Print Page | Contact Us | Your Cart | Sign In | Register
GAINing Ground
Blog Home All Blogs

Tips for Career Fair Attendees

Posted By Alexandra Acker Lyons, Thursday, January 7, 2010
Democratic GAIN's Career Fair is just two weeks away!

Don't waste time -- here are some tips for how you can put your best face forward and impress employers!
  1. Update your profile and upload your resume on the GAIN website.  Often, employers will search the site for candidates who fit their criteria rather than posting the job publicly (or they'll do both!)
  2. Attend GAIN's resume workshop on Wednesday, January 20th.  
  3. Can't attend or won't be in DC?  Check out our resume tips.
  4. Be sure to attend GAIN's Networking Happy Hour on Thursday, January 21st.  If you're already registered for the Career Fair, you don't need to register for the Happy Hour.
  5. If you're unemployed, print up some business cards at home to pass out as you network.
  6. Do your homework!  We're updating our list of confirmed employers every day -- if you're not familiar with the organization, check out their website and see if they have posted current openings.
Be sure to bring plenty of copies of your updated resume with you to the Career Fair!

Tags:  career advice  career fair  job advice  job search  job seeking 

Share |
PermalinkComments (1)

More Employers sign up for Career Fair

Posted By Alexandra Acker Lyons, Tuesday, January 5, 2010
More employers have signed up to attend Democratic GAIN's Career Fair!
They're hiring NOW for campaigns, non-profits, issue advocacy, labor organizing, consulting firms, and more!

Check out our current list -- growing every day:
  • Democracy for America
  • Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee
  • Democratic Governors Association
  • Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee
  • EMILY’s List
  • FieldWorks
  • Field Strategies
  • Grassroots Campaigns
  • Mammen Group
  • National Education Association
  • Organizing for America
  • Parkside Group
  • SEIU
  • Winning Connections
Haven't signed up for the Career Fair yet?  Register today!

Tags:  career fair  employers  get a job  job seeking  jobs 

Share |
PermalinkComments (1)

GAIN Career Fair!

Posted By Alexandra Acker Lyons, Thursday, December 17, 2009
Democratic GAIN is pleased to announce that we will be hosting a CAREER FAIR on Friday, January 22nd in Washington, DC.  This is a great opportunity for you to find your next job opportunity in politics!

We have already confirmed these top employers:
  • Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee
  • Democratic Governors Association
  • Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee
  • EMILY’s List
  • National Education Association
  • Organizing for America
  • SEIU
Of course, as more and more employers confirm their attendance at the Career Fair, we will keep you posted!

Want to come?  Here’s what to do:

First, register online. If you’re a GAIN member, the Career Fair is just $10 (you must be logged in to get your discount!).  For non-members, the Career Fair is $20.  You must pick one session to attend – morning or afternoon. 

Second, be sure to update your profile at  Make sure all of your employment information is up to date and that you have uploaded your resume.  Often, employers will search our resume database without posting a job publicly.

Third, attend one of our resume workshops to make sure your resume will get noticed at the Career Fair!

Career Fair participants will also receive a free ticket to GAIN’s Networking Happy Hour on Thursday, January 21st at SEIU.  And, at the Career Fair, you can sign up to receive one-on-one career assistance and advice from political veterans.

Again, GAIN members receive a 50% discount!  Not a GAIN member?  This is the perfect time to join!

Tags:  career fair  employers  get a job  job seeking  jobs 

Share |
PermalinkComments (0)

Using the Holidays for Networking

Posted By Alexandra Acker Lyons, Monday, November 30, 2009
The holidays can be a depressing time to be a job seeker, as employers tend not to post jobs between Thanksgiving and the New Year.  Don't get too down though -- this is a terrific time to network and expand your list of contacts.

Holiday parties aren't just for fruit cake and cocktails; they are for collecting business cards.  Ask around about any upcoming events that are open to non-employees and GO!  Come armed with business cards (make your own at home if you're not currently employed) and pass them out like it's your job -- 'cause it is!  When you receive someone's business card, be sure to write down where you met them and anything noteworthy that you discussed.  Ask if you can send a follow up email or take them to coffee in the near future.

Don't be embarrassed about being unemployed or looking for a job -- we've all been there and chances are, people are more than happy to help.  Tell one and all what you are looking to do next.  Make sure you have your sales pitch down; nothing is more important than selling yourself!  Be as specific as possible.  For instance, saying, I want to work in development for an advocacy organization will give people a lot more to work with than just saying, I want to get in to fundraising.

Finally, use holiday cards to your advantage.  They are a great way to stay in touch with old contacts and to keep your name on the forefront of someone's mind.  A simple, "Hope to see you in the New Year" will suffice for getting back in touch.

