Summer’s coming: Better step up your job hunt now

May 28, 2010 at 1:54 am Leave a comment

An email correspondent from way outside the Beltway writes in, asking if he should put his hopes of finding a D.C. area job on hold for a while, until the summer vacation season ends and hiring managers are again focused on filling jobs.

While it’s true that many D.C. folks try to get out of town for at least a week (and for plenty of long weekends) over the summer, my advice — based on my own experience and checking in with some D.C. area recruiters and managers — is that June through mid-July is still a pretty good time to job hunt here, as managers try to fill openings before the late-July/August slowdown. Here are some tips for summer hunting in the D.C. area:

*Expect plenty of stops and starts in the hiring process. With many organizations staggering managers’ vacation schedules, you may be asked to come back several times to meet with different managers. There may be even longer lags than usual between initial interviews and later ones, or between a final interview and an offer, as the hiring manager has to work around vacations and other summer distractions for approval of an offer. Don’t take it as a personal slight and don’t presume that your candidacy is off the table if you don’t hear back right away, especially the closer it gets to the August exodus from D.C.

*Politely but directly ask whether a posted position will be filled right away or whether it may be delayed. As always, at the end of an interview ask when you may expect to hear back — and then ask if that might be delayed by vacation schedules. This gives the hiring manager an opportunity to be honest with you about possible delays, and at least you have a better idea of what to expect.

*Keep at it while others fall out of the job market. Just as at Christmastime, if you “zig” while others “zag” you may score points with a hiring manager. While other job hunters head to the beach, figuring no one will be around to conduct interviews anyway, if you’re in town and available, you may slide right in. Hiring managers sometimes have extra time before long holiday weekends or when things are slower in Washington, and they may welcome the opportunity to conduct interviews or read through job hunters’ materials then. If you can come in for an interview right away, your candidacy may benefit — the hiring manager likely will be impressed by your availability and diligence. Summer slowdowns can be an especially good time to schedule informational interviews, as recruiters are not as busy then.

*Consider the types of organizations you’re targeting in your search. Many organizations connected to Congress — as well as the House and Senate, of course — shut down or significantly slow down for a good portion of August so your search probably wouldn’t advance there much late in the summer. Yet many businesses and media outlets in D.C. still are open (and most media still publish regularly!) throughout the summer, so they would still be likely to at least review your resume and other materials. Do some research to see whether the organizations you’re interested in are worth pursuing as the summer goes on.

*Don’t take too long of a break. Even if interviewing and hiring slows down in D.C. in the summer, you shouldn’t give up. It’s a good time to focus on gaining experience through free-lance or contract work (which is available year-round) and to take some courses and brush up on your skills. If you go on hiatus too long, it may be harder to jump back into a job hunt when hiring heats up again. So give yourself a summer break, but time it carefully.

*Check out an interesting piece in the Washington Post (and on about how the cumbersome process for applying for federal jobs is changing, but still cumbersome, and how it works through the eyes of fed-job consultants:

Cutting the red tape of federal hiring

*Here’s some fresh leads as we wrap up this work week:

*The Wonkette in D.C. has an opening for a political-comedy blogger but as they say on the site, read carefully before applying:

We will be adding a WASHINGTON DC daytime political-comedy blogger, someone who currently lives in Washington DC, the nation’s capital, home of The Capitol — and if you believe you are that person, send a note to Wonkette. Go ahead and direct us to a few samples if you already know how to do what it is that we do when we do it, here at Wonkette. And, as Josh already fills the required Wonkette Ginger Spot, try being something else, like a “Person of Color,” or “Female,” or “Not German.” This is NOT a full-time thing. You are never going to get rich or even “make a modest living” from blogging, sorry. What do you think this is, 2007?

Want to write for Wonkette?

*With a hat tip to (for these next several positions), Knowledge@Wharton, an online business journal published by the Univ. of Pa.’s Wharton School,  is looking for freelance writers:

Company: Knowledge@Wharton
Freelance Writers
Any, All Locations
Job Status: Freelance
Salary: Not Specified
Ad Expires:
July 1, 2010
Job ID: 1172667

Knowledge@Wharton, the online business journal published by the University of Pennsylvania’s Wharton School, is looking for freelancers to write for its global network of sites. The online magazine has 1.4 million subscribers to editions focused on the United States, Spain, Latin America, China, India and the Middle East.

We are looking for journalists with a nose for analysis and the ability to write clean, sharp, incisive copy about the events shaping business today. Successful applicants should have at least three years of experience writing for Western publications, in either business or in-depth journalism. Applicants interested in writing for our overseas editions must have specific experience and expertise in that region, or must currently reside there. Please do not apply if your background is in public relations, communications and marketing.

If interested, please send a resume, references and three recent, relevant work samples to Associate Editor Rachel Kipp at No phone calls please.

*The American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) in D.C. has a few openings, including one for an associate editor for a new interdisciplinary journal, Science Translational Medicine:

Company: American Association for the Advancement of
Associate Editor
Washington, District of Columbia
Job Status: Not Specified
Salary: Not Specified
Ad Expires:
July 1, 2010
Job ID: 1172760

Science and AAAS seek a talented scientist to serve as an Associate Editor for our new interdisciplinary journal, Science Translational Medicine.

