Help wanted? Look for one GOP staffer on Facebook

A quick browse of the ads section on the popular social-networking website Facebook turns up advertisements for workout regimens, credit scores, hip-hop albums and congressional staffers.

Wait — congressional staffers? That’s exactly the reaction Yonnick Hammond, a former Republican National Committee (RNC) staffer and legislative assistant to Rep. Henry Brown Jr. (R-S.C.) who posted the ad, wants to elicit.

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At first glance, Hammond appears to be like any prospective Capitol Hill staffer: 23 years old, well-dressed and eager to display a strong understanding of today’s political scene. But that just may be his problem. After losing his job at the RNC in mid-February, Hammond has been unsuccessful in finding employment in the one arena where he truly wants to work — Capitol Hill.

So Hammond decided to try something different, something to set him apart from the interchangeable candidates for the small number of Republican staffer positions. That’s where the Facebook ad comes in.

“The standard methods of looking for a job just weren’t cutting it,” Hammond said. “Three months of unemployment, parents hassling every time I talked with them. I sat down and thought about what I could do. I thought about something that would be creative and that took advantage of skills I already have.”

The ad, which Hammond says took him only 20 minutes to create, features a picture of him under the headline “Need a Hill Staffer?” The text reads like a standard solicitation: “My name is Yonnick and I want a job on the Hill. I have Hill experience and a strong hold on New Media. How can I help YOU? click here!”

Clicking on the ad brings you to Hammond’s profile page on Facebook, which features his résumé and writing samples.

“It’s not free, but it is very cost-effective,” Hammond said. “You can buy an ad for a penny; right now I’m running up to 25 cents per click, which is substantially cheaper than if I were to go to Kinko’s and have my résumé printed to hand off to the number of people that have already visited my ad and seen my résumé online.”

Hammond targeted the ad to reach Facebook users who work for national committees, the Republican Party and congressional offices. The website offers analytics that allow Hammond to track how many times the ad has been clicked and who clicked it.

Hammond is hoping the uniqueness of the ad helps bring an end to his months of unemployment. But Chris Jones, president and CEO of PoliTemps, a political and public affairs staffing company based in Washington, says the Republican job market here is so poor that Hammond would be best served expanding his out-of-the-box thinking to look outside Washington.

“Right now, for a young Republican looking for a job in Washington, I would look at getting out of Washington,” Jones said. “Republicans need to think of other opportunities: going back to their state, counties, local government — getting involved in those kinds of political and legislative jobs.”

Hammond claims his ad has received the attention he hoped, drawing 166 clicks during its four-day run last week. But even if this latest effort doesn’t land him a job, he isn’t going to take Jones’s advice.

“If it doesn’t work out, I’ll still be up here,” Hammond said. “I like Washington. The city can’t get rid of me that easily.”

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