Tags:  career advice  career development  get a job  job advice  job search  job seeking  networking  networking event 

Share |
PermalinkComments (0)

WaPo: Looking for a Job in the Administration

Posted By Seth Tanner, Monday, April 13, 2009
The Washington Post's Ian Shapira wrote a must-read last week about former campaign workers moving to DC to look for a job in the Administration.

"Flocking to the District's creative-class encampments of Mount Pleasant, the U Street corridor and Dupont and Logan circles, people in their 20s and 30s -- those, that is, with a liberal bent -- are prowling progressive Wiki pages and joining Google groups in the hunt for an Obama job. Those already employed elsewhere are secretly uploading their résumés to, while others are quitting their jobs to concentrate on the search.

Some are deft anglers: Melody Mathews, 29, a former Obama field worker-turned-Navy contractor, co-hosted a celebratory dinner recently at Old Ebbitt Grill that included top Army brass with whom she campaigned. Her hope is that they will get presidential appointments and, in turn, hire her. Others, such as Noland Chambliss, 25, a former Obama deputy field director, are in come-down mode. He applied for a position in the Energy Department but hasn't heard anything for months. So he has applied for a job at a pizza shop near his shared house off U Street NW."

Something to keep in mind, there were comparable numbers of Obama campaign staff to the number of government positions that could be filled by non-civil service. Add in non-OFA, but allied staff, and the numbers are not in the favor of the job seeker. Many of these non-civil service jobs do not relate well to campaign skills, since they are highly policy based.

A word of advice to those of you with your heart set on working in the Administration:  Don't forget that President Obama will be in office until January 20th, 2013, and at the rate he (and the potential opposition) is going, January 20th, 2017.  That leaves 4, if not 8 years, to get the chance to serve.  There will be time for many people to start in Administration jobs years down the line. 

So, in the meantime, try finding some jobs at organizations that will help support the President's agenda or help maintain the majority in Congress.  Administration jobs have a notoriously high burn-out rate, and you'll have time to serve at some point, if not today.  And if you are growing your skillsets and network in other roles, you'll be in a better position for a better job when your turn comes.

Tags:  job seeking  networking  white house 

Share |
PermalinkComments (0)

New Media Opportunities in Administration

Posted By Nikki Enfield, Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Looking for an opportunity in New Media?  This opportunity just came in from NOI through email:

Friends --


I'm working with Macon Phillips who runs New Media at the White House to recruit individuals for the new media director positions for the federal agencies.  Below is a basic job description for the positions, although they will vary depending on the agency.  If you are interested, please email your resume and describe your skills and areas of interest (energy, defense, etc.) to and put "Administration" in the subject line.  All submissions will be kept confidential.

If you are a former OFA staffer, we have your info and are working on placements.  If you submitted your information previously through, please note that in your email. 


New Media Director of an Agency

The New Media Director of an Agency of the Executive branch will work closely with the Communications Team within the agency to:

  • Coordinate written, video, design, and development content
  • Update, maintain, coordinate and develop web site, e-mail, various online social platform outreach, video, and other new media initiatives
  • Get copy & messaging communications cleared by appropriate staff, and other departments if applicable
  • Direct the schedule, timing and overall strategy of online program
  • Liaison with other functional areas of the Department/Agency to better integrate online programming
  • Investigate ways in which the agency can use new media tools to broaden and strengthen the agency's reach and presence

The New Media Director will be responsible for:

  • All new media communications, including but not limited to content, functionality, scheduling and execution
  • Maintaining the agency's agenda and message
  • Managing other new media staff
  • The overall technical performance, maintenance, and development of websites outreach platforms
  • Working closely with the technical team to maintain best practice sites, security, and performance
  • Interpreting and reporting various site statistics on a regular basis, and using these results to improve traffic and the effectiveness of the agency's content and outreach efforts

Job Requirements:

  • Exceptional communication and organizational skills
  • Technical proficiency in day-to-day site administration or design and experience in getting results through vendors or contractors
  • Ability to manage multiple people and projects in a fast-paced, deadline-driven environment, and superior attention to detail
  • Experience with online content and constituent management systems, understanding of online graphics and design, and knowledge of web analytics software and metrics
  • Experience with web programming languages and development

Tags:  administration  job seeking 

Share |
PermalinkComments (0)

Interview with Bob Blaemire

Posted By Nikki Enfield, Wednesday, January 28, 2009

This week we continue our series of interviews with political operatives across the spectrum.  This week we have Robert Blaemire of Catalist, LLC.  Do you have questions you want us to ask in these interviews?  Be sure to leave them in the comments and we'll incorporate them into future interviews.

