-612 or a Federal Style resume. A facsimile of the scannable form cannot be accepted nor will hard copy applications be accepted without a completed scannable form. You can request a copy of the job kit, which includes the scannable form, by contacting the Library of Congress Customer Service Center at the address below. If you experience technical difficulties with the online system or need any additional information, please contact a Human Resources Assistant at the number listed below or at

Library of Congress Customer Service Center
101 Independence Avenue, SE, LM-107
Washington, D.C., 20540-2700

Please be advised that due to security concerns on Capitol Hill, mail delivery from the United States Postal Service is experiencing significant delays. As a result, you are strongly encouraged to apply online. If you choose to submit a hard-copy application, we recommend that you send it via Fed-Ex or United Parcel Service (UPS) and that you allow at least 72 hours for delivery, even for overnight packages. You also have the option of hand delivery of your application, Monday through Friday, from 8:30 a.m. until 4:30 p.m., to the Library of Congress Customer Service Center.

Contact Information: Customer Service Center

About Our Company The Office of Communications supports the Library’s overall communications with the public and internal Library of Congress audiences. The Writer/Editor’s primary responsibility will include writing, editing and laying out, in collaboration with others, the Gazette newsletter, which is a weekly newsletter for all LC management and staff. The Gazette newsletter serves as a Library-wide source of official information about the Library’s missions, policies, priorities, programs for employees, fiscal and administrative matters, and special events and activities. Other duties will include producing web materials; contributing to writing/editing of the Library of Congress’ monthly magazine, the ”Information Bulletin”; and actively participating in public-affairs functions at Library-sponsored special events.

*With a hat tip to mediajobmarket, Cox Communications in Arlington has an opening for a director of public affairs:

Director, Public Affairs
Job ID:
Location: VA, Northern
Full/Part Time:
Position Details
Responsible for building and maintaining a positive image and reputation for Cox with key constituents by expertly managing communication strategies and tactics in areas that include media relations, community relations, government affairs, employee communication, product communications, competitive positioning and crisis communications.

-Serve as principal spokesperson for Cox to local media.

-Represent Cox at key business functions and at community events throughout Cox¿s Northern VA footprint.

-Direct activities that promote company visibility, building a strong company image, and increase public awareness and consumer propensity to do business with Cox.

-Build strong proactive relationships with local media to help generate positive media coverage and mitigate potentially negative coverage.

-Mange the company¿s social media efforts including activities on You Tube and Facebook.

-Manage all communications activities and provide writing and editing support for in the development of press releases, speeches, community reports, newsletters and electronic communications.

-Develop metrics that allow for the measurement of PA activities and that demonstrate how public relations activities support the company¿s business objectives.

-Provide communications counsel to system’s senior management on a daily basis, helping to enhance the company’s operational success by applying proactive and reactive communications strategy and sensibility to wide-ranging issues and initiatives (including managing and averting crisis).

-Showcase Cox’s strong localism; distinguish Cox from its competitors; support community causes through the strategic contribution of airtime; and generate profit and commercial business relationships.

-Oversee employee communications programs to ensure that employees understand and support key business and public policy strategies. Through strategic internal communications programs, help building strong employee morale and retention, and showcase employee behaviors that contribute to Cox’s success.

-Collaborate closely with marketing, ad sales and other departments to ensure alignment of strategies and initiatives for maximum benefit and ROI.

-Create PR programs that positively position Cox’s residential and commercial services to current and potential customers and align closely with marketing campaigns, using communications tools and practices, reinforce the competitive advantages and overall value of Cox’s products. Maintain relationships with cable networks and other vendors to develop and execute events and programs that promote Cox services in the community.

-High level budget responsibility.

-Long-term strategic planning responsibility.

Typical Training / Experience
Typically requires BS/BA in related discipline. A Master¿s Degree is preferred. Generally 10+ years of experience in related field, such as communications and journalism, including several years in a management/supervisory capacity. Certification required in some areas.  Experience in media relations preferred.

Influence/People Leadership
Manages via subordinate supervisors OR A team of exempt professional individual contributors and associated support staff. Ensures performance planning, coaching, and evaluation occurs per policy ; Recommends pay adjustments and promotions

Typically supervises managers and exempt professional or technical staff; may operate as an individual contributor

Span Of Control/Complexity
Corporate Roles: Directs a portion of a function that is typically not standardized with regard to policy and delivery across the company; System Roles: Directs a local sub-function; Typically manages managers and/or professional individual contributors; may also directly or indirectly manage support staff; Focus is generally on short-term (typically one year or less) plans and projects (which can also be segments of longer plans/projects)

Decision-Making Authority
May recommend/make decisions regarding existing or new programs/initiatives that have a significant impact to dept/subfunction and carry potential consequences if unsuccessful; significant decisions are subject to review & approval by a higher level director or officer
Financial Contributes to development of an operating plan and budget; Responsible for managing or coordinating expenses within a budget or part of a larger budget; Authorization Limits: Plan 1 – $250,000; Plan 2 – $50,000

Consequence Of Error Actions at this level can cause or prevent delays, inefficiencies or unnecessary expenses that measurably affect operational results; impact is typically limited to a program, department or subfunction

Typical Problems Solved
Problems usually defined by higher level leadership; Problems are moderately difficult to complex; Solutions require analysis and investigation

Core Functions
Manages operational plans and activities that result in accomplishing business strategies; Supervises, coordinates, provides leadership to and reviews the work of direct reports

Technical/Admin Work Performed
Almost fully focused on managing managers or supervisors or technical/professional contributors Or May direct a function without direct reports but provide oversight to a special group/project/vendor/external resources

Happy hunting!



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