Ways to Simplify Your Search

July 15, 2010 at 11:28 am Leave a comment

An email correspondent wrote the other day asking: “How do I get control of my job search? I feel like it’s getting away from me and becoming a mess. I know I’m overthinking things, but it’s hard not to as a journalist, and I worry that my frustration is showing. Be a friend and tell me what to do.”

This is a common problem — as educated (and sometimes overeducated!) professionals, we tend to overthink things and sometimes complicate what doesn’t need to be made complex. And especially if you’ve been hunting for a job for a while, you end up with a lot of leads, dead ends and contacts, and it can be difficult to sort through all of that to figure out what next steps to take.

So, in the spirit of keeping it simple, here are a few straightforward tips about simplifying your job search:

*Target where you want to work. There’s nothing more important than this in a search. If you’re just jumping from opening to opening and applying for a variety of positions, willy-nilly, with no guiding plan, your job hunt will end up as a tangled mess. That doesn’t mean picking only one or two places, as in a competitive market you’ve got to give yourself some options. But you should decide on a half dozen to no more than a dozen organizations you want to target, and then focus your efforts on getting your resume to decision makers there, snaring interviews and moving along in their hiring process. You’ll waste much less time and effort with this approach than you would applying for whatever seems enticing at the moment.

*Make every phone call and contact count. Diligently conduct research before each job-hunt phone call, meeting or interview so that you know as much as you can about the person and organization, and so that you can make your best case for your fitness for this  job. If you tend to get nervous, write a mini-script you can follow on the phone, or that you can study on the Metro before a job interview. This attention to detail will  help you stay focused.

*Pick a few trusted advisers and listen to them. Everyone seems to be an expert in getting a job — even those who haven’t had to look for one in years! Just as with any other endeavor, there’s a lot of noise on the Web and via social-networking about job hunting. And well-meaning friends and family members also want to weigh in, even though their tips are often hogwash. Figure out what sites and blogs make sense for you to follow and who in your circle you want to trust for job-hunting advice and support. Then shut out the rest, and don’t complicate your search with advice that’s not directly relevant to you.

*Keeping it real while making it brief isn’t so easy. Here’s a nice little primer from variety.com (via paidcontent.org) about being funny while tweeting — and it has some good advice about making your Twitter posts stand out even if they don’t turn out to be all that humorous:

How to be funny in 140 characters or less. [Variety]

*And check out these leads — contributed today by a number of you; please keep those contributions coming, it really is a community effort:

*Cadmus Publisher Services Group — which is part of the scientific, technical and medical publishing world — has an opening for a director of editorial services in its Columbia, Md., office:

Director – Editorial Services
Cadmus Communications, a Cenveo Company – Columbia, MD
community; interacts with authors, editors, task forces, and editorial boards; builds relationships and effective communications with editorial/journal office…
From HotJobs

*The U.S. Institute of Peace in D.C. is looking for a vice president for outreach and communication:

Vice President for Outreach & Communication
U.S. Institute of Peace – Washington, DC
conflict management. Training on conflict management… implementation. Oversee the Public Affairs & Communications, Publications, and Library departments, and…
From Foreign Policy Association

*A Wider Circle in Silver Spring has an opening for a marketing coordinator — this could be a good opportunity for a new graduate looking to get some experience:


*The U.N. Foundation in D.C. (still) needs a Web producer/project manager — some transitioning journalists have landed well here:


*This nearby opening is listed on a site –politicaljobhunt.com, which I’ll plug as I provide much of the content there — Larry Sabato’s Center for Politics at the University of Virginia has an opening for a political analyst:

Seeking a nonpartisan political analyst to cover U.S. House, Senate, and governor campaigns and elections for a prominent political website and e-mail newsletter. Excellent writing and analytical skills required. Must be passionate enough about politics to be immersed in it full-time and unbiased enough to present a fair perspective to our readers. Backgrounds in political journalism, academia, campaigns, or on Capitol Hill could all make for strong candidates. Media relations or website management skills or experience would be a plus.

If you’re interested, please email isaac@virginia.edu. The salary range is $40-60k.

(and you can check out more political jobs there:

*Here’s an interesting contract opportunity  — HouseLogic, a homeownership site, is looking for an editor/blogger (they can work from anywhere):

If you’ve got proven blogging chops in the home improvement category, can write and edit engagingly about the systems and structures that make up a home, and can make your voice heard in the crowded home improvement space, HouseLogic would like to hear from you.

Yup, we want to see your resume, clips, and a link to your blog, but to really showcase your skills, please submit two fully baked sample blog entries that you believe represent appropriate topics for the HouseLogic audience. (You won’t find a blog at our site. We want to see what style and substance you can bring to our team!)

