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Posts Tagged ‘Advice’
By Emily Miller, Director of Employment Placement Services, Leadership Institute
We’ve all heard it: “D.C. is built on networking!” But my first few [forced] networking events in D.C. made for painful memories.
Thrown into a room full of people I had never met, I would work up the courage to talk to one or two attendees before making a beeline for the refreshments and enjoying a few moments of refuge.
When you hear the word “networking,” is this the type of experience that comes to mind?
Attending events in D.C. and meeting new people is important (and, trust me, it gets easier!), but there’s more to building a network than simply adding new people to it. Your network is already larger than you think.
I was once asked to write down the names of 100 people whom I consider to be part of my network. Daunting! But after struggling for a while, I was given categories to consider: family, friends, classmates, teachers, co-workers, teammates, Happy Hour crew … and the list went on. Thinking of 100 people was suddenly quite easy.
When looking for a job in D.C., it’s common to only think of the “big fish,” the people with clout who you assume will help you get where you want to go. I meet with many jobseekers who want to work on specific Capitol Hill committees, but they aren’t sure how to get there due to their lack of Hill experience and connections. They do have valid concerns, but many of them also make the common mistake of underestimating their networks.
Think about your ideal position and work backward. To continue with the Congressional committee example, learn who serves on the committee and figure out their connections. Then follow the chain backward until you find a personal connection of your own. Approach that person about making an introduction for you to the next person up the chain.
It’s true that D.C. is built on networking, but you may already have a stronger network than you realize. Don’t let it go to waste.
Emily Miller is Director of Employment Placement Services at the Leadership Institute where she coordinates the networking and employment site, ConservativeJobs.com. She also assists jobseekers through resume and career consultations, job fairs, and training events. You can reach Emily at firstname.lastname@example.org.
By Heather Lakemacher, Policy Programs Director, Institute for Humane Studies
I was recently talking with a couple interns at my organization who were nervous about looking for “real” jobs. During the conversation, it suddenly occurred to me that part of what makes young people so nervous about interviews is they’ve never participated in hiring anyone! So, from someone who has now conducted more than a hundred interviews, here are a few things about hiring that you might not have thought about.
I want your help. The reason I’m hiring is because I’m swamped. A great person just left my organization to go to law school, and now I’m doing both her job and my own. I’m really stressed out right now.
I want to like you. I just sifted through 60 resumes, some of which were positively awful. (I’ve seen people misspell their own name.) Then I did 15 phone interviews, some of which were also awful. (Don’t bring up embezzling during an interview!) But you weren’t awful. In fact, you were pretty good. That’s why I’m having an in-person interview with you. I’m really hoping that you’re as good in person as you were in your resume and phone interview.
I might not get back to you as quickly as you would hope. Remember how I’m doing two jobs right now and sifting through 60 resumes? As much as I need you to come help me, the crisis that is unfolding in my office at this very moment is destroying my good intention of calling to offer you a job. Not hearing from me right away doesn’t necessarily mean that you’re not going to get the job.
So, the next time you’re getting ready for an interview or starting to panic after one, take a deep breath and put yourself in my shoes. Yes, you probably feel like I have all the power. But remember, I’m really hoping that you are going to be the next great addition to my team.
By Claire Kittle, Executive Director, Talent Market
A resume is your first chance to make a good impression. By following a few simple tips, you can have a stellar resume. Remember every hiring manager has opinions on what works best in a resume, and the suggestions below are merely mine. Read on, friend…
1. Chronological, Chronological, Chronological!
If I read your résumé and start feeling as if I’m in an episode of Quantum Leap, we’ve got problems. Put your most recent job at the top and work backward from there.
2. Include Your Accomplishments Under Each Job Heading.
One of the latest trends is to lead with an “Accomplishments” section and then follow that with the employment/experience section. I’m not sure who came up with this idea, but my guess is they don’t hire for a living. Separating your jobs from your accomplishments is not only illogical, but it leaves the reader confused about where and when you did what. It also creates unnecessary duplication. When I get a résumé like this, I inevitably find myself flipping between the two sections and getting frustrated.
