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Interview with Brian Weeks

Posted By Nikki Enfield, Wednesday, June 03, 2009
Brian Weeks currently serves as Assistant Director for the Political Action Department at AFSCME International.

What was your first job in politics and how did you get it?

Racine County Coordinator, Les Aspin for Congress

I had interned in the campaign office of Les Aspin during the summer while in college. They offered me a job on the campaign. I accepted and postponed my college career by a semester.

Describe your career path since that first job.  Why did you take the jobs that you did?

Campaigns, campaigns, campaigns.

I've worked on campaigns in a variety of capacities and in over 20 states. Everything from county supervisor to president. Campaign work is exciting and you meet great people that you'll work with the rest of your life.

What are the three most important skills for being successful in politics and why?

Being trustworthy. If you say you're going to do something, do it.
Integrity. Don't compromise your principles.
Leadership. Work at making your team and those around you better, more productive and more successful. Managing is not the same as leading.

When you're hiring, is there anything in particular on a resume that makes you pick up the phone to schedule an interview? Is there anything that gets the resume tossed into the circular file post-haste?

Quantify your work. Explain how and why something you worked on was successful.

Always be honest.

What would be your first step if you were looking for a job in the progressive political world today?

Meet with as many people as possible, even informational interviews are helpful. When I first moved to DC, I had friends and others I had worked with set up informational meetings for me all over the city. Through these meetings I found out about a job opportunity and the person I met with helped me get that job.

Is there a piece of advice or words of wisdom that you'd learned over the years that you wish you'd known when you started in your first job?

Don't fall into the trap thinking that everything revolves around DC. The real work gets done in states and those that have state and field experience will be better off in the long run.

Tags:  afscme  career advice  job advice 

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