Brad Traverse joins us for a Cloakroom Q&A, Friday June 17th at 3:00pm EST. In order to help Cloakroomers prep for his visit, Mr. Traverse, wrote us a brief primer on his career path to becoming the King of Hill jobs.
Hi, I’m Brad Traverse, President of the Brad Traverse Group, the most comprehensive resource for anyone seeking a job on and off the Hill in the fields of government relations, public policy and affairs, PR, communications, and political campaigns. I’d like to talk today about getting a policy or PR job on or off the Hill: the importance of networking, resume review and social media assessment.
So my path – and it’s a fairly typical one – started on Capitol Hill. I worked for two different senators on a variety of issues, starting at the bottom and worked my way up. After leaving the Hill, I lobbied for John Deere then at 2 lobbying shops where I began my focus on healthcare issues. I was the executive director of specialty hospital association, which was probably one of my favorite and most interesting jobs. And that led me eventually to run the DC office of BCBS of TN.
I started compiling job leads more than 20 years ago as a way to connect my job-hunting friends with employee-seeking colleagues and share unpublished leads. Originally sent as a weekly email, the number of subscribers and leads grew and grew until it became impossible to manage by webmail. In 2006, I created bradtraverse.com which has more than 4,000 leads no more than two months old. I run the business with my wife Fraser, who handles the customer service, technology and book-keeping side of things.
In any job search, networking is key. There are arguments over the statistics about how many jobs are filled through networking, but the number is very high, so you have to spend a lot of time doing it. Networking can get your resume moved to the top of the pile, it can get you a lead on an unpublished job, and it can mostly help you get a job years from now. Of my 7 jobs in DC: 2 were from Roll Call ads (No BTG back then); one from resume drop off at reception desk; one from college friend referral; one from beach house referral; two from friend/colleague referral.
I will encourage you to keep careful track of your network, as well as the jobs you apply to – keep contact info, when you were in touch, how they offered to help, advice they gave, and one or two personal things about the person so you can, say, ask about their kids when you cross paths again. And keep a list of your network and personal contacts and categorize that list into a system that measures their influence and how much they might be willing to do for you.