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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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Jumping In With A Resume Workshop!

Posted By GAIN STAFF, Tuesday, February 16, 2010
Hello GAIN!
 
I'm thrilled to be on board with Democratic GAIN! I'm very excited to be working with Alexandra to help lessen the stress of job searching and to help create events and programs to help you build your new and already existing skills.
 
To start things off, I wanted to make sure you're all aware of the upcoming Resume Workshop this Friday February 19th from 12 PM to 1:30 PM here in our DC office. If you haven't registered, there's still time.
 
Not sure if this workshop is for you? If you want to make sure your resume is making the biggest impact on those that see it, and want to know the best words and tips for making your resume stand out, then YES this workshop is for you!
 
We'll go over tips to get your resume noticed, how to write a good cover letter, things to keep in mind when interviewing and advice on how to use and continue to build your network to help it work for you.
 
This is an informal discussion and Al and I will finish up with some one-on-one time to help answer any personal career questions.
 
We hope to see you Friday!

Tags:  career advice  interview tips  interviews  job advice  job tips  resume advice  workshop 

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Peer to Peer Hiring Advice from Michael Wilson

Posted By Nikki Enfield, Tuesday, June 16, 2009
Michael Wilson currently serves as the Legislative and Political Director at the United Food & Commercial Workers (UFCW).  UFCW represents 1.3 million members work in a range of industries, ranging from retail food service to food processing and manufacturing.

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

Hill staffer, ACTWU Leg Rep, USDOL Political Appointee, UFCW Chief Lobbyist.  Currently work with the UFCW as the Legislative and Political Director, where I Direct the legislative and political department of a major union, interact with local unions, other unions, non-labor allies, elected officials and staff.

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

Always looking for good people; stock up on resumes even when you don't need them. Recognize up and coming talent from all over
You can expect a given candidate to do well - but never prejudge the process
Never have a pool of candidates of all one race and all one gender
To build a pool I rely on Word of mouth from my network, as well as Internet and Listservs to get the word out.

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

Always is a mix of both - someone who is all exeperience or all personality won't solve your problem

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

Where do you see yourself in 5 years?
What's the last great book you read?
What questions do you have for me?

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

Don't rush - make a thoughtful decision about who to hire
Never let potential candidates dangle for weeks without a decision - or at least communication

Is there anything we haven't already covered that you'd like to share?

Every new hire starts with hope - but of course, they don't all work out. Try to make your best judgment, but nobody is perfect.

Tags:  hiring advice  interview tips 

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Peer to Peer Hiring Advice from Greg Speed

Posted By Nikki Enfield, Tuesday, June 16, 2009
Greg Speed currently serves as the Executive Director of America Votes, a coalition of the largest membership-based progressive groups in the country, representing a broad range of issues including the environment, civil and human rights, choice, education and labor.

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

Over the past 15-odd years I've attained experience in nearly every aspect of campaigns - from communications/media to field to fundraising - doing work for candidates, Members, progressive groups and party committees.

I refer to myself as a Generalist and do not view that as negative in any way. I counsel my staff and those who come for informational interviews not to view their own career paths too narrowly and to sieze every opportunity to expand their skill set. This is especially important for young people who have the benefit of being able to take risks on varied experiences without worrying about 401ks, kids, mortgages, etc.

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

Obviously there are core responsibilities to every position that must be specified, but it's important to write the description in a way that makes clear that applicants are expected to contribute in a variety of areas. This is especially in a tough fundraising environment limiting staffing budgets and helps instill a broad understanding of responsibility in new staff.

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

Job posting services like Democratic GAIN are essential resources and the first places to post positions.

However, distributing positions individually within your own network of contacts is also enormously helpful - not only for that particular position, but to remind friends and colleagues of your organization's mission (America Votes, in my case) and ongoing staffing needs. Tapping my own contacts has resulted in friends regularly sending great resumes they come across.

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

I'll take strong personal skills and work ethic over specific experience every time. However, personality and work ethic themselves are a result of strong, positive experiences in the workplace. 

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

1) In past jobs, what have been your strongest skills and where have you needed improvement? (points against any candidate who can't articulate an area for improvement)
2) What do you want to be doing in ten years and how do you believe this position advances that career goal?
3) Why motivated you to get in Democratic/progressive politics in the first place?

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

Be kind to everyone you come across in this business - many of us have had interns who are now running the world.

Is there anything we haven't already covered that you'd like to share?

Did I say be kind to EVERYONE in this business? I've never forgotten those who don't adhere to this rule...

Tags:  hiring advice  interview tips 

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