Congress's List: Staffers take networking online to help job seekers

The Hill
By Debbie Siegelbaum
January 23, 2012

Brad Traverse knows how hard it is to find a job on Capitol Hill.

The lobbyist first came to Washington in the mid-1980s as a congressional intern, moving his way up to legislative coordinator for then-Sen. Barry Goldwater (R-Ariz.), then later as a legislative assistant for then-Sen. Nancy Kassebaum (R-Kan.).

But outgoing employers left him scrambling for work.

“I’ve worked for two senators who retired,” he said. “Like anybody in this town, we’ve all been without a job … I’ve been out there and I know how difficult it is.”

It’s that experience that spurred him to begin sending out job leads to friends and colleagues via email in the mid-1990s. Soon Traverse was compiling a weekly list of job opportunities that would span 30 pages and go out to 1,500 people on a listserv.

Given slow Internet speeds and email limitations at the time, it would take Traverse an average of four hours to send out the job leads.

“Eventually, to make it more user-friendly and to justify the time, I went viral on it in 2006,” he said. “That’s when I made it Web-based and subscription-based.”

Today, has grown into one of the most popular Internet job boards in Washington, with more than 3,000 listings and up to 1,000 visitors a day.

Brad and his wife, Fraser, run the website, charging a $5-a-month subscription fee to cover expenses.

“I just did it as a service for friends and colleagues,” said Traverse, recalling the humble origins of his expanding enterprise.

“I started it because, like a lot of people who had worked on the Hill, you’d get phone calls from folks who would say, ‘My brother just graduated from college — can you visit with him and help him find a job?’ ” he said. “And I was like, ‘I don’t know what I can tell him.’ So I started putting together this list so that when people asked that question or asked my friends that question, they could just say, ‘Here, here’s a bunch of jobs that are available.’ ”

To read the online story, click here.

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