Events like receptions, lectures, and conferences are the best places to network.
Here are some ideas on how to successfully network there:
This advice is excerpted from the IHS’ Creating Your Path to a Public Policy Career guide. Click the image below to view the guide.
Dr. Nigel Ashford is Senior Program Officer at the Institute for Humane Studies.
Employers often cite humility as an important virtue in potential hires. What does this mean practically, and how can employees be humble? Humility is part of your attitude in how you think about and talk about your work. It’s the attitude that you can always do better, you acknowledge and learn from your mistakes, and you are often the one to blame instead of constantly blaming others.
Author Frank Sonnenberg writes an excellent piece on how to be humble. His main point is that success is temporary and we should never feel like we have “arrived” or can rest on our laurels. Here are some of his other points:
Stop feeding your ego. Don’t isolate yourself from reality by building relationships with people who stroke your ego. Surrounding yourself with “yes people” is just like talking to yourself.
Compete against yourself. When you compete against others, it’s easy to emphasize winning over self-improvement. However, when you compete against yourself, you both win.
Even experts have room to learn. Never stop growing. Know your limitations and admit when you don’t know something. It’ll help to keep you grounded.
Listen up. Discover what others have to offer and ask for their opinions before opening your mouth. It shows that you value their opinions as well as their insight.
No one’s perfect. Don’t let success go to your head. Be quick to apologize for your mistakes. You’ll never learn anything or impress anyone by making excuses and diverting blame. And a little humility will remind you that you’re human.
Whether you are an intern or a manager, you can be more humble by stopping to think about your attitude. When you make a mistake, do you quickly blame others and complain, or do you analyze what you could have done better and ask others to help you? When you succeed, do you brag and wait for others to congratulate you, or do you ask yourself how you can do even better next time?
Humility will always be difficult because our default attitude is pride, but a habit of being humble that starts early will pay off for your whole career.
Roger Custer is executive director at America’s Future Foundation
If you’re looking for a 9 – 5 job, working as a journalist or an editor at a political publication is not for you. Political scandals, candidate events and Congressional kerfuffles over predictable catastrophes supersede traditional working (and waking) hours. I often tell young journalists that if they don’t enjoy eating, breathing and sleeping politics, they’re barking up the wrong tree.
I remember the first time I visited my now-in law’s home. It was Christmas Day, and my beat of sorts at the time was covering Newt Gingrich’s presidential campaign for The Washington Examiner’s “Beltway Confidential” blog while I waited for Red Alert Politics, a sister publication of The Examiner, to launch. I’d stayed up the entire night of Dec. 23 waiting to see if Gingrich would make the Virginia primary ballot. Failure to gather enough valid petition signatures would not only shut candidates out of the state’s ballot, a failure of this level was an indicator that the candidate didn’t have the heft to win the Republican nomination nationwide.
After Gingrich failed to turn in enough valid signatures and in turn did not make the ballot, his campaign manager compared the situation to the bombing of Pearl Harbor. Merry, Christmas to all and to all a good, wait . . . what?
My then-boyfriend’s parents could not understand what type of a person would spend Christmas Day working. I explained to them that this was my job. To be the eyes and ears when everyone else is eating their holiday ham. That’s the sort of drive it takes to succeed as a young journalist just starting out. You have to be willing to take the shifts and write the stories that no one else wants to.
Becoming well known as a journalist comes with substantially more ‘freedom’ to work a regular schedule, but the good journalists like to stay in the thick of things from-time-to time because the political circus is what makes this field of work so darn enticing. Established journalists also have to worry about staying ‘relevant’ and getting booked on for good TV gigs. If you’re really lucky, you’ll get to celebrate your Sunday by getting up at the crack of dawn for a Sunday morning news show. (Which also requires hours of prep work the day or night before.) And if you’re really lucky, maybe you’ll become an editor at a major publication, where you’ll be responsible for keeping the publication up-to-date come hell, high water or polar vortexes.
