What Recruiters Want: Tackling the Toughest Interview Questions
Laci Lawrence
January 6, 2012
What Recruiters Want: Tackling the Toughest Interview Questions
You made it. Your resume and cover letter were perfect, and now you are sitting in the hot seat at the office of your dreams. No pressure, but things can all go south in a matter of minutes if you haven't prepared for difficult interview questions. Check out the five difficult questions below and how to best answer them in an intelligent and concise manner. 1. Tell me about yourself. Many interviews begin with this softball of a question, so be prepared with a short and applicable answer. You should create a one-minute elevator speech that pertains to how your qualifications align with the potential job and employer. Do not dredge up some anecdote about your childhood unless you can successfully tie it to the job.2. What is your five-year plan? If you are just entering the job market, you might not have a clear plan. Or, even worse, the job you are interviewing for may not fall within your ideal five-year plan. How should you answer this question? One thing is clear: never say that you hope to be in the same job at the end of the five years. Show some ambition and tell the employer you want to advance in the company because you believe in the company's goals and ideals. Demonstrate your dedication to the company by explaining how you will use your experience to improve the company's image and bottom line.3. You seem to change careers frequently. Why should I hire you? If you are attempting to make a career change, this question will surely be asked by an employer. It's best to explain how your previous employment provided you with a diverse and unique skill set that qualifies you for the present job. Pick three skills from your previous work and describe how those qualities translate to the current job. If you have a compelling and applicable story of why you are changing careers, tell the recruiter why you are passionate about the new job and company.4. Why do you want to work for us? This is another softball question that can become a foul ball if you answer “Because I want to help people” or “Because I am the best candidate.” You should really capitalize on this question by doing your homework on the company before the interview. Give a specific example of an ongoing project at the company and how you are uniquely qualified to address that task. Your answers should be tailored to the company's current projects as much as possible. This tells the employer that you are already “in the know” about the organization.5. You don't have much experience in this field. What qualifies you for this position? Raise your hand if you hate this question. How do you gain experience if everyone only hires people with experience? Never fear, there is an answer for you. Mention your good grades and any applicable school experience that relates to the job. Most importantly, discuss how you want to learn the ropes at the company because of your dedication to its main goals. Tell the employer about your drive and determination to become a key player at the company. Don't forget to subtly mention that your starting salary will be lower than a more experienced person. What you may lack in experience you can make up in determination.So there you have it. Before walking into the interview, think about how to adopt these suggestions and craft your own answers. Remember that recruiters will be interviewing multiple candidates for the job, and your polished and prepared answers will immediately set you apart from other candidates. Getting the interview shows that you already demonstrated the qualifications for the job. Now sell your personality and determination with excellent responses!>
Ready To Run—Future Candidates Now Equipped
Mikayla Hall and Lauren Hart
December 9, 2011
Ready To Run—Future Candidates Now Equipped
Every year across America thousands of people run for public office. Many lose, and do so from common errors that can be avoided by learning from campaign experts. This week 28 conservatives gathered at the Leadership Institute's Future Candidate School to learn effective campaign techniques as they consider a bid for public office. This training helps conservatives thoughtfully consider and proactively strategize their campaign aspirations as well as encourage them to plan ahead. The training began with a day dedicated entirely to candidate development. Holly Davis, co-founder and vice president of Gauge Market Research started it off with a simple question—“Are you ready to run?”For four days attendees learned from expert faculty about what it takes to run a stronger and more effective campaign. Faculty included Stephen Clouse of Stephen Clouse & Associates, Inc., Tyler Harper of The Prosper Group, and Rebecca Norman of The Richard Norman Company.The remaining three days covered topics such as: coalitions, fundraising, polling, developing a message, and others. These lectures required future candidates to ask themselves what they can do to put themselves on the right path to get elected.John Paul Wagemann is running again for the Washington State House of Representatives in the 28th district. He lost by around 600 votes with no campaign training.“My original plan was not as well-written as it could have been. All four days of LI training reinforced the importance of having a solid plan going into a campaign,” John said.John says the lectures on the Leesburg Grid and public speaking were particularly encouraging. “I learned much more about public speaking and how to articulate what is important to me and my constituents,” John said.“We know conservatism is right, but we need to package it correctly so people will want to listen," John continued. "These lectures made it clear how skillful the opposing side is. Conservatives can often get caught up in fighting over what doesn't matter—we need to focus!”Recently elected Virginia Delegate Mike Watson, a former LI graduate who took eight trainings at the Institute, closed the training by sharing his candidacy story.“I went to the Future Candidate School first, and a few months later attended the week-long Campaign Management School. There, I was surrounded by people who wanted to be campaign managers, and I ended up hiring one of them: Annette James. We had an LI team going. We'd had the same training, so we were on the same page, and we won! You can do it too,” Mike encouraged.“I am horrible on TV, so I went to LI's workshop and the on-camera training, and improved in debates and public speeches. I was calm, cool, and collected during debates. I had a smile, my arm on the table, and was turned toward the other person when things got heated—all thanks to my training at the Leadership Institute. Go to as many trainings as you can. Equip yourself for the fight ahead,” Mike closed.Want to attend a Future Candidate School? To register for this and other LI programs, go here.>
Yesterday at LI: President of the National Right to Work Committee Mark Mix Remains Optimistic about Battle Against Unions
Mikayla Hall
December 8, 2011
