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Don't Do This

Posted By Seth Tanner, Sunday, March 26, 2017
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Job Seeking Resolutions for 2015

Posted By Lucy Hall, Tuesday, December 30, 2014
Updated: Monday, December 29, 2014

Job Seeking Resolutions for 2015

It’s that time of the year. Time to review the past 365 days and time to look forward to the next. Here are some thoughts for making and sticking to your Career Search related resolutions for 2015:

1.     Prioritize Your Goals: It is much easier to get somewhere when you have a path or plan.  Take the time to put your goals and aspirations down in black and white. You don’t have to go as far as a vision board, but you will benefit from putting your thoughts to paper.

2.     Be SMART: A great way to achieve some of these recently written goals is to be SMART about them. Make them Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Relevant, and Time-based.

3.     Invest in Professional Development: Not a dues-paying member of Democratic GAIN yet? There’s no time like the present for you to renew, upgrade or join! Just follow the steps here and you’ll be on your way to GAINing full access to our member benefits.

4.     Communicate: Communication is key. Make sure to clearly articulate your needs, as well as what you understand your tasks and responsibilities to be. If you have a question or are unsure – ask! You will save yourself and others time and energy by communicating clearly.  

5.     Refresh Your Knowledge: Attend a training or two to enhance and hone your skills. Be sure to visit GAIN’s Event Calendar for upcoming training opportunities.

6.     Network: Work your network! You have so many resources in the contacts you have made personally and professionally. Use them to learn more about current opportunities and to meet people who can help you make more connections. Take advantage of GAIN’s Career Counseling as a great way to expand your network.

7.     Think Outside the Box, or Organization: While it is great if there is a clear path for professional advancement at the organization where you are currently working, sometimes it helps to look outside the organization. It can also help to look outside the industry. Be sure to visit our Skills Match sheet with information about how to take the skills and experience you have and apply them to other positions. And be sure to check out GAIN’s Job Board for current listings.

8.     Help Others: Odds are someone was there to help you when you began your career. If you are in a position to help others (and you probably are), you should. It can be as little as taking a coffee meeting with a friend’s nephew who is looking to get started or as big as volunteering or joining the board of an organization. And it is a great way to expand your network, and your karma.

9.     Negotiate a Raise: Don’t be afraid to negotiate for a raise or for your salary from the start. Need some help, advice, or someone to practice or role play? GAIN’s Career Counseling is a great resource!

10.  Eat the Frog: This is a great piece of advice and it comes from the brilliant Mark Twain. Do the harder or more unpleasant items on your daily to do list first. You will feel a sense of accomplishment early in the day and you’ll be on your way to having a productive day and year!

Tags:  Job Seeking  New Year  Resolutions 

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Hiring Superstars

Posted By Alexandra Acker Lyons, Monday, October 15, 2012
Updated: Monday, October 15, 2012
GAIN partnered with The Management Center to bring you a webinar on Hiring Superstars. Jerry Hauser, CEO of The Management Center and author of the book Managing to Change the World provided tips and insight on hiring strategically. Just in case you missed it, we're happy to provide it below!

Hiring Superstars from Democratic GAIN on Vimeo.

Tags:  hiring advice  skills building 

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Got an interview coming up?

Posted By GAIN STAFF, Tuesday, February 21, 2012
Ever wonder how to prepare besides doing your research? Not sure about following up?

Check out these three tips:

1 - Build a rapport with the people in the interview - engage in a little bit of small talk at the beginning - they want to know if your personality will be a good fit with other people on the campaign or at the organization.

2 - Make it clear you are interested in the position and the organization and don't focus on "What’s in it for me?” They want someone who is passionate about the candidate/mission/goals. Remember, it’s about them… they want to know how you can make their lives better!

3 - Send personalized thank you letters to every person that was in the interview - thank them again for taking the time to speak with you, and reaffirm why you will be a good fit for the position and note a few things you discussed in the interview.

Want some more great tips to do before, during and after your interview? Check out this article!

Tags:  career development  interview advice  interview tips  interviews 

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Networking at the dinner table

Posted By Sara Swezy, GAIN Intern, Monday, February 13, 2012

Who doesn’t enjoy networking with like-minded individuals while having a great meal?

The latest networking website involves both- Grubwithus aims to get people together for real face to face conversation. Now that the digital world has taken over, communication between people usually takes place online or by phone. Grubwithus emphasizes the importance of taking relationships offline.

This is an excellent networking opportunity, whether you are searching for a job, a professional looking to transition into a different career, or someone new to the city who just wants to meet people with similar interests.

They even have an "Elections” group for those interested in politics, working on campaigns and include politically themed meals. There are local chapters in most major cities, including Washington, DC. Establishing a network could be easy and fun with a resource like this! Check out their website for more information and locations.

Tags:  get a job  Networking  washington dc 

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Job Interview Questions- Don’t Get Stumped

Posted By Sara Swezy, GAIN Intern, Thursday, February 9, 2012

Preparation is the number one tool for job interviews. Ever wonder what the most common questions are that interviewers ask, and the best ways to respond?

Check it out:

5 Common Interview Questions:
-Tell me about yourself
-Why do you think you are the best fit for this job?
-Why would you be an asset to this company?
-Why are you interested in our company?
-Elaborate on your experiences- what were some key takeaways?