Robert Blaemire is the Director of Business Development at Catalist, LLC. He is formerly the founder and president of Blaemire Communications. Catalist is transforming the way progressive organizations communicate and campaign by creating a comprehensive, well-maintained national database of all voting-age individuals in the United States, along with the tools and expertise needed to make this database broadly accessible, at an affordable price.  As many ouf you know, they were instrumental in many recent Democratic victories.
1. Describe your job
Develop new business at Catalist, handle ad hoc requests, consultant subscribers, email matching. Also run the quality assurance divisision of the company, requiring me to approve all steps of voter file creation process.
2. How would you describe your career path? How did you get started in progressive politics?
I began working for US Senator Birch Bayh (D-IN) as a freshman in college and stayed there 13 years, finishing as Political Director of the 1980 unsuccessful re-election campaign. I then got involved in the business of building voter files in 1982, eventually moving to run the Washington Office of a California political computer firm (Below, Tobe & Assoc.). After 8 years there, I founded Blaemire Communications. Working with Democratic State Parties, Democratic candidates and progressive organizations, managed more of the Democratic State party voter file projects than any other vendor. Our company merged with Catalist in December 2007. 
3. What are the three most important skills for success in the progressive politics?
  • Do good work you can be proud of;
  • Treat clients, colleagues and prospects as you'd like to be treated yourself;
  • Don't take yourself too seriously.
4. When you're hiring, is there anything in particular on a resume that makes you pick up the phone to schedule an interview?
Just the facts. Don't make something sound like it isn't in reality. 
5. What should job-seekers keep in mind when interviewing?
When you interview, that's the office/place you most want to be. Practice humility. Interviewer is unlikely to think you are as great as you may think you are.

Thanks Robert!

Tags:  advice  job seeking 

Share |
PermalinkComments (0)

Interview with Jim Carroll

Posted By Nikki Enfield, Wednesday, January 21, 2009
Last week we launched our series of interviews with political operatives across the spectrum.  This week, we bring you our second interview with Jim Carroll.  Read it below.  And if you missed it, check out last week's interview with Matt Mansell as well as other career advice posted on GAINing Ground.
Jim Carroll is the Managing Director of Equality California, a statewide organization that has been building a state of equality in California for the past decade. In the past 10 years, Equality California has strategically moved California from a state with extremely limited legal protections for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) individuals to a state with some of the most comprehensive civil rights protections in the nation. Jim has been with EQCA for the past five years.
1. Describe your job
My responsibility is to execute the tactics necessary to implement the Executive Director's strategic vision and make that vision a reality. On a day-to-day basis, that means allocating resources to accomplish our goals, including financial resources, human resources, technical resources, etc.
2. How would you describe your career path? How did you get started in progressive politics?
I was a commercial lender at a large bank. My portfolio included many non-profits, so I was required to understand the intricacies of non-profit accounting. This led to a job offer from one of my clients to help them straighten out their books. Non-profit money management and operations, more broadly - led seamlessly to non-profit fundraising. It turns out that non-profit development was a natural fit for my skill set since selling commercial banking services is similar to acquiring donations. In both cases a conversation with the client/donor is required to convince them that investing their money with the bank or non-profit is the place where they'll find the highest return on their dollars. The combination of Development and Operation skill sets gave me a good start; from there I learned the Communications and Program/Field components on the job.
I've had fifteen years to learn: Five years at EQCA, and before that five years at the Breast Cancer Fund and five more at PFLAG.
3. What are the three most important skills for success in the progressive politics?
Number One: Flexibility. You have to be willing to alter your approach, tactics, resources - to the opportunities that present themselves. Too many people stick to their plan, regardless of the outcomes. Too many more claim success when the available metrics don't support the claim.
Number Two: Clear Communication. So much of what we do isn't measurable - we're not creating shareholder profit, or measuring ROI - so you have to be able to communicate value in ways that are compelling across many different kinds of venues. Web, social networking, snail mail, face-to-face meetings, phone, events, etc. are all communications opportunities at their core.
Number Three: Leadership. It's a rare skill. The ability of senior staff to lead donors, stake holders, community, staff, board, etc. toward goals is the difference between good organizations and average organizations.
4. 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?
Misspellings and grammatical errors = doom. If the candidate didn't pay attention to their resume and/or cover letter, he or she won't pay attention to the things the organization needs them to focus on.
I'm most interested in candidates that have a variety of job and life experiences. The person who's been doing the same job forever and just wants to come do it with us is less interesting to me than the person who has a variety of expertise and experiences to bring to the table.
5. What would be your first next step if you were looking for a job in the progressive political world today?
The first thing I would do is pick the area or cause that is most important or relevant to me and/or most in alignment with my skills, be that an organizational area of expertise - Accounting or Web-based fund raising for example - or an issue area. I'd look for people or organizations doing innovative work in that area and get involved, even as a volunteer, to get that experience to bring to my next job. The most exciting change occurs in organizations and communities and from people seeking new and innovative solutions to problems. The government can sometimes implement creative ideas but those ideas almost always originate elsewhere. Government service is an honorable career but I'd rather be on the cutting edge.
Great advice- thanks Jim! 

