How to Take Advantage of a Hiring Uptick

July 1, 2010 at 11:44 am 1 comment

The signs are all around that hiring is picking up — even for journalism positions. Many organizations cut way too deeply during the layoff craze of the past few years and others are finally expanding again after years of getting by with barebone staffs. More start-ups are staffing up and some organizations are finding ways to extend their “brand” into new areas — requiring new staff.

Still, the unemployment rate remains high (even in the metro D.C. area, by historical standards) and consequently, there is a great deal of competition for these new openings. And when hiring picks it has the effect of raising the level of competition further as some discouraged job seekers who had stopped looking as well as some employed folks who felt it wasn’t a good time to look previously join in the hunt.

So amid these fresh signs of possibility but also of a crowded market, how do you take advantage of the uptick? Here are some strategies to consider:

*Get back in touch with companies you had contacted previously. A lot may have changed since you were talking with an organization, even if it was only a few months ago. Some companies that were merely dipping a toe into the hiring waters earlier this year may be jumping in with full force now. And some of the people they hired a year or so ago may have already left for greener pastures or could have moved on to another position in the organization; things are pretty fluid these days. So if you were a candidate for a position you didn’t get but the hiring manager appeared to be impressed by you (and especially if they suggested you keep in touch) it could be a good time to tap that connection. And remember, with all the competition out there, many hiring managers remain loathe to widely post openings — so if you get your resume before them just as a job pops up, your timing could be fortuitous.

*If employed, have a chat with higher-ups in your organization. There may be new possibilities where you work. While a year ago the mantra from managers at many area companies — esp. in media — was “you’re lucky to have that job; quit whining,” today things could be very different. Particularly if your company had deep staff cuts and reorganized (and if the reorganization was badly handled, which many were) others may have left in the meantime, translating to some prime opportunities in your own company. And if you were a trooper and took on more work and responsibility during the roller-coaster ride, it could be a good time to receive some reward for that. Also, managers are often frustrated when a valued employee comes to them with an offer and gives them only a few days to match it or they’re gone. If you enjoy working at your company but want a better job, give them a chance — and a reasonable time frame — to find you something else there. (Meanwhile, there’s nothing to prevent you from conducting a quiet search outside your company at the same time.)

*Check out job listings in a targeted way. The hiring uptick means there are new listings, especially for start-ups that often list all their openings to attract a wide pool of applicants. As always, view listings on job boards and elsewhere — including dcworks leads! — as a tip sheet to give you an idea of who is hiring and for what kind of jobs. If you haven’t paid close attention to listings in a while, it’s a good time to do so as there are a bunch of new ones. Yet don’t just blindly apply for jobs, research the listings to find a few organizations you want to target, and then network like crazy to get your resume in the hands of hiring managers and recruiters at those places.

*Tap your network with an eye to fresh possibilities. This is why hiring experts emphasize the importance of maintaining a strong network. If your network is in shape, now would be a great time to contact people at organizations with fresh openings to let them know that the uptick has energized you to start, restart or reinvigorate a search. Ask your contacts at organizations in which you have a renewed interest to let you know what they’re looking for in candidates for their new positions. And if you’ve let your network get a bit stale, you’ll want to spend some time and energy making new contacts — but first, decide where you want to target your search, so you can then focus your networking efforts among those who could be most effective in helping you get inside those organizations.

*Sometimes you come across a useful  — and fun — online tool; here’s a new one! Political blogger Taegan Goddard has launched an online political dictionary. I got a kick out of the pitch for it —

You’re a political junkie but do you know much about aardvarkingdog whistle politics and Yellow Dog Democrats? Do you know how the terms smoke-filled roomdark horse and trial balloon came to be used in politics?

And here’s the link:

Also, a reminder that I partner with Taegan in providing content to — it could be an especially useful site for those whose career ambitions include jobs on the Hill and in politics. We post weekdays; check it out at:

*Here’s some fresh leads to check out:

*The Food and Drug Administration in Rockville, part of HHS, has an opening for a director of health communication and education:

Director of Health Communication and Education, CTP
Health & Human Services, Food and Drug Administration (FDA) – Rockville, MD
Director of Health Communication and Education (HCE… Health Communication and Education directs the Center’s major public education strategies, communications… $119,554 – $179,700 a year

*Blackboard Inc. in D.C. is looking for a senior manager of public relations:

Senior Manager, Public Relations
Blackboard, Inc. – Washington, DC
to add a key player to its Public Relations/communications team to help manage key relationships and lead… verbal and written communications skills Excellent…
From Blackboard, Inc

*The IRS has an opening in D.C. for a public affairs specialist:
Treasury, Internal Revenue Service (IRS) – Washington, DC
of information and communications programs. Back to… competencies: Communications and Media: Knowledge of the production, communication and dissemination of… $105,211 a year
From Internal Revenue Service

*Hunt Alternatives Fund in D.C. has several openings that could be interesting to transitioning journalists and other professionals, including for an advocate and congressional liaison for the Institute for Inclusive Security:

*The Medill School of Journalism’s (part of Northwestern University) National Security Journalism Initiative in D.C. is looking for a freelance, part-time Web producer:

In need of a part-time freelance Web producer for, the
Medill National Security Journalism Initiative’s website. The producer
will update the calendar, write short stories for the site and create
useful links for material related to top stories of the day. The
producer also will update and expand the resources page.
Hourly rate of $17; 15-20 hours per week.

If interested, please send resume to Salome Angrand,

*With a hat tip to and wrapping up today’s leads today, the American Enterprise Institute (AEI) in D.C. has an opening for a video editor/producer:

Job Description

The American Enterprise Institute is building a robust production environment within their offices in downtown DC. This will include new studio space, HD-capable cameras, and a new edit suite with state-of-the art equipment.
We are looking for an individual who wants to get in on the ground floor of this effort as an editor/producer, to be an integral member of the team who helps us create new video products for the web and for distribution throughout the traditional and the social networking world. An awareness and interest in the issues AEI covers is a big plus ( since the successful candidate will also enjoy some editorial leeway commensurate with his/her abilities. AEI offers the ability to be exposed to original scholarship from some of the best scholars in economics, foreign policy, healthcare, and education to name a few.
This is an ideal job for the person who is highly organized, enjoys learning about a variety of topics, is comfortable strategizing about efficient systems and workflows, and is comfortable taking responsibility for a critical area of the organization.
Please submit an online application to, complete with a cover letter and resume. (Work samples will be requested at a later time.)

Happy hunting!



Entry filed under: Uncategorized.

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1 Comment Add your own

  • 1. Daniel Stuhlman  |  July 2, 2010 at 5:54 pm

    I have found that networking does not help one get a job. I applied to a library where I knew people who worked there and they couldn’t help. In another job I knew the head librarian and she wanted to hire me, but the vice president had the hiring authority. The person who would be the immediate supervisor had no input in the hiring process.

    Hiring practices in libraries and academia must be very different than businesses. In academia hiring is by committee and that means no one want to commit to a firm decision.


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