Wake-Up Call: Andrew Hudson is suddenly very popular

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Andrew Hudson is busier than a business reporter tracking the latest layoffs.

That's because he's become the first person people call when they're laid-off, or think they could be laid-off. Hudson has made it his job to let people know where the jobs are. And since he specializes in communications, his e-mail and voicemail have been filling up since last week's surprise announcement that the Rocky Mountain News is for sale.

Hudson is dishing no names, just advice.

"The one thing people need to do is to start getting focused and organized," he says of a first-time caller. "I recommend you do a very simple job skills audit -- take a big sheet of paper, look back over your career, brainstorm what you've done, then prioritize everything into primary and secondary skills."

People are often surprised by what they find. "The self-perception they have of themselves is usually very narrowly tailored," he explains. "I'm a reporter. I'm a PR person. I'm a marketing person. But often they have a lot more to offer than the kinds of things they think their identity is tied to. If they've managed projects and overseen budgets, if they've supervised people, if they've multi-tasked. They need to demonstrate those in their cover letters."

Hudson will help them with that, too. He offers a resume and cover letter rewrite service -- at $150 -- as well as a three-hour consultation at twice that. But that's just the start of the work of finding work. "The other thing, you have to understand what kind of job you're looking for," Hudson says. "Are you trying to reinvent yourself? Are you trying to get into a different industry, different job sector? And are you really positioned for that?" After all, jobs are changing, even as the communications business does. While there might not be many TV reporting jobs, for example, TV reporters with video experience are in demand at companies that now using video for marketing.

But Hudson offers more than advice: He has jobs, on AndrewHudsonsJobList.com.

Hudson started working on his own job-hunting skills when he was 24, and returned to Denver from then-Senator Tim Wirth's Washington, D.C. office. Back then, he did what everyone did -- he looked in the classifieds for openings. But he soon realized that wasn't the best place to find them. So he went to workforce development offices, looked through company books. "I always thought, even back then, that it would be really cool to bring together communications jobs," he remembers.

First, though, Hudson tried a few more himself -- as spokesman for RTD, and for then-Mayor Wellington Webb. In 1999, the same year that Monster.com started up, Hudson started sending out a communication blast from Webb's office. Some of the 300 people on his list gave him jobs to post, and he kept sending out his jobs list after he left Webb's office for a job at American Water Works, then Frontier Airlines. A year later, his subscription list was at 3,000 and Comcast, his service provider, was about to shut him down: "They thought I was a spammer," Hudson says. Steve Miller from netnewsdesk.com showed him how to recreate his list as a website that he could update every week and also send out an e-mail blast every Monday. "Since then I've added 15,000 subscribers," he notes, "and about doubled in the last six months."

Good thing, too, because in August, Hudson left his most recent communications post (he found it through his list) to turn his hobby into a fulltime job -- and when Wall Street melted down soon after, "I was scared to death," he says. "But the fact of the matter is, jobs have continued to come in. Companies are still hiring."

Hudson charges a company $250 to post a thirty-day ad, a non-profit $150 to do the same. A job-seeker can post a 300-word profile for just $10, and search the site for free. The December 8 addition lists sixty new jobs. Employers appreciate the fact that they can put their job openings into the e-mail boxes of "some of the best talent in the city," Hudson says.

At this point, "80 percent of the subscribers are currently employed," Hudson says. But they're reading, and they could be looking. Hudson -- and his advertisers -- have learned that just about anyone will move for the right job. "Managing a career from the minute you start working is critical," he says. "Manage it when you're employed."

And if that advice is coming too late, Andrew Hudson has plenty more. -- Patricia Calhoun

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