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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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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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The Art of Salary Negotiations

Posted By GAIN STAFF, Tuesday, April 6, 2010
Raise your hand if you hate salary negotiations!

Most of us dread negotiating salaries, benefits, raises and promotions. But we all know it's an important part of everyone's career. That's why Democratic GAIN is hosting a training on the art of salary negotiation and asking for that promotion.

In these economic times it can be more difficult to ask for, and secure a raise or promotion, but there are still tricks of the trade, and things to know that can make you more confident and successful in your negotiation. This is your chance to learn from political professionals who have been on both sides of the negotiating table.  

This is perfect for anyone who would like to be more successful and confident in salary negotiation with their next job offer, or when they are up for a review in their current job.  

Speakers include:
Katharine Gagne, Managing Director at the United Mine Workers of America Health & Retirement Funds
Simone Ward, Campaign Manager for Senator Barbara Mikulski  

Space is limited.

Register today! 

Tags:  advice  career advice  interview advice  job search  skills building  training 

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Building Your Interview Skills Webinar

Posted By Nikki Enfield, Thursday, September 10, 2009
Just in case you missed it last month, check out the video of our Building Your Interview Skills Webinar. It's an hour-long free webinar hosted by two very well-versed interviewers. Johanna Berkson, Candidate Trainings and Outreach with DCCC, joins me as we give new job seekers wisdom about interview best practices for campaigns, nonprofits, advocacy groups and Hill jobs.

Special thanks to New Organizing Institute for hosting the webinar and posting the video!

Tags:  advice  get a job  interview advice  job tips 

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Peer to Peer Hiring Advice from Jon Vogel

Posted By Nikki Enfield, Tuesday, June 16, 2009
Jon Vogel currently serves as the Executive Director of the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee (DCCC), the official campaign arm of the Democrats in the House.

Tell us a little bit about yourself, your career path, and your current job.

I currently serve as Executive Director of the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee (DCCC), where I provide strategic advice to Chairman Chris Van Hollen and oversee the Democratic Party’s efforts to protect and strengthen their House Majority.

I spent the past two election cycles at the forefront of the unprecedented back–to-back Congressional gains resulting in the largest Democratic House Majority since 1992. During the 2008 election cycle, I served in two senior roles at the DCCC and helped guide House Democrats to their second consecutive wave election victory. I served first as the DCCC’s Political Director where I oversaw candidate recruitment and campaign planning and strategy. I then finished the cycle serving as the Director of the DCCC’s Independent Expenditure Program, where I directed the $85 million effort that played in over 67 districts and tracked 135 races. With wins in every corner of the country, I have a unique understanding of America’s changing electorate.

I have worked extensively on Capital Hill and for Democratic Campaigns across America. In 2000, I helped elect Congressman Steve Israel in a Republican open seat in New York. I then served as Deputy Chief of Staff to Congressman Israel. In 2004, I was Midwest Finance Director for the Gephardt for President Campaign, developing a high dollar fundraising program in 11 states. From 2004-2005, I served as a Vice President at Winning Directions, a leading Democratic direct mail firm. I am a native of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania and graduated Magna Cum Laude from Connecticut College with a degree in International Relations.

What do you feel is the most important information to include in a job description?

1. Job title and who they will be reporting to.
2. Description of the organization.
3. Areas of responsibility and skill sets looking for.
4. Years/cycles of experience looking for.

What steps do you generally take to find a pool of talented, qualified applicants?

I find that it is best to cast a wide net using both professional contacts and advertising on our website and at times through paid sites. That said, the best 2/3 of applicants usually come through people I know, but its worth the extra effort to get good applicants though a broader reach.

In general, which do you feel is more important in an employee:  good personality or specific experience?  Why?

Experience gets you in the door, while personality gets you hired.

What are your three favorite questions to ask in an interview and why?

1. What makes you qualified for the job? It is a good question to learn more about he applicants background while seeing if they understand what the job is.
2. What do you see as the biggest challenges of the job? This question helps me determine if they truly understand the job they are applying for.
3. What separates you from other applicants? This allows applicants to brag a little and separate themselves out.

What advice do you have for people who are hiring for the first time?

1. Check references that are not listed. In short, find people that have worked with the applicant but are not listed as a reference.
2. Ask for a writing sample. This could also include giving the applicant a written exercise of writing a memo related to the job. 

Tags:  hiring advice  interview advice 

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