Yesterday at LI: President of the National Right to Work Committee Mark Mix Remains Optimistic about Battle Against Unions
Yesterday 43 people braved the wind and the rain to hear Mark Mix, the president of the National Right to Work Committee and National Right to Work Foundation, who spoke at the Leadership Institute's December Wednesday Wake-Up Club Breakfast.Mark Mix credits the Leadership Institute's techniques with his start in politics. He said a member of a conservative campus group at his college stood in front of a table, shook his hand, and invited him to their meeting.In the following years, Mark went on to take LI's Legislative Project Management School, newspaper training, television training and other Institute trainings he could make. “I probably have more LI diplomas than most,” he joked.Standing before conservatives and supporters of the Institute, Mark spoke about his organization's efforts to establish right to work laws across the nation.“The First Amendment says you have the right to associate. Since 1935, however, we have allowed private organizations to force workers to associate as terms of employment. Having a right to associate presupposes the right not to associate. …How is it that a private organization that represents only 6.9 percent of the private sector has the loudest voice on Capitol Hill?” he said.But, Mark noted, it is important to recognize that the National Right to Work Committee is not against unions, but against forcing employees to join a union as terms of employment. “We protect the right for people to join a union. It is an important right. But we cannot give [union leaders] monopoly power,” Mark said.While a serious issue, Mark ended on a positive note, saying: “You can't overlook what's happening in Wisconsin and Ohio. Compulsory behavior is in the last throes of a [failed institution]…in ten years or so, I think we will see the end of compulsory organized labor.”Didn't make it to the Wednesday Wake-Up Club Breakfast? Watch the video here.Next month's speaker will be Dr. Paul Teller, executive director of the Republican Study Committee. To register for this and other LI programs and schools, go here.>
100 People Learn About Conservative Careers at LI’s Workshop This Week
Lauren Hart
November 18, 2011
100 People Learn About Conservative Careers at LI’s Workshop This Week
One hundred people attended the Conservative Career Workshop Tuesday and Wednesday evenings at LI's Steven P.J. Wood Building in Arlington, VA.“This was some of the best advice I've received for my job search. I learned about the interview process and negotiating a salary. I had no idea how to negotiate salary prior to this! I feel more confident about tweaking my resume and going into an interview now," said Heritage Foundation Coalition Relations Intern Dixie Cline.The Conservative Career Workshop helps those looking to sharpen their professional skills and for those searching for their next career move. Attendees learned about different paths in the conservative movement from working on the Hill, in a think-tank, or for a non-profit.“I learned how to take my private sector experience toward perspective job opportunities in the conservative movement," said Robert Towner, a Government Technical Coordinator for Verizon Wireless.LI had a great lineup of expert faculty, including:-American Conservative Union Director of CPAC Chris Malagisi-Americans for Prosperity Foundation Recruiter Andrea McCarthy-Foreign Policy Initiative Director of Government Relations & Outreach Rachel Hoff-FreedomWorks Federal and State Campaigns Director Brendan Steinhauser-Global Vision Communications Principal and Founder/CEO of Ladies America Lindsey Mask-Heritage Foundation Recruiter Kristine Bramsen-Leadership Institute Vice President Steven Sutton-Leadership Institute Director of ConservativeJobs.com Emily Miller-Republican Study Committee Executive Director Paul Teller“At the conservative Career Workshop I learned to be more confident in networking and utilizing the contacts I have. It's a great workshop that will provide insider tips to finding a job in D.C.” said Kelly Cassara, the media/field department intern for Concerned Women for America.Family Research Council intern Terri Hufschmid said, “The information about propriety in networking and resume formats was extremely helpful. I will be using this for the rest of my life!”Americans for Limited Government Senior Research Analyst Richard McCarty, another attendee, said: “I have attended several LI schools, and I've always found them interesting and insightful, as well as good places to network.”During the two evenings, attendees learned to: find career paths in the conservative movement; successfully get a job on the Hill; negotiate salary; enhance resume and interview skills; and have an effective personal brand.Avant Garde Information Solutions Financial Controller Patrick Fabian said: “The Leadership Institute provides the must-have tools necessary for a conservative activist to transition to a full-time career related to public policy.”LI offers training year-around. Come get trained to be effective in public policy. >
Conservatives Polish their PR Skills at LI’s Advanced Public Relations School
Mikayla Hall
November 9, 2011
Conservatives Polish their PR Skills at LI’s Advanced Public Relations School
The past three evenings this week, 20 conservatives gathered in Arlington, Virginia at the Leadership Institute's Steven P.J. Wood Building to enhance their public relations skills at LI's Advanced Public Relations School.Attendees came from many backgrounds, including: non profits, government agencies, and defense contractors.The training blended the lecture style most common with LI trainings with hands-on practice. As LI's Director of Communications Training Rachel Phillips noted, “PR is about practice. You can learn these skills the more you work on them.”Attendees formed groups to practice the lessons taught by: Jessica Towhey of Dezenhall Resources; Stuart Roy of Prism Public Affairs; and Abigail Alger of LI. Each group was given a scenario, brainstormed how to respond to the crisis, and then held a mock press conference.One group represented a restaurant company with a food crisis. They had a Bird Flu outbreak and had to respond to public concerns. One person played the role of a communications director, one had to write the press release, and the third person played the spokesman during the press conference.To find out when LI is hosting more public relations training, visit http://leadershipinstute.org/training. >
LI’s International Leadership Training Seminar Trains 77 Conservatives From Around the World
Mikayla Hall
November 2, 2011
LI’s International Leadership Training Seminar Trains 77 Conservatives From Around the World
