Capitol Hill's Craigslist: Meet the man who helps D.C.’s unemployed find jobs after election losses

Jeff Zeleny, Richard Coolidge and Jordyn Phelps
Power Players

The Fine Print

For every member of Congress who lost his or her job in the midterm elections, there are multiple Capitol Hill staffers also out of work.

And that’s where Tom Manatos comes in.

The former Democratic aide learned first-hand how hard it can be to find work after a new party comes to power. He now makes it his business to help other unemployed workers get back on their feet. His web-based D.C. jobs board, Tom Manatos Jobs, is known among Washington's ambitious as the place to find jobs in the halls of power. In the last month alone, since the midterm elections, Manatos has gained nearly 100 new clients freshly out of work.

“Especially when, at the end of a campaign cycle, people have lost their job, I think you have a camp of people who are proactively looking before just in case their boss lost, and a camp of people who are so loyal to their boss that they didn't even want to start looking,” Manatos told “The Fine Print.” “And you've got to help these people walk through the next steps in their career. It's where do you want to be in two to five years and what next job is going to get you there.”

For a $5 monthly fee, job seekers get access to the listings on his site, which includes a collection of jobs from Capitol Hill, non-profit organizations, and the private sector. But as Manatos advises his clients, finding the job is only the first step.

“Networking to get that job is the key,” he said. “So, once they find out about the job via my website, or other websites out there, they've got to figure out who they know, who knows folks in that office, to pass along their resume.”

In a town full of young and ambitious rising stars, the importance of connections cannot be underestimated.

“Chiefs of staff usually tell me that on entry-level jobs they get 200-300 resumes in the first 24 hours after they post it,” Manatos said. “So, you've got to pick that stack of 300 resumes. How does your resume land on the top? It's your friend who you've worked with in a previous office, knows the chief of staff, knows the communications director, knows a member of Congress, [and] recommends you for that job. Your resume lands on top, and you get that interview.”

After a bruising wave of Democratic defeats in November's midterm election, Manatos is currently helping more out-of-work Democrats than Republicans. But the site does not discriminate by party.

“My list is bipartisan, because I am bipartisan by marriage,” Manatos said. “My wife worked for President  Bush … and she's the one who encouraged me. She said, ‘Hey, you're helping all these people find jobs on the Democratic side. Why not the Republican side?’ Even actually at the end of the Bush administration, it was very hard for Republicans to find jobs, and what we were doing is trying to get as many jobs as possible out there to as many people as possible, regardless of party, because there are a lot of non-profits or private sector jobs that could be a Democrat or Republican job, it doesn't matter. It's who's the most qualified.”

In addition to helping those looking for a job, Manatos offers consultation for ambitious planners looking to plot out the next move in their careers.

“In 2013, I had people saying, 'Okay, where am I going to get my job? Where should I go to get this campaign job? Because I want to work for Hillary in 2016,'” Manatos recalled. “I have advised a couple of people, go to the primary states. Go work for Bruce Braley in Iowa. Go work for Jeanne Shaheen in New Hampshire, because those are where the jobs are going to be. And if, whether it be Hillary or somebody else from the Democratic Party or the Republican Party, they're going to be hiring within those states, and they see you have campaign experience in that state, that's going to be good for you.”

Despite the fact that Manatos has found a blissfully bipartisan match of his own, don’t expect Tom’s List to branch out into dating or other non-career related sectors. “Despite having married a Republican, we're not into that,” Manatos said.

“No dating, no real estate, even though we've been encouraged to say 'I have an opening in my apartment can you advertise it?' We're just jobs. We actually do networking. We do career development. There's a whole networking portion of our site that we advertise on our free daily email. But it's jobs, internships, fellowships. We're not getting into dating or real estate.”

To get more career advice from Manatos, check out this episode of "The Fine Print."

ABC News' Ali Dukakis, Gary Westphalen, John Bullard, and Bob Bramson contributed to this episode.