How Colleagues Can be Your Ticket to Jobs

June 23, 2010 at 11:43 am Leave a comment

One of the toughest parts of networking is determining where to spend that time and energy. We all know a lot of people — and the longer you’ve been working in a particular industry, the more you know — and it can be quite labor intensive to keep up with a lot of folks, especially in this era of social networking.

One could literally do nothing else all day but stay on top of email, instant and text messages, your Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter accounts, the Web sites and blogs of those in your network, and phone calls to your various numbers in between having coffee, lunch and drinks with contacts and then heading to a networking event or two! Who has time for actual work?

The trick is to figure out who will be some of your best career resources — those who are going to help you get jobs again and again — and focus your networking attention on them. One of the best pieces of advice I received from a well-networked mentor early in my career was to make it a priority to be a good colleague and then to stay in touch with co-workers as they move into other jobs. They are in a position not only to introduce you to others as they know you but more importantly they know your work — so their referral or recommendation is authentic and likely will be respected and can open doors.

Here are some tips on how your colleagues and former colleagues can be a ticket to jobs for you throughout your career:

*Keep them up to date on your work. Though former colleagues may be well-placed and happy to help, if it has been years since they worked with you they are not going to be as effective a referral as if they were a current fan of your work. So make them so. Target a few former co-workers to actively keep up with going forward and send them updates on your progress. Let them know as soon as you’ve changed jobs — or are looking for a new job — and send along updated contact information. Provide links to your recent articles or blog posts, encourage them to become a regular follower of your Web site or feeds and alert them when something important has happened in your career. Sending along material also provides a good avenue to stay in touch.

*Give, don’t only receive. It can’t be underscored enough — former colleagues, like everyone else, will be much more willing to pick up the phone on your behalf if you show up not only when you need something. When they ask for a favor, try to do what you can for them right away. And if you can’t help, tell them why (and right away) and offer assistance in another form. Be proactive about assisting former colleagues and also others they’re close with — and offer, don’t wait to be asked.

*Get them involved in your search. Don’t ask for a referral straight away, instead, seek their counsel about their organization (or one where they have an “in”) and their advice about whether an opening would be a good fit for you. Most people are only too happy to share their knowledge and to be considered an expert. When appropriate, ask former colleagues for advice about your job hunt and their impressions of what kinds of openings would be right for you. Then, when they are already involved and have a stake in your job search, it’s much easier to ask them to pass along your resume. At that point, they may even offer to do so.

*Think broadly. Don’t focus only on your boss or other highly placed colleagues when considering who may be helpful to you going forward. Try to forge positive relationships with as many co-workers as possible early and throughout your career. One friend who worked on the Hill for several years offers this advice: “Don’t be a jerk to the interns. You never know where they’ll end up a few years from now.” And she’s right — especially in Washington where one year’s low-level Hill staffer can end up in a key administration or committee job a few years down the road. Those in junior positions today may not be in those jobs for long, and they’ll likely remember those who were good to them and those who weren’t. And the same is true in journalism — some of my former reporters who appreciated that I helped them on the way up have been generous with their help later on, not only to me but to those who I was trying to assist, when they had moved into positions of importance.

*It bears repeating — a cover letter is an important tool in landing an interview, and targeting your cover letter to a particular job and hiring manager is key. Here are some tips courtesy of

Is Your Cover Letter Compelling?

*More fresh  leads today:

*CeManus in Alexandria has an opening for a vice president of membership and communications:

Vice President, Membership and Communications
CeManus, LLC – Alexandria, VA
The VP Marketing & Communications will play a pivotal… VP Membership & Communications will serve as a strategic membership development and communications leader…
From ASAE & The Center

*A D.C.  video production firm looking to expand its staff through the political campaign season has an opening for a senior producer/editor:

Senior Producer / Editor
Media Match – Washington, DC
regional marketplace. Description of ideal candidate: A skilled producer AND editor. Production responsibilities might include: leading clients through strategy… $40 – $65 an hour
From media-match

*Here’s an internship opportunity to pass along — the National Law Center on Homelessness and Poverty in D.C. is looking for a development and communications intern for the fall semester:

Fall Semester Development & Communications In
National Law Center on Homelessness & Poverty – Washington, DC
to the Development and Communications staff – Research innovative development strategies & analyze the efficacy of NLCHP communication tools Qualifications…

*Salem Communications in Arlington is looking for a production director:

Production Director
Salem Communications – Arlington, VA
Production Director Department: Production Location: Arlington, VA Contact Name: Tom Moyer Fax/Contact:

*Pass this along to a friend with Web design skills — Gensler in D.C. has an opening for a user experience/interaction designer:
User Experience/Interaction Designer
Gensler – Washington, DC
design of our spaces, services, products and communications. Key skills required… Conceptualize user… Products, Services, Communications… Concept…
From Gensler

*And to wrap up today’s leads — and with a hat tip to — the National Press Foundation in D.C. is seeking a digital media manager:

About National Press Foundation

The primary mission of the National Press Foundation is to increase journalists’ knowledge of complex issues in order to improve public understanding. The foundation recognizes and encourages excellence in journalism through its awards and programs.

View all our jobs

Job Description

The National Press Foundation seeks a Digital Media Manager responsible for its increasing new media work. The primary mission of the Washington-based National Press Foundation is to increase journalists’ knowledge of complex issues in order to improve public understanding. The non-profit foundation recognizes and encourages excellence in journalism through programs and  awards.


Serve as primary manager of NPF website:

– Post all content to NPF website; ensure content is accurate and kept up to date

– Format content including text, audio, video, PowerPoints, photos etc., for use on the website

– Manage user generated content on NPF website

– Monitor web traffic; prepare web traffic reports for NPF staff and board

– Work with NPF staff to design and implement online program applications

– Recommend and create new content for site in collaboration with NPF staff

Manage all digital resources from NPF programs:

– Collect/record media from NPF programs such as photos, Power Points, audio and video

– Work with NPF staff to develop media resource strategy prior to every program

– Set up computers, audio/visual recording prior to program start

– Be responsible for all NPF multimedia equipment

– Edit video, audio, and photos for use on NPF website; Create multimedia resources for journalists based on program content; Create NPF multimedia marketing materials

– Assist in teaching NPF fellows about digital media

– Coordinate technology for webinars


– Copy writing and editing as needed for external communications

– Keep track of trends and new developments in the field; propose ways to implement new technology concepts, ideas

– Work with NPF staff on implementing organizational branding, marketing and communication strategies

– Manage vendors as needed

– Other duties as assigned



– Bachelors degree; Two years work experience or equivalent

– Basic knowledge of HTML preferred

– Experience preferred with:  Microsoft Office, Adobe InDesign, Adobe Photoshop, Sony Vegas Movie Studio (or other comparable video editing software), Audacity (or other comparable audio editing software), flickr, youtube, wufoo, WebEx (or other webinar hosting), content management systems

– Experience with and knowledge of a/v equipment and digital recording

– Experience shooting and editing video/audio for internet distribution

– Experience creating short multimedia presentations for teaching and marketing purposes


– A self starter with strong attention to detail, creativity, ability to set priorities and meet deadlines

– Ability to work independently as well as cooperatively with other staff

– Must be resourceful and capable of learning new software and technologies quickly with little instruction

– Interest or knowledge of journalism and an overall interest in our mission of educating journalists around the world.

Domestic or international travel  required. Excellent benefits including 100% health care.  Salary 35-40k, BOE. NPF is an EEO organization. Send resume and cover letter to No calls. Position available August 2.

Happy hunting!



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