Last week the Leadership Institute hosted 77 representatives from 12 countries—Bolivia, Kenya, Latvia, Mexico, Mongolia, Peru, Romani, Russia, Spain, Tanzania, United Kingdom, and the United States.The International Leadership Training Seminar (ILTS) was a week-long crash course in communications, fundraising, negotiations, and on-camera techniques.Member of the Bolivian Parliament Paola Zapata Montaño said, “The Leadership Institute has made me proud of being a conservative, and has equipped me with not only the right tools, but also the right principles that motivate me to recover the democratic lifestyle that Bolivia deserves.”Notable attendees included Armando Vera, the founder and president of the Hispanic Tea Party; Paola Zapata Montaño, a member of the Bolivian parliament; Lkhagvajav Dolgorjav, the Secretariat's manager for the Democratic Party of Zavkhan province; and Dr. Ole-Ronkei Morompi, the advocacy director at Compassion International.The training was taught in/translated into English, Spanish, and Mongolian. Those in attendance learned from experts in various fields, including: Stephen Clouse, the president of Stephen D. Clouse & Associates; Ann Fitzgerald, president of A.C. Fitzgerald & Associates, LLC; and Giuseppe Gori, the president of Central Dynamics.When asked what he enjoyed about these lectures, Compassion International Advocacy Director Dr. Morompi said, “Strategic use of social media for purposes of political mobilization, fund-raising and ultimately winning an election is certainly the highlight of the training for me at LI.”After three days of intensive training at LI, the group toured the U.S. Capitol. From there, The Heritage Foundation opened their doors and gave additional lectures on the economic index, new media, and how a think tank like Heritage and a “do tank” like LI can work well with conservative activists and officials who want to make a difference.“Graduates of The Leadership Institute go on to be amazing leaders for their cause, both here in America and back in their home countries,” said Bridgett Wagner, Heritage's director of coalition relations.Before returning to their respective countries, some of the attendees offered their kind words about their time at LI.Bolivia's think tank Funbolider's President Alejandro Barja said, “This training has allowed me to change my thinking and my behavior and it has equipped me to better solve the problems of leadership we face and fulfill the needs in my region and country in a positive way.”Interested in attending a future International Leadership Training Seminar? Contact LI's Director International & Government Training Miguel Moreno at (703) 247-2000.Other Leadership Institute training is available here. >
What Not to Do: Career Search/Interview Bloopers
Laci Lawrence
October 24, 2011
What Not to Do: Career Search/Interview Bloopers
It's time for a little tough love to current job seekers. Some people have excellent resumes, cover letters, and interviewing skills, and some do not. Chances are if you are reading this blog you are looking for some help. Congratulations for taking the first step in a job search: asking for advice! I have compiled a list of absolute, never ever, do not's for your job search. These are golden standards that apply to every job sector, and the types of issues that result in resume trash-dunking contests across the country. The tips may seem like no-brainers, but pay attention to each of them to make sure your resume doesn't end up as a paper airplane cruising your dream job's office.1. Never use family and friends as references. Employers know your mom will give the most glowing reference of your selfless dedication and organizational skills, but what they really what to know is why you couldn't find a real reference for your application. If you have worked somewhere for several months and you use your sister as a reference, the “red flag” is immediately raised for the employer. 2. Watch for suspect job skills or descriptions. In the wise words of George Washington in his Rules of Civility and Decent Behaviour in Company and Conversation, “Show nothing to your friend that might affright him.” Review your resume and have others critique your resume. You might be surprised how many mistakes remain even after you have spent hours formatting and editing. Look for strange descriptions that might make for hilarious office emails but not a credible resume. If a friend reading the job description has no idea what tasks you performed, find another way to describe your duties. Also, avoid labeling yourself as unemployed or unlicensed. Find a positive way to express your current job status (i.e. jobseeker).3. Check any bad attitude or negativity at the door. The job market is tough right now, there's no question about that. You have probably been working your tail off applying for jobs, networking, and sending out your resume to everyone you can think of. It is a frustrating process! Despite any aggravation you've had with previous failures, adopt a positive and upbeat attitude for the job interview process. Find positive things to say about your job search and experiences or say nothing at all.4. Avoid oversharing during the interview. Returning to the wise words of our first President: “Be not tedious in discourse or in reading unless you find the company pleased therewith.” When asked the inevitable “Tell me about yourself” question, be prepared to answer with a concise and relevant response. The employer does not want to know your life story despite the open-endedness of the question. It is easy to become stressed in the interview and spew useless information; review potential questions before the interview and practice your answers.5. Do not be the silly applicant. Read and re-read the job posting and any document you submit to the employer. Nothing is more embarrassing than sending the wrong cover letter to an employer or sending your application to the wrong person. Be sure you have the correct email address and that you have properly submitted all documentation. Incomplete applications rarely go further than the recycle bin, and incorrectly submitted applications cause employers to assume that you are incapable of following directions. If the job posting is confusing, do not hesitate to call or email the employer for clarification. 6. Work your opportunities. Has someone offered to help you? Did a colleague provide some advice? Have you utilized your network? From my personal experience, it is easy to complain about not having a job, but it is harder to continually apply for jobs, seek new avenues of employment, and ask for help. Make sure you take people up on their offers to help with your job search. If you are a new jobseeker, all advice should be relevant and at least educational. It only takes one person to take notice of your ambition and qualifications to land the perfect job. Talk with people, find out their opinions on potential employers, and discover their personal career path. It is often said that searching for a job is a job in and of itself. Are you working 8 hours a day to find your dream job? Chances are other people are working just as strenuously.I hope you will use this advice to your advantage as you apply for jobs and receive interviews. Talk to any hiring representatives, and they will have some hilarious and horrifying stories of their own. Make sure that on the interview day you are the polished, confident, and intelligent candidate. Good luck!>
So You Didn't Get the Job?
Laci Lawrence
October 13, 2011
So You Didn't Get the Job?