I personally thrive in the sorts of environments described above. My family has come to accept that I’ll likely spend some part of my holiday visit tucked away in a corner binge covering the news. It’s just who I am. Meanwhile, former interns of mine have seen the sacrifices I’ve made to make Red Alert Politics a success and have decided working in political journalism isn’t for them. That’s OK, too. It’s OK to want to have a personal life that involves spending Christmas with your family uninterrupted. I believe you would be described as a normal person.
What’s most important is that you find the career that’s right for you and give it your best shot. If you’re honest with yourself about your interests and abilities, and work hard to achieve your goals, you’ll ultimately have a very fulfilling and successful career.
Francesca Chambers is Editor of Red Alert Politics, an online publication written by and for young conservatives. She is also a contributor to The Washington Examiner.
Heading to National Harbor this week to attend the 2014 Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC)? Consider submitting a guest blog post about your experience to Free the Future!
This year’s line-up features a number of policy discussions, career development events and presentations of potential interest to young professionals, and we’d love to hear your take on them! Guest blog posts should be between 500-600 words and include a brief description of the event in addition to your review. CPAC will also be screening a few movies so film reviews are also welcome!
A few schedule notes of interest are below. The full CPAC schedule is available here.
Get a Job at CPAC, Friday, March 7th, 11am-1pm: “Learn how to land your dream job in politics. LI’s expert faculty will teach you how to highlight your personal strengths to appeal to those who do the hiring at conservative organizations and on Capitol Hill.” Sponsored by the Leadership Institute.
Can Libertarians and Social Conservatives Ever Get Along? Friday, March 7th, 1:40pm: Alexander McCobin of Students for Liberty and Matt Welch from Reason.com will join other panelists to discuss the question, “Is there common ground between the two most energetic wings of the movement?”
Red Alert Politics Youth Caucus, Friday, March 7th, with sessions at 2pm and 3pm: “With the theme “Have Your Say,” this event will give young conservatives the opportunity to have a facilitated discussion with their peers about the policy issues that are important to our generation.” RSVP here.
Please send questions and blog post submissions to Heather Curry (firstname.lastname@example.org). Guest posts should be submitted no later than March 15th.
Image credit: @CPACnews
AFF-Austin and Google partnered to present a timely discussion dubbed No Freedom Without Privacy: The ECPA Needs an Upgrade on February 4, 2014. The topic for the evening was the Electronic Communications Privacy Act of 1986. Interest in this event was quite high, filling all eighty reserved seats at Fonda San Miguel, which proved itself a wonderful location for technology and privacy enthusiasts to congregate and discuss the important issues of the day. The AFF-Austin event was opened by remarks from the Lieutenant Governor’s Office regarding the importance of the issue. Attendees included individuals in technology, attorneys, and public policy professionals, among others. The panel was moderated by AFF-Austin chair, Arif Panju.
According to the panel, the primary problem with the Electronic Communications Privacy Act (“ECPA”) is that it is outdated. As one of the panelists, Matthew Henry with Electronic Frontier Foundation-Austin notes, “in the context of the Internet, it’s nearly pre-historic,” and though “it may have been an effective and important statute for 1986, today it no longer represents the privacy expectations of the American public.” The panel also included Arthur Gollwitzer III, a partner at the law firm of Michael Best & Friedrich and a former Assistant U.S. Attorney, and Perry Robinson, VP and Associate General Counsel at Rackspace.
Additionally, the panel explained that two of the other most obvious problems with ECPA deal with its privacy protections for email. First, ECPA protects the content of email from government searches with a warrant requirement only when it is less than 180 days old. Second, the warrant requirement only applies when the email is unopened (except in the western states of the Ninth Circuit). These distinctions are anachronisms from the mid-1980s and make no sense considering the way people use email today. ECPA also allows the files we save in the cloud to be seized without a warrant, even though those same files would be protected by the Fourth Amendment if they were saved in a home file cabinet.
Not only is this unfair, many argue it is unconstitutional and that ECPA does not protect the privacy that Americans expect and it is clearly in need of being modernized.
AFF-Austin would like to thank Google for sponsoring the panel and the reception that followed.
