The D.C. Job Market: Good News and Bad News

There’s good news and not-so-good news in the D.C. job market these days. The good news is that there are a ton of jobs in DC. As I continue to add dozens of new job openings daily at my website (, I haven’t seen any downturn in openings; in fact, there’s probably been a slight upturn. Money Magazine recently listed DC in top three “Best Places to Find a Job” thanks to the government, defense, and nonprofit sectors. And while the unemployment rate here isn’t great (around six percent), we fare better than the national unemployment rate of nine percent.

The not-so-good news is that the positions are getting filled really quickly. Employers are receiving resumes from more than enough qualified candidates within days of posting openings. This is especially the case with internships and entry-level positions, which can be filled in as few as 24 hours.

What this means is that you need to submit your resume as soon as you see a lead and line up any networking connections you have for the position. Studies show that as much as 60 percent of the jobs available are filled through this process. The average American knows about 300 people. If you know 300 people and each of those people knows 300 people, you instantly have 90,000 potential contacts! If your father’s college roommate owns a business in the congressman’s district, see if he’ll call in your behalf. And if your new to the area and your network is on the slim side, do as many informational interviews as you can (and come to the Pink Slip parties!) to beef up your connections.

Second, explore the brave and wonderful new world of online social networking. It’s a great way to link up with like-minded people and expand your professional and personal network. Among the leading sites for professionals and job seekers: LinkedIn; Plaxo; Twitter (with Blog or LinkedIn URL); Facebook; Indeed.

Third, tighten up your resume. Keep it to a page. Keep it concise. Save the long explanations for the interview! And don’t forget to have two or three people proofread for you.

Fourth, plan your job search. Budget money and time and prepare to view it as a full-time job. Organize a work area and set up a message center to receive incoming calls; if you’re using an answering machine or voice mail, make sure your recorded message is clear and sounds professional. And always be prepared to give your “elevator speech”: Write a ‘one-minute commercial’ describing your skills and accomplishments. This is handy information to memorize so you can pull it out at a moment’s notice on the phone or in person.

Interested in more tips to improve your job search?

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