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Sometimes the interview went okay and sometimes the interview was the best you could imagine. In either scenario, the answer is the same: No thank you.Many articles exist to help you get the job, but this blog aims to help you regroup after the rejection. Consider these tips as you plan your next move.1. Analyze your interview. Think about what questions were asked and how you answered those questions. Were you confident, calm, and composed? Were you rambling, confusing, or withdrawn? I am normally so glad to be done with the interview that I immediately forget the bad parts or sugarcoat the reality of what occurred.You should really think about how you presented yourself during the interview to improve for future opportunities. I also recommend keeping an ongoing document of tough questions and your best answer to those questions. I will post a blog in a few weeks specifically about those terribly tricky interview questions that can tank an interview in about five minutes. Overall, be honest in your evaluation and decide how best to present yourself and correctly answer questions for the next interview.2. Review your portfolio. Make additional changes to your resume, writing sample, references list, etc. Have you sent your resume to other people for advice on mistakes or necessary changes? I edit my resume at least twice a month, and I still find little changes that can make it better. Remember that employers will consider your personality during the interview and the effectiveness and organization of your portfolio. If an employer is caught between two equally qualified candidates and one resume has grammatical or structural errors, you can guess who will receive the job offer. Take the time and make your portfolio the best it can be for the next interview.3. Consider alternative options. Yes, I said it – you may need to refocus your career search. For all of you diehards searching for a job in a narrow field, remember that the economy is not looking very bright. Perhaps several years ago you could jump right into your preferred field, but now current employers have smaller budgets and fewer employees.Take for instance Destiny Decker, a political science and religion major from North Carolina. Her entire undergraduate degree and experiences were aimed at working for a non-profit in England on the Middle East peace process. When things didn't work out, she worked at the Disney Store to make money and enhance her organizational, interpersonal, and diplomatic skills. Destiny continued her search for work in D.C. by using her local contacts, one of whom contacted the director of the Traditional Values Coalition. Her work ethic and skills landed her a salaried position five months later.Are you like Destiny? Take a job, learn new skills, continue looking, and prepare for the perfect opportunity.4. Cultivate your skills while you can. Do not languish at home wringing your hands about the lack of employment. Do something to make your resume better: find volunteer work, get an internship, or work at the Disney store!“Learn as many skills as possible in whatever you are doing,” Destiny recommends. You may even gain contacts through your temporary job that can help the search for your preferred job sector. Do not be afraid to work for a “plan B” or “plan C” employer. All of your experience adds up, and your work ethic can be demonstrated by taking those temporary positions.5. Don't give up. Keep searching for your dream job even though it seems unattainable at the present time. Who knows – maybe the dream job is five or ten years from now. Some opportunities may fall into your lap, whereas other opportunities are earned by hard work and dedication. If you find yourself in a job that is not exactly what you wanted originally, re-evaluate your goals. It could be that you love where you work now.After the whirlwind of changes, Destiny concludes, “Now that I know what my dream job is, I can honestly say I am doing my dream job. It has been challenging, but I know that everything I confront in the job world can either make me quit or make me stronger.”If you fall into the category of unemployed or underemployed, I hope these tips give you some ideas for the future and changes to make while searching. Keep up the hard work, and it will pay off, even if the final product is different than what you initially imagined.>
LI Hires Four New Staff Members
Angela Mitchell
September 30, 2011
LI Hires Four New Staff Members
September 30, 2011, Arlington, VA--The Leadership Institute is excited to introduce four new staff who come from different backgrounds, but who are all eager to contribute to LI's mission and growing the conservative movement.Oliver Darcy brings a fresh perspective to the Leadership Institute's Campus Leadership Program (CLP). Darcy is the new regional field coordinator for the Mid-West region, which includes MN, ND, SD, NE, KS, IA and MO. Before arriving at LI, Darcy interned with Congressman Jeff Denham, worked as a systems support coordinator in the health industry, and volunteered on numerous political campaigns.At LI, his duties include working to establish conservative activist groups on college campuses. When asked why he wanted to work with CLP, he stated simply that he “likes campus activism and exposing young adults to conservative principles.” Darcy's focus is to advance the conservative movement the best that he can, and LI is happy to have him as a part of the team.Emily Miller begins a new chapter in her career at LI after accepting the director of Employment Placement Services. Previously, she was intern coordinator. Emily will control and maintain LI's website, conservativejobs.com, which is also known as “the HR department of the conservative movement.” Her goal is to sustain the role of a one-stop-shop for conservative job seekers and employers, and to place them in the public policy job process.Originally from Canton, OH, Emily has also worked for the Koch Associate Program, as well as the Philanthropy Round Table, where she managed the education reform team as a project coordinator. She loves working with young conservative leaders through LI's internship program, and believes that her new position will only expand upon that role.Trey McKenzie recently joined LI as a donor relations officer, where he corresponds with many of the Institute's donors in any way that is needed. Prior to joining the LI team, he interned with both Senator John Boozman from his home state of Arkansas and Americans for Prosperity, where he first heard of LI.Trey decided he wanted to join LI because he believes in the organization's mission, which is to increase the number and effectiveness of conservative activists and leaders in the public policy process. He has a passion to get others involved any way that he can, and his previous experience working in the conservative movement both for a legislator as well as within the non-profit sector will add to the work that he continues with LI. Emily Ames, the director of donor relations at LI says, “Trey is enthusiastic to learn and takes the extra step to help out everyone in our department. He is always looking for ways to improve processes around here, and he definitely thinks outside the box.”Also joining the Development Department is Karla Bruno, the new director of foundation and corporate relations. Her new position focuses on both fundraising and grant writing. Growing up in a military family (her father was a United States Marine), she is familiar with the concept of adapting quickly, and that is exactly what she has done at LI.Karla, an English teacher and a librarian for nearly 20 years, is also a writer and journalist. She became involved with the Wren Cross incident at the college of William & Mary, which initially began her interest within the realm of conservative politics. Steve Sutton, vice president of development and campus programs, is excited at the new development work Karla and the department is working on as they set new goals this year. He said, “We've always wanted to greatly increase our outreach to corporations, and this is one area we are particularly excited about.”The Leadership Institute welcomes all new hires.Would you like to join the LI team? The Institute currently has two open positions—the business systems engineer and intern coordinator.>