How to answer them and stand out as a star candidate:
-Don’t ramble on with your life story, keep it short and highlight what makes you interesting and talented.
-Briefly describe your best skills and how your experience relates to the position and how you could apply your experiences to the duties of this new position.
-Emphasize your personality traits, such as: dedication, loyalty, passion for this type of work, detail-oriented, organized, etc.
-Research the organization or company thoroughly. Be able to cite specific projects, the company’s success and your knowledge and interest in the particular field.
-Don’t read off of your resume word for word, but pick out one or two things from each experience to highlight. And always quantify your experiences. For example, if you handled a budget of $5,000 for an event, state it.

Finally, be sure to ask thoughtful questions of your own! Remain calm and confident, show them that you are the best person for this job and you’ll be well on your way to the top of the candidate list. Don’t forget to send a handwritten thank you note to the people you interviewed with and follow up with the company if you haven’t heard anything back within a week.

For more information on job interviews, check out these articles from New Grad Life and The Ladders.

Tags:  career development  interview advice  interview tips  interviews  job advice 

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“Want to chat over a cup of coffee?” How to start the conversation and build your network!

Posted By Sara Swezy, GAIN Intern, Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Check out this article for networking advice and examples. We’ve highlighted the most important steps for establishing and expanding your network!

-Let everyone know that you are looking for a job! Including family, friends, neighbors, college alumni, etc. Ask if they know anyone in your desired field.
-Politely ask if you can have their contact information or if they will introduce you.

-After the introductions, arrange to meet for half an hour for an informational interview over coffee or lunch, or possibly stop by their office.
-When you meet, do not ask them for a job! You are there to get advice, learn about their experiences and make more connections.
-Explain your career goals and what kind of position you are looking for.
-Ask if they can suggest anyone else for you to meet with… usually they will give you a couple contacts.
-After your informational interview, be sure to thank them by email or a handwritten note.
-Don’t forget to follow up- keep them updated on your job search and let them know you met with the people they suggested.

Online- LinkedIn:
-The process is slightly different, but check out this article from Career Builder and you’ll be on your way to establishing a large network!

For more networking advice, you can still purchase our Networking for a Job webinar online here!

Tags:  career advice  career development  informational interview  job seeking  Networking 

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Cover Letters and Resumes- Did you make these mistakes?

Posted By Sara Swezy, GAIN Intern, Tuesday, February 7, 2012

You’re applying for a job online and are directed to send your resume and cover letter by email to the HR staff. Seems easy enough, right? Before you hit send, be sure you know what NOT to do when writing cover letters and resumes.

Check out New Grad Life articles for advice on cover letters and resumes! This is a breakdown of the most important points to remember.

Cover Letters

-If you only attach your cover letter to the email, it might not go through or even get opened. Be sure to paste it within the body of the email as well.
-Providing information that doesn’t match with the position- Read the description and qualifications clearly. You will not be selected if your qualifications and skills in the cover letter do not match with their needs.
-Forgetting to express why you’re the best- Don’t be arrogant, but let them know why your experience and qualifications make you the perfect person for the job.

Biggest Mistakes on Resumes:

-Formatting and organization
-Unimpressive job descriptions
-Spelling and grammar

Don’t fall into the common mistakes category:

-Always have multiple people proof read and edit for you
-Don’t always rely on spell-check
-Keep it to one classic font
-Organize with bullet points
-Use action verbs and quantify your experiences

For more resume tips, check out our blog on federal resumes!

Tags:  career advice  career development  cover letters  get a job  resume advice 

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How to Use Social Media to Find a Job

Posted By Sara Swezy, GAIN Intern, Monday, February 6, 2012

Love spending time on social media websites? They might just land you a job. But you have to know how to use them in the right way.

Check out this helpful article from Social Media Examiner:

Highlights from the article 10 Tips for Finding a Job Using Facebook and LinkedIn:

-Did you know you can use Facebook as a business page? Set up your own page to show your professional accomplishments and create a brand for yourself.

-Are you on LinkedIn? If you are a job seeker, a LinkedIn profile is essential. Once your LinkedIn profile is set up, be sure to have a professional headline that stands out amongst other applicants. If you’re looking to connect with someone in a certain industry or with a specific job title, use the advanced people search tool to find them.

In the 2012 digital world, your online presence is something that could get you hired or fired. Read the rest of the top 10 tips and establish your own professional brand online. Check back on our blog for upcoming career development advice! If you don’t already, be sure to follow us on Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn.

Tags:  career advice  career development  Facebook  get a job  job seeking  LinkedIn  social media 

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Remember to avoid these top ten mistakes on your federal resume!

Posted By Sara Swezy, GAIN Intern, Tuesday, January 24, 2012
For all you job seekers, check out this helpful article:

FedSmith: Top 10 Common Pitfalls In Your Federal Resume

Make sure to avoid these common mistakes on your resume. Remember, when applying for jobs, especially online- your resume is the first impression employers will see. You want it to reflect your skills and abilities in an impressive way.  

#2 Weak presentation of your accomplishments: If your accomplishments are hiding in a long paragraph or surrounded with unnecessary information, you won’t get an interview. Make sure your accomplishments stand out in distinct paragraphs and use engaging action verbs.  

#4 Keywords are missing: Most HR professionals receive hundreds of resumes and are looking for a specific skill set. Don’t use the same version of your resume for every job application. Make sure your resume matches the keywords in the job announcement and satisfies what the employers look for in the ideal candidate.  

Don’t forget, if you weren’t able to attend our resume workshop last week, you can still register to get a copy of the webinar online. It’s full of helpful tips and expert advice from those in the industry.

Tags:  career advice  learn from pros  resume advice 

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