As a recruiter with the Charles Koch Institute, my responsibility is to connect people to our educational programs and job opportunities. Being a current participant in the Koch Associate Program, I am often asked by interested candidates what I enjoy most about participating in KAP. The question is difficult to answer; I enjoy the non-profit work experience, the reading discussions, the guest speakers, and the group projects, among many other components of the program. KAP also provides an opportunity to learn more about economics and leadership, while the respectful debate that follows can challenge my fundamental assumptions about the way the world works.
However, my favorite component of the program is learning about Market-Based Management® (MBM®). The MBM curriculum equips associates with the tools they need to create value in their jobs – hopefully allowing associates to better advance liberty and well-being throughout their careers. In a nutshell, MBM thinking incorporates the principles of a free society into an organization, thereby bringing the successful principles of a free market to the workplace.
For me, MBM has created a shift in the way I view my work. No longer do I think of success as just a daily completion of job responsibilities, or just a favorable review from a supervisor. Instead, I now strive to be entrepreneurial in my role. I focus on outcomes, rather than on tasks with no overall vision. In short, an MBM mindset encourages me to innovate and think beyond a job description.
With this mindset comes an opportunity to learn and develop professionally and to take on responsibility. For example, I have “decision rights” over attending and recruiting at certain conferences. At the end of the day, I am responsible for the success, or the failure, of the recruiting strategy at those conferences. Because of this, I have an incentive to create a high quality product and a recruiting strategy that will hopefully create the most value possible.
MBM empowers professionals to apply market-based thinking in their jobs, and this thinking can foster an incredible degree of productivity and fulfillment for employees. In short, what I enjoy most about the Koch Associate Program is the ability to acquire the tools and knowledge necessary to be better at my job. The Koch Associate Program is a great resource for those who want to advance liberty in their careers, particularly because of the tools offered through MBM. Taking one day out of the workweek to engage in professional education offers a huge return on investment. I highly recommend this program to anyone interested in learning how to create more value and be more fulfilled in his or her role. You can find more information on our website, Koch Associate Program – the deadline is coming up in March!
Mitch Whitus is a Recruitment Associate at the Charles Koch Institute.
With the annual AFF Gala fast approaching, there is no better time to become a member of America’s Future Foundation!
Membership offers a great opportunity to become more involved with AFF while also enjoying a host of great benefits. With several levels of membership available, there’s something for everyone.
A One Year Membership at the Contributing Member level includes:
Sustaining members receive all the benefits of a Contributing Membership, plus:
Leadership Circle members receive all the benefits of Contributing Membership, plus:
Where Can I Sign up??
Visit our AFF Membership page and fill out the online form. Join today and you’ll start receiving benefits immediately!
To learn more about individual membership or corporate /organization-level sponsorship, please contact Heather Curry (email@example.com)
There is no simple way to determine what level and type of degree is best for you and your budding policy career. Don’t fret; you don’t have to have the perfect answer.
Here are three broadly applicable considerations:
1. Your degree is less important than attributes like hard work, excellent writing, confident and clear communication, relevant knowledge, and internship or work experience.
2. The institution is probably more important than the type or level of degree.
3. Generic degrees diminish your competitive edge over other candidates, but specialized degrees will limit your opportunities outside of your area of specialization. Specialize only if you are especially passionate about that area.
In this piece, we discuss the pros and cons of pursuing a Master’s degree.
In general when considering an advanced degree, you should weigh all the costs with the expected benefits. While a better salary and empowered jobs are typical of these benefits, this doesn’t always mean accruing a large amount of debt and spending two to five years are worth it . Often, candidates with a bachelor’s and three years of specialized professional experience are as sought after as candidates fresh out of graduate school.
Finally, one should not seek out a given degree simply because of the perceived financial rewards associated with it. A keen interest in the field of study chosen is perhaps the most important prerequisite to success in graduate school.
This post was written by Eric Alston and Isaac Morehouse and is a previously published excerpt from the IHS Policy Career Guide. Visit the Institute for Humane Studies to learn more about pursuing a policy career.
One of the trickiest things networkers have to contend with is getting their emails or letters to actually be read by their target. We’ve all heard the joke about cover letters and resumes ending up in the dreaded “circular file,” and unfortunately that circular file is very much a reality. So how do you make sure your email or letter isn’t deleted or tossed away?