Conservative Activists Are More Confident After LI’s High-Dollar Fundraising School
Mikayla Hall
September 23, 2011
Conservative Activists Are More Confident After LI’s High-Dollar Fundraising School
September 23, 2011, Arlington, VA--Last week the Leadership Institute broke a record of 79 students who attended LI's High Dollar Fundraising School. Attendees discovered ways to enhance the causes and candidates of their choice with effective fundraising.The expert faculty included Todd Meredith, co-owner of Morgan, Meredith & Associates; Tracey Johnson, President and CEO of Credo Strategies; and LI's own Marci LeBlanc and Steve Sutton from the development department.Attendees learned how to write grant proposals, distinguish the differences between types of donations, communicate strategically with donors, and establish a high-dollar direct mail program."The LI High Dollar fundraising workshop was extremely helpful. After completing the class, I immediately put the skills I learned to use, and have already secured additional funding for my non-profit," said GI Film Festival Executive Director Laura Law-Millett.Jerry Cave, owner of his own communications and search engine optimization company, says he plans to use the training to possibly pursue a career in advocacy. “[The] Leadership Institute is a fabulous opportunity to learn and develop new skills and meet fellow conservatives. [It was] a tremendous learning experience!”LI Intern Fredrick McKinley said he always was afraid of asking people for money, “but after attending the High-Dollar Fundraising School, [he] feels more confident that [he] will be able to successfully help a campaign raise money.”Lynda Fairman, We the People district coordinator for VA-01 and York County coordinator for Tom Harmon for VA Senate Campaign said, “LI's High Dollar Fundraising School gave me practical, ‘real world' methods that will help me while working on political campaigns and for non-profit organizations and schools. Presentations from experts in the field address everything from assessing dollars needed to asking for different levels of donations to finalizing the deposit and organizing reports, this school covers it all for success from beginning to end!”“I've already started using this knowledge to help the We the People program replace the defunded federal funds so we can continue to train teachers to teach the Constitution with non-partisan curriculum in all schools at all levels,” Lynda continued. “In addition to this job, I plan on sharing what I've learned as I work on political campaigns to help conservative candidates raise the funds needed to win elections.”“The Leadership Institute presents quality programs with expert information I can use right away. After graduating from several of their schools and their grassroots training and workshops, I highly recommend any of their classes,” Lynda said. “LI is, truly, a class act for success!”Are you interested in attending the High-Dollar Fundraising School or other Leadership Institute trainings? To register for this school and others, check out http://www.leadershipinstitute.org/training/ >
Preparing for the Interview
Laci Lawrence
September 16, 2011
Preparing for the Interview
Congratulations! You received the call from your dream job company, and they want to interview you in a week. After the celebratory victory dance, which is merited, since you probably made the cut from a much larger pool of candidates, it's time to think about the interview. Here is a short list of things to think about, execute, or prepare for prior to the big day. Each tip is designed to cut the unnecessary stress out of an inherently stressful day.1. Always bring at least 3 copies of your resume and any documentation you sent in with your application. It seems silly, especially because you know the company already has all of your information, but I have been asked on at least 3 interviews for my resume. Avoid awkward moments by being smooth and prepared with your resume, writing sample, and references on hand.2. Review the company website, publications, and community involvement before the interview. Chances are you already checked out the company before you applied, but a quick refresher is important so you know exactly how to respond to the interview questions. Also, check if anyone you know works at the company. They might have advice from their personal experience with the company and insider company policy. If you do not know anyone at the company, try researching the competition and their view on your potential employer. Integrate this research into your interview answers, and you will look not only smart, but already familiar with the company's policies.3. If you can, find out who your interviewer(s) will be before you arrive. Research what they do for the company. You may discover you have friends or causes in common, and it can never hurt to drop a line or two you know will be favorable to the interviewer.4. One of the most important tips is being on time for the interview. Drive by the interview location a day before the interview and make sure to check on parking options and traffic issues for the particular area. I interviewed for a job in a busy downtown area and did not anticipate the complete lack of parking. When I finally did find parking, I was stressed and frazzled. I was not late to the interview, but anxious sweat is not the best start to an interview.5. Pick out the “winning outfit” the day before. Find your favorite interview outfit, including accessories and jewelry, and try it on. Does it still fit and make you feel fabulous? If not, find the next best option and stick with it the day of the interview. 6. Plan your meal time appropriately. You should eat something before the interview, if just to avoid the loud stomach grumbles in the middle of the interview. Do not, under any circumstances, drink alcohol before your interview. One of my previous employers said he had several people walk into the interview with alcohol fumes on their breath, and he immediately eliminated them from the hiring process. Celebrate after the interview.Now that you have some great tips, use them! You might be anxious about the interview when you walk into the employer's office, but just think about the other potential candidates who failed to bring copies of their resume, frantically searched for parking, or forgot to research the employer properly. You are already several steps ahead of them, so put on a smile and work that interview. >