Tags:  advice  job seeking 

Share |
PermalinkComments (0)

How to get a job on the Hill

Posted By Democratic Job Placement Initiative, Thursday, January 15, 2009
The Democratic Job Placement Initiative submitted this post about with advice for those looking for a job on the Capitol Hill.
Believe it or not you have a chance to work for the Senate.  I have heard people say that ‘you have to know someone’ or ‘they only hire ivy leaguers’. Both of which are common fallacies that should not prevent you from submitting your resume.  The hill is populated with hard working type A hair on fire staffers from everywhere in America, who all have one thing in common, they want to make a difference.   Below is a list of suggestions intended to increase your chances of obtaining a Hill job. 
Do your Research
Prior to applying you should take a look at the Senate Employment Brochure available free of charge on line at or call Placement Office at (202) 224-9167 for more information.  The Senate Placement Office is a free invaluable source of information regarding the types of positions available at the Senate.  The Senate has an age old structure for positions such as staff assistants, legislative correspondents, legislative assistants, staff directors, administrative directors, chiefs of staffs, and counsels.  (These titles are not exhaustive but the most common.)  In order to know where your skill set fits, you will need to do your research with the Senate Placement Office.

While on this topic, if you already have an informational interview or an interview lined up you should familiarize yourself with the Senator’s recent legislative activities.  Although this suggestion may be a no brainer to some of you - to others the excitement of the opportunity may cause you to forget to do your research. You should know their State, their Causes, and the Committees on which they serve.
Have an Impeccable Resume

We tend to think that the in person meeting is the first impression, not so on the Hill.  For every one opening, a hiring manager can receive 100 or more resumes.  Your resume is the real first impression. It is your first chance to distinguish yourself. Therefore, it should be concise, crisp, and easy to read.  Font at 12, and your name and contact information easy to spot. 

Be Specific about your Interests

Time and time again, eager prospective staffers say ‘I want to work on policy’, okay what policy?  You should stay focused on policy areas where your skill sets are best suited.  If you are interested in Healthcare Policy be specific; cost of medication policy, preventative care policy, domestic healthcare policy, or foreign healthcare policy?  Be specific.

You want a Senior Level position or even a Chief of Staff position?  Right?  You feel you have experience, education, all the right qualifications but those positions are coveted positions usually earned by people who have prior hill experience.  The reality is that you may have to start with an entry or mid level position. For some of you, that may be too much of a sacrifice.  For others it may be a sacrifice worth making.    That’s a decision you will have to make - just keep in mind that public service is an honor, and getting your foot in the door even in an entry level position may be the start on your path towards a Senior level or Chief of Staff position.

Remain Optimistic

Each Senate Office is autonomous.  Some offices are quicker at responding to staffing needs than others.  If you have sent in a resume and have not heard - remain optimistic. Some offices hire three to six months after interviewing, some will hire on the spot.   There is no way of knowing how rapidly an office will respond or if an office will respond to your resume.  It really has nothing to do with your effort.  So keep applying to various offices.

I hope these suggestions assist you in your job search.  If you have the desire to become a staffer, do not give up.  Be prepared and persevere, the Senate does have opportunities.

Tags:  advice  capitol hill  job seeking 

Share |
PermalinkComments (0)

First 2009 Resume Workshop a Success

Posted By Nikki Enfield, Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Last Friday’s Resume Workshop gave Democratic GAIN the opportunity to sit down with nearly a dozen individuals and go through a very hands-on, informal and interactive presentation about writing a political resume.  The small group setting allowed participants to ask questions freely and to get advice and feedback from one another, not just me.  We were also able to discuss and answer questions about finding a job and working in politics more generally.  Following the “presentation” portion, participants were able to sit down individually with either myself, special guest Kari Lundstad-Vogt, training director at Emily’s List, or Amy Pritchard, President of Democratic GAIN to get one-on-one advice about their resumes as well as their careers and potential paths.

I hope the participants found it a helpful and informative event.  I do encourage others to take advantage of these opportunities.  Democratic GAIN is happy to keep having them as long as people are interested in attending them!

Register now for our next workshop on January 23rd!

Tags:  events  job seeking 

Share |
PermalinkComments (0)
Page 2 of 3
1  |  2  |  3