This position is designed for an individual with broad interests, a lively curiosity, and experience with cutting-edge research in at least one, but preferably more than one, biomedical or clinical research field. To round out our editorial team, we would like our new Associate Editor to have expertise in immunology (vaccines and autoimmune disease especially welcome) or bioengineering (devices, tissue engineering and stem cells are areas of preference).

Responsibilities include, but are not limited to:

•Judge the scientific value of research; •Foster relationships and communication with the scientific community through literature reviews, meetings and professional contacts; •Manage the review, selection, and editing of submitted manuscripts; •Select reviewers for submitted manuscripts; •Discuss and make recommendations regarding manuscripts and reviews with other staff, advisors, authors; •Write summaries of research results for publication; •Guide authors on manuscript revisions; •Edit the manuscripts for scientific content and style before and after revisions; •Follow the manuscript through production process to ensure material is published in a timely manner; and •Travel to scientific meetings.

The minimum qualifications to be competitive and considered for the position are:

•Mastery of a professional field typically acquired through completion of a doctoral degree in at least one biomedical or clinical research field; •3-5 years experience, including post doctoral research experience and multiple publications; •Ability to work constructively as a member of a team; •Experience with cutting-edge research in one of the fields mentioned above; •Comprehensive knowledge of scientific research methods in order to discuss technical issues with authors; and •Exceptional written, communication, and listening skills in order to communicate with authors and reviewers in evaluating, editing and modifying manuscripts.

Previous editorial experience is not required.

*The National Journal Group in D.C. is looking for a graphics reporter/designer:

Company: National Journal Group
Graphics Reporter/Designer
Washington, District of Columbia
Job Status: Full-time
Salary: Not Specified
Ad Expires:
July 1, 2010
Job ID: 1172728

National Journal, a leading source of nonpartisan reporting on politics and policy in Washington, seeks a versatile graphics reporter/designer to join a team (3-4 individuals) responsible for creating interactive features for and providing information graphics, maps and charts across all National Journal-branded platforms, including its daily and weekly print publications.

This is a hybrid position for an ambitious visual journalist. In addition to producing graphics, the role offers opportunities for developing online, Flash-based features. Potential applicants should posses strong skills in research and reporting, have an interest in working with large amounts of data, and also have experience in news design or interactive graphics development.

The graphics reporter/designer’s responsibilities include:

  • Work closely with editors and reporters to identify potential graphics projects.
  • Collaborate with reporters on research and compilation of necessary data and source material.
  • Organize data and sketch potential concepts for both magazine and online presentation, working closely with editors and producers.
  • Produce graphics in fast-paced environment on deadline.
  • Create interactive Flash graphics for the Web site.
  • Help devise styles and templates for online and print graphics.
  • Work with multimedia producers on video and other multimedia projects by providing graphics support for banners, graphics or other design elements.
  • Create “cover page” designs for top stories on our web site.
  • Design special project landing pages on our web site for multimedia features and graphics.
  • Seek out and implement innovative visualization techniques to produce visually striking projects.

QUALIFICATIONS OF THE IDEAL CANDIDATE: The ideal candidate is someone with at least a year or two experience creating news-based information graphics for a magazine, newspaper or web site. This individual should be good with numbers, inquisitive, and interested in politics, government and new media technologies.

  • Familiarity with the following software: Illustrator, Photoshop, InDesign, Excel, and Flash. Experience with specialty mapping software, such as ArcView, or statistical analysis software would be a plus.
  • Experience with Adobe After Effects motion graphics software would be a big plus.
  • Experience with web design technologies such as HTML, CSS, Flash, Javascript, etc.

Please apply online at

Atlantic Media is an Equal Opportunity Employer.

*PBS in Arlington has an opening for a general manager for news and public affairs:

Company: PBS
General Manager
Arlington, Virginia
Job Status: Not Specified
Salary: Not Specified
Ad Expires:
June 29, 2010
Job ID: 1172132

PBS seeks talented candidates for General Manager – News and Public Affairs. PBS is taking huge steps across multiple platforms to reinvigorate public media and expand its reach with news and public affairs content. We are looking for a digital strategist to play a critical role in this effort by guiding the creation of a new digital service for public media and the public.

Our news GM will lead the product development and day-to-day operations of this new service. The ideal candidate will have significant experience working online, and a background that combines journalism and entrepreneurialism. There are many stakeholders for this project inside and outside of PBS, requiring the GM to be an excellent communicator and natural collaborator. And, as in any new venture, this role requires vision, hands-on effort, and an appetite for risk-taking.

Candidates must posses minimum 8 years of journalism experience – any medium; investigative and public affairs experience a plus; Minimum 6 years of experience working in digital media, including responsibility for site and product development; Bachelor’s degree in Journalism or related field, such as Communications, Public Affairs or History.

For a full job description and to apply, please visit our website at

PBS is an Equal Opportunity Employer

*And to wrap up today’s leads, the Pew Health Group, part of the Pew Charitable Trusts, has an opening in D.C. for a project manager for the food additives campaign. But before providing information on that position, here is a link that the communications folks at Pew have provided to the more than 20 openings they currently have in their D.C. office (where some transitioning journalists have found a happy home):

*And here is information specifically on the project manager position:

2010-2136 Project Manager, Food Additives Campaign Pew Health Group US-DC-Washington

Happy hunting, and have a good Memorial Day weekend! I’ll be back with you on Tuesday, June 1!!



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What to determine before you take a job How to Target Your Job Search

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