Taking LI’s Campaign Management School is like going to the “NFL from high school”
Mikayla Hall
September 14, 2011
Taking LI’s Campaign Management School is like going to the “NFL from high school”
September 14, 2011, Arlington, VA—The Campaign Management School held last week at the Leadership Institute was four full days and trained 22 students. David Wiesby said, “I am 58-years-old and have attended many schools and training events, but this is the best of the best. It is like going to the NFL from high school.”Stephen Clouse, president of Stephen Clouse & Associates, and James Davis, an associate with Brunswick Group, were among the expert faculty teaching at the school.“Before I attended I had no idea how to begin raising money, but I feel more prepared to get started,” said student Erin Ashley.Attendees learned how to create a campaign plan, target and identify voters, develop a message, pick one of the various fundraising strategies, and quickly and correctly respond to the media.Armed with this knowledge, graduates of LI's Campaign Management School go on to run and work on campaigns across the country.“[The Campaign Management School] was a comprehensive crash course on campaigning that maximizes content over a condensed time frame. …I plan to incorporate this training into my upcoming campaign for the West Virginia House of Delegates,” said Elliot Simon.Elliot learned of the Leadership Institute from his friends who are delegates in the West Virginia legislature: Jonathan Miller and Eric Householder.Want to learn how to run a quality campaign? The best campaign schools are now available monthly—during the first week of every month!Check out the Future Candidate School December 5th and Campaign Management School October 3rd. >
Fundraisers Needed
Andrea McCarthy
August 17, 2011
Fundraisers Needed
Let's face it, organizations need fundraisers. They need folks to write, ask, research, and plan events. Every day job listings for Directors of Development, Outside Membership Sales, Online Membership Coordinators, Directors of Major Gifts, Development Associates, and Interns are posted. While development jobs are plentiful these days, the fundraising field is competitive and only the strongest prevail. Like you, many job hunters are actively seeking a development position in the fundraising world. To set yourself apart from the competition, it is important to be armed with the political technology needed to stand out above the rest, and the Leadership Institute's High-Dollar Fundraising School can help.Hundreds of our nation's top fundraisers have attended the Leadership Institute's High Dollar Fundraising School. During this intensive two-day training you will learn keys to conducting effective fundraising events, why people give you money, tips to organize your development department, how to raise funds through personal solicitation, the nuts & bolts of private grant proposals, how to raise large donations from annuities, donated assets, and bequests, and much more! The next High Dollar Fundraising School will be held on September 12-13 at Leadership Institute headquarters in Arlington, VA. Registration for this class usually costs $150, but for ConservativeJobs.com users, it's only $60 when you use the promotion code HDFSCJ. For only $60 you will learn the ins and outs of development and fundraising from our expert faculty, enhance your resume, and expand your network. Meals, lodging, and all course materials are covered in the school cost. While lodging in our Leadership Institute dormitory is free, space is limited so make sure to register today!As an added bonus, when you register for the Leadership Institute's High-Dollar Fundraising School you are admitted FREE into our Online Fundraising Workshop the evening of September 12th! This live lecture will teach you how to develop an online fundraising strategy and utilize a diverse set of tools and media.Don't miss this incredible opportunity to learn from fundraising professionals and hone your development skills! Register today!>
When working on the Hill just isn't for you...
Matthew Hurtt
August 12, 2011
When working on the Hill just isn't for you...
Many fresh-faced ideological young Republicans and Democrats make the big move to Washington, D.C. with grand dreams of working for their Member of Congress, only to find it's pretty hard to break in on the Hill. Most offices want you to intern for little or no pay for weeks before possibly being offered a position. And if nothing opens up, then you're tasked with networking your way to a Staff Assistant or Legislative Correspondent job somewhere else. Maybe. But perhaps the Hill isn't for you. Admittedly, it's something I thought I wanted to do last year after finishing work on a campaign, but it takes a different kind of person to work in Congress. For instance, I'm a little more opinionated and a little too idealistic to work in an office for a Member who has an “R” or “D” next to their name. While I tend to vote for candidates of one Party over another, I'm hesitant to carry their water, especially if I disagree with the policy. And believe me, I disagree a lot. But what are the other options? There are countless associations, nonprofits, advocacy organizations, and other places for prospective young jobseekers, and turnover is sometimes pretty high. People move on or move up frequently. Use resources like ConservativeJobs, Brad Traverse, the Heritage Job bank, and others to find work. And most importantly, network and develop contacts. Being successful in Washington – on or off the Hill – requires a tremendous level of networking. And certainly don't think the Hill is your only option. I've worked in three different jobs since I moved to Washington: the nonprofit sector, a political campaign, and now in the private sector. I love the hours and the work. There is no shortage of opportunities here. While many people move to Washington to work on the Hill for a Member of Congress, there are countless other political and government careers in D.C.>
Students learn media manners at LI’s Advanced Public Relations School this week
Noelle Huffman and Lauren Hart
August 5, 2011
Students learn media manners at LI’s Advanced Public Relations School this week
