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Old 01-21-2010, 06:23 PM
 
429 posts, read 1,056,510 times
Reputation: 214

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So like...I feel lied to.

I've been told for almost two years that it was very easy to find work in DC, but I get here, and that's not the case at all. No one I know that works in DC has an easy time finding work.

I enjoy my internship and it's great, but the ultimate goal is to get a job. Why is it so hard to find work in DC? And please don't simply say that it's the recession.

I mean, what should I be doing to improve my job search? Is there a certain way to do it in DC?
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Old 01-22-2010, 09:29 AM
 
Location: Seminole, FL
532 posts, read 936,825 times
Reputation: 407
I know that you don't want to hear it, but it IS the recession. Now, luckily, DC wasn't hit nearly as hard as other areas of the country and there are still a fair amount of jobs here. However, you have to keep in mind that it still did hit so you have to compete with people that may have already been doing the job that you're applying to for several years. Just like anywhere in the country, you might have to consider working at a job that you consider "beneath" you for a time until things pick up again. For example, I have a friend that was a financial advisor for a big company (Morgan Stanley at one point, then he switched to another one but I forget which) that had to get a job as a bartender for a while. I'm not sure if he's still doing that or found something else.

Now, with that preface, there are jobs to be had. However, you neglected to mention what your field is, what experience you have, what your degree is, etc. It's pretty hard to help without this information. Also, keep in mind, this is DC. It is the nations capital and as such is filled with all kinds of political organizations and affiliations. Most of the work around here revolves around this in one way or another. It is extremely important to develop a network and find people to help you get the job. That's important everywhere, but especially in this town. Everyone knows someone who knows someone, etc., so if you don't, you're starting behind the eight-ball, especially right now. I know, I've gone through this as well, and as much as it frustrates me, it's the reality.
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Old 01-23-2010, 03:13 PM
 
67 posts, read 194,293 times
Reputation: 30
DC is currently one of the best job markets in the county. I remember hearing (about 6 months ago) that there were still more jobs than qualified applicants. The key being "qualified".
As the OP said, without information on your job field, can't really provide any details that would be relevant to you.
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Old 01-23-2010, 08:14 PM
 
429 posts, read 1,056,510 times
Reputation: 214
Well, I have a BA in political science. I have held three internships, including AIUSA, an environmental nonprofit and now an internship on the Hill. I have three years of administrative experience. I just don't get why I can't get any political/nonprofit jobs, let alone just plain old administrative work.

It's like EVERYONE in this town is more qualified than I am. And I get that it's a really big city with lots of qualified people. Fine. But people shouldn't say that it's easy to find a job here if you're a recent graduate, and then I get here, and I have nothing.
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Old 01-24-2010, 12:54 PM
 
446 posts, read 1,554,665 times
Reputation: 151
I sense a lot of frustration in your post, which is understandable. Looking for work, especially during a recession is hard to do.

If I were in your shoes I would do the following:

1) Contact several recruitment firms in the area. Look especially at firms that are based here in DC versus national ones in every town.
2) See if you can find someone (through the library, your university career center, etc.) to look at your resume. See if they can find ways for you to embellish it, etc.
3) Read some books on job hunting. Examine trends for young professionals.
4) Look at folks who have "the job" you want. See if you can trace their employment history. How did they get the job?

Networking is very important here.

Make sure you are taking care of yourself. Exercise. Eat healthy. Smile. I know this must sound cliche, but being fit, eating well and operating on eight hours of sleep can do wonders for our bodies. Find a volunteer group to join. You never know who you might meet while you are serving breakfast to the homeless at a shelter one Saturday morning.

Also, take some time out to focus on something totally non-job related. Go to the Smithsonian and take in a few exhibits. Have some coffee at Tryst in Adams Morgan and watch the people. Go to Gravelly Point in Virginia and watch the planes land.

I wish you the best of luck in your search. You will find something I'm sure.
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Old 01-25-2010, 07:02 AM
 
Location: Seminole, FL
532 posts, read 936,825 times
Reputation: 407
It sounds like you have pretty good experience for a newbie and will eventually find yourself something if you work hard at it. Also, FWIW, in this economy a paid internship is as good as a job.

NPOs and associations are pretty difficult to break into right now. I work for a company that deals with associations a lot, and their performance usually lags the economy by about a year. So a lot of them have just recently been feeling the impact of the recession. There are very few that are hiring right now, and many have had to lay people off. I wouldn't expect much to be opening up for roughly a year or so either due to the lag factor.

Government applications take forever to go through. It can take up to a year just to get a response. A 2 or 3 month turnaround time from the government is fast. You have to be prepared for that. Fill out a bunch of their applications and find something else in the meantime. If you apply to jobs that are appropriate for you then you should eventually get a response. Don't bother applying for something that you're not explicitly qualified for though. If the job posting mentions a skill or experience as being required and you don't have it they can't bend the rules as easily as a private company. That would show favoritism and open the flood gates for lawsuits and complaints from the unions. Also, keep in mind that everyone wants a government job right now. Job security is at a premium and there's few jobs more secure than getting into the government unions.

You may have more luck with applying to a government contractor. They can do things much more quickly and flexibly than the actual government can. The problem here is that you really need to know someone to help get you in. Expand and work your networks.

Other than that, you can always try the temp route.

All the suggestions the poster above me made are great too. You need to be going into interviews looking good, healthy, and upbeat, especially with the types of jobs you're looking for.
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Old 01-27-2010, 07:58 AM
 
123 posts, read 474,456 times
Reputation: 96
Quote:
Originally Posted by NewGrad2009 View Post
Well, I have a BA in political science. I have held three internships, including AIUSA, an environmental nonprofit and now an internship on the Hill. I have three years of administrative experience. I just don't get why I can't get any political/nonprofit jobs, let alone just plain old administrative work.

It's like EVERYONE in this town is more qualified than I am. And I get that it's a really big city with lots of qualified people. Fine. But people shouldn't say that it's easy to find a job here if you're a recent graduate, and then I get here, and I have nothing.

Just because they may be more qualified than you, doesn't mean they are a good fit for the job. You should erase that notion from your mind or you will lose confidence in yourself. In todays job market you have to stage yourself, just like homeowners do when selling their homes. I'm from North Carolina originally and many, many years ago I used to use that to my advantage hoping one day I'll run into someone already established from the same state that I could network with. Well, it happened one day while I was temping with the Ralph Nadar non-porfit organization (public citizens) when I came across a fellow North Carolinian that gave me a lead for a Law Firm job. In a nut shell OP, I'm saying its ok to get discourage, but don't give up. gl.....

Last edited by Yac; 01-28-2010 at 12:47 AM..
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