FBers, tweeters, bloggers encouraged to apply. Professional editing and writing experience required. Applicants can be based anywhere in continental U.S.



  • Daily blogging for HouseLogic
  • Uncover the stories, trends, and news that will connect with smart homeowners
  • React quickly to get home improvement and homeownership “news” into the blogosphere
  • Develop topic ideas and document components of content down to the granular level
  • Make buttoned-up assignments to freelancer writers in the home improvement space
  • Manage, edit, recruit freelancer writers
  • Substantive editing of content for voice, tone, clarity and point of view
  • Fact check hard data against sources provided by writers
  • Edit for keywords and a controlled vocabulary
  • Keep editorial calendar up to date
  • Audit and report QA on a regular basis, alerting content manager of problems
  • Meet deadlines
  • Provide regular updates to site content manager
  • Work with the Content Manager and other editor(s) to accomplish business goals


  • Excellent writer who can write engaging content for the web, including blog-style
  • In-depth knowledge of the home improvement industry
  • Enterprise reporting and researching skills: You’re on top of what’s happening in the home improvement space
  • Blog software proficiency
  • Substantive editing
  • Freelance writer management
  • Understanding of SEO and social media
  • Photo and video skills (and the software to make photos and video web ready)
  • Understanding of what makes for a good user experience on the web
  • Experience working in content management systems
  • Knowledge and understanding of general web applications. Must be an avid web user.
  • Familiarity with Search Engine Optimization techniques
  • Knowledge of AP Style


•  Multi-tasking

•  Self-directed

•  Organized

•  Deadline oriented

•  Able to provide clear direction

•  Detail-oriented


Ability to work 30 hours or more per week


Please submit 2 blog samples specifically for HouseLogic, a resume, clips, a cover letter, and a link to your blog, along with rate expectations to CHoffmann@realtors.org. (We will not use your blog samples without your permission.)

*And to wrap up today’s leads, Enable America has two openings in Bethesda: for a strategic communications director and for a managing editor of electronic media; I’ve included one listing below but except for a few details, the descriptions are similar:

Enable America is seeking a Strategic Communications Director in the Bethesda, MD area that will lead the development and direct the implementation of external and internal communications for a growing medical establishment in a military environment.  The Strategic Communications Director must work closely with the staff to analyze current communications initiatives, determine and execute communications priorities, and direct staff as necessary to accomplish assigned missions.  This position requires an experienced communications professional who can work in a regimented environment, with the ability to manage multiple tasks.  Strategic communications experience in military and/or medical fields preferred.  The person selected for this contract position will demonstrate strong electronic media skills and possess good critical thinking, decision making and interpersonal skills.

Reporting Structure:

This position reports to the Chief Operating Officer and will interface daily and directly with the client and its associates, both editorially and technically.

Essential responsibilities/duties include but are not limited to:

  • Develop messaging strategy in connection with priorities of the mission.
  • Create internal communications platform and coordinate implementation
  • Oversee internal and external web sites, directing content development on web and social media social media platforms.
  • Coordinate public appearances in town hall forum discussions.
  • Consult with management and reviews technology, equipment to determine optimum time frame, funding, and procedures for accomplishing project results.
  • Lead the development of technical solutions and problem solving.
  • Interface with internal and external clients, military members, and military civilian personnel.
  • Develop project plans by specifying
    • goals, strategy, outlays of the client’s needs and requests
    • formulate and define technical scope and objectives of project
    • identify and schedule project deliverables
    • direct and coordinate activities of  technical project personnel to ensure project progresses on schedule and within budget
  • Assist field personnel in problem solving efforts, as needed

Requirements include:

  • Bachelor’s degree.
  • Strategic Communications Director leadership experience, three years minimum.
  • Military and/or medical background strongly preferred.
  • Ability to obtain a security clearance.
  • Working knowledge of MS Office, Word, PowerPoint, Excel, Outlook, and Web browsers.
  • Must be able to manage and monitor multiple tasks.
  • Excellent oral and written communications skills a must, including high level proofreading.
  • High aptitude for conventional and social media streams.
  • Must possess calm demeanor and able to perform under pressure, and within time constraints.
  • Maintain professional standards of performance, demeanor and appearance at all times.
  • Maintain a creative, team oriented, cooperative approach to job performance and seek to bring a constructive, problem-solving orientation to all tasks.
  • Exercise discretion and professional judgment at all times while maintaining the strictest of confidence.
  • Collaborate well with organizations and promote collective action.
  • Strategically manage social networks and communications.

Enable America offers an excellent benefits package that includes medical and 401-k with an excellent matching program.

To apply, please send resume and supporting material to Chris.Jadick@enableamerica.org.


Good luck on the hunt!



Entry filed under: Uncategorized.

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