The most effective way to get an email read is to do one simple thing. Name drop the right way! And this is done by dropping the name of someone your target is connected to in the subject line of the email. So for example, “Joseph Smith referral” in the subject line of your introduction email. I’m going to read that email if I’m friends with Joseph Smith (and even more so, if I’m Mormon.) Let’s suppose I’m not close friends with Joseph Smith, but I know him professionally.
Well, I still don’t want to disrespect him by not responding to a connection of his. Washington, DC is a small town after all! This simple subject line name-dropping trick increases the likelihood of a response significantly. In the body of your email, you should write about how Joseph suggested you two meet to discuss opportunities in the conservative movement in the DC-area or an interesting research project that you’ve been working on that pertains to your target’s line of work.
Apply the same principle with cover letters. The strongest way to begin a cover letter is with the following language: “Joseph Smith suggested I apply for the Assistant Director position at The Federalist Society.” That will hopefully trigger the following response: “Oh, Joe suggested you apply? This guy might be good. Let me take a look. Joe’s never steered us the wrong way in the past. Let’s see what this resume looks like…”
And since you’re sending out that Every Other Friday Email (EOFE), your network is tipping you off about networking prospects you should contact. And when your contacts share those names with you, you need to follow up with each and every one of them, and you need to do so immediately! After you’ve met with or spoken to each networking prospect, be sure to thank your referring contact and let him know how the meeting went.
I want to re-emphasize this point. If anyone is willing to share a lead with you, you must follow up immediately, even if you’re not interested in what the networking prospect does for a living and even if you’re not interested in working for the organization they work for. Why?! Because someone generously opened up their world of contacts to you and the least you can do is follow up. Everyone in DC is constantly asked for networking leads and if someone shares a name with you, consider it a high compliment.
Let’s say Jim opens up his “rolodex” for Suzy Flake. This simple action is actually a statement: “I trust you to not make me look bad by sharing my contacts with you.” And it makes Jim look bad if he has called his friend Melissa and told her that she’ll be hearing from this recent graduate, Suzy Flake, who’s looking to do Public Relations work in the Washington, DC area. A month later if Jim runs into Melissa at a reception, and she tells Jim that Miss Flake never contacted her, that makes Jim not take Suzy or her job search very seriously and she’s likely burned a bridge with Jim.
If Suzy can’t follow through on what should be the most important thing to her, why should anyone think she’s going to be any less flaky on the job? Additionally, Melissa may have known people who could have helped Suzy and now Jim isn’t going to look out anymore for Suzy since she’s obviously not proactive. So remember, don’t be a Flake! Name drop the right way and follow up with every networking prospect sent to you.
Peter Redpath is Vice President and Director of the Student Division at the Federalist Society. This blog is part of a series based on his remarks at a previous AFF Networking Lunch.
Don’t miss out on the AFF Mentor Program! The deadline to apply is THIS FRIDAY, February 14th, at 5pm EST.
This program is a great opportunity to get one-on-one advice, career insights, and networking tips from AFF members who are established professionals in their respective fields. Mentors are long-term AFF members who have been carefully selected for their commitment to the program as well as for their unique insights on navigating the DC political and nonprofit environments. We use a short application and our knowledge of experienced AFF members to match each mentor and mentee.
AFF is accepting applications for those interested in connecting with mentors in the fields of:
How does it work?
Pairs will meet once a month. Meetings are arranged by the you and your mentor and can be either coffee, drinks, or lunch. Meetings will be reimbursed by AFF up to $20 each month upon completing a short survey. AFF will also host an opening happy hour and closing reception for all of the pairs.
When does the first round of the program take place?
The spring session will run from mid-February 2014- through May 2014.
How do I sign up?
Simply fill out our short online application and we’ll take care of the rest. Please note that the mentor program is for current AFF members. If you are not yet a member, join AFF today! This program is just one of many benefits available to AFF members. To learn more, check out the perks of Membership.
When is the application due?
The application for this round is due at 5:00 PM on February 14, 2014. APPLY NOW!
Questions? Contact Brit Vorreiter at brit
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