August 5, 2011, Arlington, VA— “Be a resource,” Jim Eltringham, vice president of Advocacy Group, Inc, said. “You will always go back to your resources, so mind your media manners!”Students learned how to develop media manners this week at the Leadership Institute's Advanced Public Relations School. Constructing appropriate responses in crises situations, writing effective press releases, conducting informative interviews, and holding focused press conferences were among the many topics addressed by expert faculty.LI Faculty member Ian Ivey, program expert at General Services Administration, shared tips for helpful argumentation. “No matter how brilliant the response, if you are slow on uptake, your communications strategy will fail.”“Timing is the most important aspect,” Ian continued, “you must have targeted and emotional communication, while getting it out fast enough to be effective. You must get your message out before it's framed.”For LI student Sam Sheetz who works in U.S. Representative Sam Johnson's office, the most important skill gained was “learning how to perform under pressure and answer tough questions.”Peter Smith, another student at this week's Advanced PR School, summed up his experience: “It's a fun, educational experience with value regardless of the profession; it opens your eyes to new perspectives and helps develop new skills. The school is a valuable resource.”Ian discussed strategies to assess numerous “plays” enacted in public relations, both good and bad. Students interacted with the faculty members to determine specific PR techniques in proposed situations.“Just because you run a play doesn't mean it will work,” Ian warned. “Even if you know what the play is.”LI student Jennifer Lundy, project assistant at Areva Enrichment Services, described the training as “a great place to learn, to network, and to advance the conservative movement in many aspects of your life.” She plans to use her newly acquired skills in “future campaign or political opportunities to shape the message and win.”Vice President of Advocacy Group Inc. and former LI staffer Jim Eltringham communicated the four critical “R's” when dealing with the media: relationship, response, respect, and resource. In order to attain all four, “you must get your foot in the door and make it easy for a reporter to pay attention to you,” Jim explained. “Boil complex issues down so they can be understood quickly.”Jim urged students to “argue factually and pointedly and to never assume yourself off the record.”In order to apply the many media techniques addressed, Erik Hower at AT&T and Eric Slee of the DCI Group held a mock press conference. Students divided into teams and prepared remarks to present in front of “reporters.” Challenging questions were encouraged and all participants received valuable feedback on their comments.Bryan Fuentes of Healthcare Information and Management Systems Society said, “I learn something new every time I attend the Leadership Institute.”You too can learn new techniques in communication and other areas. Check out LI's upcoming trainings here to register early and receive a discount. >
Become a Contributing Writer for LI's Campus Reform
Brittney Morrett and Lauren Hart
August 3, 2011
Become a Contributing Writer for LI's Campus Reform
August 3, 2011—Arlington, VA—Want to promote conservative principles and make some extra money on the side?Submit a blog post to the Leadership Institute's CampusReform.org's Contributing Writer Program! This is a great way to build your resume, get published, and strengthen your writing skills.For each post that receives 150 unique hits or more within 24 hours of publication, Campus Reform will give you $30! Up to 10 prizes per week will be awarded for a 10 week period. The official start date is Sunday, September 4, 2011.Requirements:• You must be a registered student.• You must be a registered user of CampusReform.org.• Blogs should be in line with Campus Reform's general mission and promote conservative values.• The post must contain original content.To submit your post, write it on CampusReform.org and post it to the appropriate college sub-site. After saving and posting your blog, send the URL to Brittney Morrett.In the e-mail please include your name, school, and class year. Put "Contributing Writer Program Submission" in the subject line. For more information on the program, or how to get involved in conservative activism on your campus, contact your Regional Field Coordinator!>
Do You Really Want to Work on Capitol Hill?
Andrea McCarthy
August 1, 2011
Do You Really Want to Work on Capitol Hill?
Jobseekers are constantly coming to me asking for advice on how to launch a career on Capitol Hill. And I always tell them something they don't want to hear...take an internship. Even if it's unpaid. In almost every job description I see for a Hill staffer position (even the entry-level ones) Hill experience is required. Understanding of how Capitol Hill operates is more important to many offices than state ties are. So how do you get the all-important experience? Intern. I understand that many jobseekers can't afford to take unpaid internships, but that does not change the fact that Hill experience is almost always required for paid positions. And if a jobseeker is truly passionate about and committed to working for a Member of Congress, they should be prepared to intern for free and work a second job to pay the bills. Many veteran Hill staffers got their start interning while waiting tables, bartending or working at a department store. They truly wanted their dream job and worked hard to get it. They paid their dues and are now Legislative Directors or Chiefs of Staff. If those are titles you want someday, consider an internship. Many offices are flexible with hours, especially if the internship is unpaid, so a second job should be reasonable.And once you do obtain that internship, make the most of it. Be a diligent, hardworking member of the team. Network as much as possible. Make friends in other offices. Schedule meetings with veteran staffers. Send your resume to hiring managers of Members with whom you'd like a full time position . Go to meetings. Attend trainings. Turn the internship into your stepping stone to a staff position. Many offices are looking for Fall interns. Check out all the listings on ConservativeJobs.com and take the first steps toward your career on Capitol Hill.>
Largest On Record:  LI’s Written Communications Workshop Welcomes 114 Aspiring Communicators
Noelle Huffman and Lauren Hart
July 21, 2011
Largest On Record: LI’s Written Communications Workshop Welcomes 114 Aspiring Communicators
July 21, 2011, Arlington, VA—Efficient social media, impactful journalism, conservative media trends, and relevant Op-Eds, press releases, and media advisories are all essential aspects of effective communication. At this week's largest-ever Leadership Institute Written Communications Workshop students learned how to acquire and apply these very tools in public policy.LI welcomed more than 114 current and aspiring political writers who had the pleasure of learning from expert faculty such as Lindsey Mask, communications director for Congressman McKeon; Amanda Carpenter, senior communications advisor for Senator DeMint; American Conservative Union CPAC Director Christopher Malagisi; and others.“LI provided me with training to improve my ability to communicate with our company leaders on a daily basis,” commented Scott McGeary, attorney and area manager at Washington Gas.Former LI staffer and the Daily Caller's Senior Contributor Matt Lewis spoke on the conservative media landscape and current trends.