@brad.traverse: Hi, I'm Brad Traverse of BradTraverse.com, the most comprehensive resource for politicos seeking jobs on and off the Hill. I'd like to talk today about getting a policy or PR job: the importance of networking, resume review & social media assessment.
@wales215: What do you think of "District Day Book?” Fair and relevant competition is great, but this guy simply copies and pastes my hard work and posts it on his site. And he doesn't even say who he is or why he is qualified to run a job board. I have many complaints from employers who post to me that he's re-posting on his site. Without attribution.
@thurmond.moses: When will the mass exodus of people leaving their jobs occur? I'm looking to make a move once everyone's gone. I think folks are still in a "wait and see" mode right now. In terms of a new Congress, that won't happen until February. Typically I think many new Members take on campaign staff at least for the first six months or so. As for new Administration staff, vetting starts in November.
@webb.mcgrath: I have the drive, but for a super introverted person like myself who has a hard time approaching people for networking, do you have any suggestions? I know the easiest answer is "just gotta do it"... looking for some other tips. A lot of networking can be done electronically via Twitter, LinkedIn, email, etc. I've often given advice by email or through LinkedIn because my schedule is usually too busy for in-person meetings. So if you want to call and make the personal contact, and then suggest asking questions via email, you will still get some good advice I bet.
@wright.pike: At what point in your career do "informational interviews" become “coffees”? Seems to me they are often one and the same. Most of my informational interviews ARE coffees.
@hillarwho: Is running BradTraverse.com your full time job? The website is a technically a side business but it sucks up most of what little free time I have. My full time job is federal lobbyist for an insurance company. Let's call it a labor of love.
@iraqi.tobaccy: What's better form these days, thank you emails or handwritten letters after a good interview? Nothing beats a handwritten note. Period. It's time consuming but sends the message that you are thoughtful and appreciative. Gives you a chance to personalize your response. People so rarely do them, so when I receive one, I remember that person.
@poudini: Is securing a committee job all networking? They are rarely posted it seems. Pretty much. You really need to be on the inside to get a committee or senior staff slot.
Decide on the ONE committee you want to work for and focus all of your networking there. Who do you know that knows someone who works there or knows a committee member, what connection do you have (college, family member, high school, church) to the chairman or an active Member.
@rowdy.tfm: Have you thought about adding a section for entry positions rather than mixing entry with 3-5 or etc.? That's probably a good idea, but I honestly just don't have the time to code jobs beyond my current categories.
@wholistic.thinker: If you got an advanced degree, how long do you have to get a job in that degree field before people will question you can do that line of work? It depends on the degree. If it's a specialized degree, it takes a few years. But if it's a more general degree like an MBA or JD, you can generally jump right in.
@standrews2017: Is there a path for former interns getting hired as staffers immediately after graduation? Keep in close contact with the office you interned for so that you stay at the front of their mind if a job need shows up there. Phone calls, emails, organized HHs or lunches. And consider a second internship. I am starting to hear that two is minimum.
@spending289: Do Hill offices ever reach out to you for resumes of people you personally can vouch for? Sometimes. I've also been asked to do actual headhunting for employers. But, again, it's a time issue at this point.
@jr.hebert: Hi Brad, thanks for being here. Any amazing stories you can tell us of interviews or job applications gone wrong? Confession from my wife Fraser who helps me run the job board: She keeps an email folder of funny cover letters we've received from people so when she's having a long day she can have a good laugh. Example: "hello sir i am a pr professional .... is dr any vaccany in ur organization?" I'm not making this stuff up.
@congressionaldm: I was also wondering when the best time to apply for new jobs after the current election would be? In your experience, do you find it easier to get a job in freshman or incumbent offices immediately after an election, and what are some major differences between interviewing with the two? Thanks! As I mentioned earlier, freshmen often cull from their campaign staff for first six months, then hire the pros. For incumbents, policy knowledge and experience are key. For freshmen, district connections perhaps more so.
@spending289: How do you respond to people who say that it's next to impossible to get the job after its posted on BradTraverse due to the overwhelming volume such postings receive? That’s a great question. You absolutely still need to apply to jobs that are high volume because you never know what is going to catch the eye of the employer. Apply as quickly as you can, but always apply. No-one will bother posting a job publicly if they aren't interested in seeing who's out there.
@turner.johnson: I apply to a lot of jobs through your site. I don't hear back from those jobs too often. Any tips on how to stand out? Drop your name in the cover letter? Find those one, two or three jobs you MUST have and are well-qualified for, and put on the hard press. Pinpoint someone in your network who can influence or impress the employer and ask them to weigh in for you by sending your resume and a glowing "you're a fool not to hire this person" note. But use those people sparingly. You can't go to that well too often.
@atherton319: Has your jobs site helped your career as a lobbyist? My name recognition is high because of the job board, but I like to think my knowledge of healthcare issues trumps my celebrity factor. Not to mention my charm and winning personality and rugged good looks.
@cobb.platt: Since the jobs are limited here, do I keep trying to land the one that I really want or should I just take anything I can get? What are the pros and cons in your opinion? Thanks for doing this btw! Generally I would say take what you can get. The caveat is not to compromise your principles in doing so. Be sure you can support the member's positions enthusiastically. And you come out it with a reputation for handling a tough situation, having run the gauntlet.
@brad.traverse: Thanks for all the great questions. I have to go post some jobs now.