Dear Miss A,
I’ve just stumbled upon your website and realized how much we have in common! I too am a Republican from the South ( Florida to be exact) with a love of jewelry, animals and supporting charitable causes. However, I wanted to ask you a question.
After living in London for the past year, I have struggled to find work once I returned to this side of the Atlantic . Actually, the word “struggled” is an understatement. I’ve been searching for jobs in 4 different states and am still coming up empty handed. Which ones? Georgia , New York , Connecticut and Florida to be exact.
I realize a major part of landing a job is based off networking and who you know. However, while I was in Atlanta , a family friend (who is the CCO and president of a large global advertising firm) gave me several of her colleagues’ contact information. Their response? “We’d love to have you….if we had the money!”
Miss A, needless to say I am incredibly frustrated. Several of my college friends have moved to DC and while they gave me some great contacts, they are all based in the legal profession. Washington seems to be one of the more stable cities in the US in lieu of the recession and have designated it as another place to get a job. After looking at your blog, I noticed that you too are in the marketing/public relations/communications field and would like to know if you could steer me in the right direction? Do you know of any organizations (government, non-profit and/or companies) that are even remotely interested? Honestly, I’d appreciate any sort of help and information you could swing my way. As for where I am located now, I’m preparing to stay with my friend in Arlington as I give employment another try.The experience I have is more on the entry-level side with about a little more than a year’s experience under my belt.
Thank you for taking the time to read this email as well as any help you may have on my job search.
Looking forward to hearing from you!
Unemployed in D.C.
Dear Unemployed in D.C.,
Thank you so much for emailing me. Yes, it seems we do have a lot in common. I think you were smart to move to the Washington area, it’s an exciting place to live and as you mentioned our local economy is more stable. Having said that, I’ve met a bunch of folks at my Pink Slip Parties who are out of work, and looking to find another job in Marketing, Advertising, and Public Relations. In this economy, unless your position generates revenue for your company, your job may be in jeopardy.
I actually got tired of having to be dependent on employers, and realized I needed income — not a job. You may consider starting your own consulting business, as I have done, but I know that’s hard to do when you are new to town and don’t have many contacts. I sent your question to my friend, and Washington Legend, Brad Traverse. I highly recommend those seeking jobs get on his email distribution list, as he always has the most updated inside knowlege on job openings in the area. His list has been cited as a leading source for job leads by The Washington Post, Politico, the Public Affairs Council, Women in Government Relations and others.
Here is the advice Brad has for you:
First of all, welcome to Washington! Not only do I wish you much success in your job search, but I hope you will also enjoy all the great things our city has to offer to fill your nightlife and weekends.
You’re absolutely correct that DC is a great place to look for a job and the field of communications and P.R. is no exception. The key is to focus your search as much as possible. For example, you’re interested in animals and just today I posted a lead that the National Geographic Society has a variety of internship and entry-level openings. Check out their website for the full listing. Conservative? Target nonprofits that lean right or Republican officials seeking elected office. Love kids? Find the groups that advocate on behalf of children and families. Concerned about the environment? There are dozens and dozens of nonprofit organizations hiring right now. I have added many of these openings on my website in just the past few days.
Registering on the USA Jobs website is a good starting point if you have an interest in federal government jobs, and the application process will help you focus on your strengths and find your niche in the federal system. On Capitol Hill, look for press assistant leads, but also consider staff assistant or scheduler positions to get your foot in the door.
While you are looking for that dream job, don’t be afraid to take on an internship, even if it’s only a few days a week. Working for free (although some lucky interns are paid) may not sound ideal at this point, but it is a great way to make connections and keep yourself busy and in the work environment.
Finally, as frustrating as your experience was in Atlanta, don’t give up on your networking opportunities! Making those contacts isn’t primarily about asking each person for a job. It’s simply a matter of getting to know a company a little better and asking questions to see if it’s an industry that is a good fit for you. The big “ask” at the end of the conversation shouldn’t necessarily be, “Can you hire me?” Instead try, “Do you know anyone who is looking for someone with my experience?” Take those leads and keep going! It will work out, I promise!
Brad and I wish you the best! Come meet Brad and me at my Pink Slip Party at Lotus Lounge, 1420 K Street, NW, Washington, DC 20005 this Thursday from 5 – 8 pm. Absolut is sponsoring an open bar on their cocktails from 5 – 6pm, so come early!
– Miss A