3. Your Résumé Should Read More Like The Gettysburg Address than The Grapes of Wrath.
Blaise Pascal said, “I would have written a shorter letter, but I did not have the time.” Don’t be Blaise. A résumé is an overview of your education, experience, and accomplishments. It should be a quick, easy read (1-2 pages unless you’re an academic) and it should entice the employer to bring you in for an interview.
4. Include Dates!
Employers want to know how long you worked at each job for longevity reasons. Likewise, they want to know when you graduated college to gauge your overall level of experience and so they can confirm you actually graduated if they need to do a background check. Leaving out dates is conspicuous and does far more harm than good.
5. Drop the Objective Section Like a Bad Habit.
Without hesitation, my least favorite section of the résumé is the objective. It’s the area where otherwise sane people are drawn to use jargon, B.S., wild hyperbole, and annoying buzzwords like “synergy.” Whatever you want to say here, save it for the cover letter.
6. Bullet Points are Your Friend.
My favorite résumés are those that contain bullet points in lieu of long sentences and paragraphs. These bullets tell me the job seeker took the time to distill his experience into a version that is easily absorbed by potential employers. And not to sound overly dramatic, but I think it shows the candidate is respectful of others’ time to the point he cut out superfluous words. Name me a hiring manager who doesn’t appreciate this trait in an employee?
7. Keep it Relevant!
If you: a) are taking a cooking class, b) like to snowboard, or c) worked retail in college, then 1) let me know when I can come over for dinner, 2) you should check out Snowshoe, 3) teach me how to fold sweaters, please, and 4) don’t include any of these things in your résumé.
8. Eliminate the Mystery.
We’re not dating or reading Nancy Drew, so let’s eliminate the mystery. Above all else, your résumé should make sense. A reader should understand clearly your background and what you bring to the table. Disjointed and confusing résumés are the surest way to find yourself in the circular file. Test your résumé on a friend; if they read it and start asking questions, go back to the drawing board.
9. Name Your Résumé: John Doe Résumé.
I can’t tell you how many résumés I get with document names like “Résumé Summer 2009” or “1152010 CV.” I end up having to rename them, which is especially confusing when the candidate’s name is something difficult to spell such as Raymond Throatwobblermangrove. Since employers often forward around résumés or save them, it’s best to label your résumé using your name and the word résumé so there’s no confusion. Likewise, if you are including writing samples, references, etc., label them accordingly: John Doe Writing Sample, John Doe References, etc.
Keep it simple, sweetheart. Above all else, your résumé should be a simple outline of your education, experience, and accomplishments. Don’t use color, photographs, fancy/hard-to-read typefaces, or heavy prose. Leave some negative space, bold your section headers, and be consistent with how you lay out each subsection. Make it enjoyable for the hiring manager to read and you’ll maximize your chances of getting an interview.
Claire Kittle is Executive Director of Talent Market, a free service promoting liberty by filling key roles in the free-market movement with talented candidates. To learn more, visit this site or email her at contact – at – talentmarket.org.
The Washington Post ran an article recently on the tough time many former staffers on President Obama’s campaign are having finding a job in the administration. If you’ve ever tried to navigate the vagaries of the political hiring process, the experiences of those profiled may bring back some memories. And if you’re thinking of trying to land a political job at some point down the road, the piece may give a taste of what lies in store.
If you’re looking for a job yourself, take note of some of the networking practices employed by those profiled. Networking tends to be a nebulous concept, especially in DC, but it can be tremendously important. Not everyone has the resources — or chutzpah — to throw a dinner party for potential bosses at Old Ebbit Grill, but everyone can do a little something to improve their network each day.
Networking is really just a fancy way of saying “getting together with people.” If you’d like to work on your “networking” skills, don’t worry about developing icebreakers or approaching people out of the blue. Instead, concentrate on strengthening your existing friendships and relationships. That is likely the surest way to land the job you have your eyes on.