“Everyone has an opinion; everybody owns a megaphone and a ‘printing press'. You are competing against all who can press ‘print now,” Lewis said, referring to the waning practice of blogging and the movement from strictly opinion pieces to both opinion and fact-based writing. “People are looking for new information and substantial content: find your niche.”Lewis also exhorted students to be relevant and timely. “Be accurate, fair, and credible—and get it done five minutes ago! Timeliness in writing is so important—three or four minutes often make the difference. Be fast, accurate, and beat the other guy to the punch, but never sacrifice accuracy for speed.”Dan Graham, principle of Graham Associates, shared the importance of audience analysis, avoidance of logical errors in sentence structure, elimination of “deadwood” or ambivalent words, and comprehension and improvement of readability.Dan shared hints for capturing and holding the audience's attention: “The better you know someone, the better you can tell them what you do; present tense is conducive, as opposed to speculative future tense; when writing in the passive voice, you have readers guessing wrong.”Christopher Malagisi, director of the Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) of the American Conservative Union, outlined the elements of an effective op-ed and Communications Director Lindsey Mask touched on the basic components and variance of successful press releases and media advisories.“The best writers are those who niche themselves in one or two specific areas,” Chris said. “A lot of people in politics are generalists—what is one unique thing that can set you apart? You may want to weigh in on the national political environment, but you are an expert on what is going on in your community.”Students enjoyed interacting with each other and faculty members, while gaining valuable insights into the current political writing scene. Areva Enrichment Services Project Assistant Jennifer Lundy described the training as “a great way to learn and network with fellow conservatives.”Intern Brianna Walden of the Family Research Council said, “Many concepts that I had floating around in my head were really defined and nailed down at this workshop. My biggest take-away: develop your own niche.”Brianna summarized her experience: “The Leadership Institute offers thorough and enlightening training sessions and the Written Communications Workshop was no exception. I gained practical tools that will help me throughout life whether I enter a career in communications or not.”She went onto conclude: “I am now better equipped to market myself online and have gained the tools to help my writing in everyday life.”Please click here to register for an upcoming LI training. >
9 Tips to a Successful Interview
Mariya Swella
July 15, 2011
9 Tips to a Successful Interview
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Can ConservativeJobs.com Really Help Me?
Mariya Swella
July 7, 2011
Can ConservativeJobs.com Really Help Me?
There are so many job sites out there that are designed to assist you in your job search. But how many of them really work to match you with your perfect dream job? Stephanie Freedman, former LI intern and ConservativeJobs.com user, found her dream job with the help of Andrea McCarthy and ConservativeJobs.com. Here is an interview that I had with Stephanie to talk about her success as a job seeker. 1. For which organization do you work?I work at the Independent Institute. We are a policy think tank that works with 10 senior fellows to research the different political issues and produce tangible published works (op eds, books). We publish everything at the company, and promote the new development. 2. What is your current position?I am the Publicity Coordinator in the communications department. I am responsible for tracking media and where the seniors have been placed, post successes on the website and social media. I work with scholars and supervisors to edit pieces and reach out to the media outlets and tell everyone what's happening at the organization. I handle a lot of media calls and media relations.3. How did you find out about the job?I heard about the job through the Employment Placement Services (EPS) at The Leadership Institute (LI). I was searching for jobs for the website and came across it. I posted it on CJ.com, and then applied. Andrea assisted me in the research I needed and did a follow up call on my behalf. It was Andrea's follow up call that assisted in moving my resume to the top and eventually led to the employment.4. Did Andrea refer you?Yes.5. Did Andrea help you with your resume?Absolutely. We started working on my resume toward the middle of the internship. We sat down and Andrea helped assess my resume and strengths that I have. She had me read What Color is Your Parachute? by Richard Nelson Bolles and fill out the job flower which gave me different things to assess for my professional skills. Andrea walked through the whole job hunting process with me.6. How did having a ConservativeJobs.com profile assist in the process of locating a job?The website is very helpful. Seekers are able to search in the key words, titles, and areas in which they are looking. Seekers are able to sift through the jobs. The design of ConservativeJobs.com gives you the ability to fill out a good portion about yourself. The website also allows the employers to see even more about you than just receiving a resume. 7. What were the different steps of the interview process that you went through?I first had a short phone interview right after the internship, and I talked with my now direct supervisor. I was offered an in person interview where I sat down with the Communications Director and VP. They asked me about my background with LI, education, policy questions, etc. The interview was roughly 4 or 5 hours long. Finally, I sat down with the COL of the organization, followed by the President, and talked a lot about public policy. I was offered the job four or five days later. 8. How do you like your job?I love my job. It was a very good match. Andrea really listened to what my interests are. I wanted to be able to use both my degrees as well as be back in Northern California near my family. I'm very blessed to be here. Andrea and ConservativeJobs.com played a large role in my placement. 9. What is your favorite aspect of the job?I'm really enjoying being able to see what's going in the country and the world, and being able to correlate the work that we do with everything that is going on. 10. Do you think you would have discovered this job if it weren't for conservativejobs.com?No. I don't think I would have found the job if it wasn't for LI. If it wasn't for CJ and being under Andrea's wing I wouldn't have even known where to look. The website really helped streamline what I wanted.11. What advice do you have for job seekers using ConservativeJobs.com? About their profile? About their resumes? About using EPS?Genuinely assess everything you have done. Don't make your resume fit the cookie cutter. Make sure there are things on there that make you stand out, whatever that may be. You have to have the skill set, but it's the extra activity that does make you stand out. Understand the strengths you possess that make you stand out. Do the research; make sure you have the proper background for which they are looking. Reach out to whoever you can. (Hmmm networking really is important!) 12. Do you and would you recommend conservativejobs.com to other job seekers?I would definitely recommend it! It not only provides a large array of jobs, but it also gives you a full staff and support system around you. Andrea reaches out to everyone on the site, and takes the person's needs and matches them with their dream job. So there you have it. A real life story, with real positive results. Please do not hesitate to contact Andrea McCarthy. She really has a heart for helping people. Good luck on your job searching! >
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