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

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 

Share |
PermalinkComments (0)
 

What Does Your Online Profile Say About You?

Posted By Alexandra Acker Lyons, Tuesday, August 17, 2010
Whether you like it or not, your online persona is also your professional persona -- are you OK with that?

You might want to de-tag that keg stand photo, take down the "I'm so bored -- is it 5:00 yet" tweet, and carefully edit your college blog posts.  Oh, and just because we're not "friends" on Facebook, doesn't mean I'm not going to see those photos and posts!  Politics is a small world and I'm friends with your friends.

Here are some tips from 6FigureJobs:

A candidate’s online reputation plays a vital role when being considered for a new job opportunity. Studies show that 80% of employers and executive recruiters will search a candidate’s online reputation before contacting them for an interview. Any active or passive job seeker should be aware of their online reputation before they hit the job market.

In July 2010, 6FigureJobs conducted a survey to its community of $100K executive and senior-level job seekers. The survey showed that 60% of candidates are already monitoring their reputation online and of those people 29% consider themselves "very involved” in managing their online reputation. The poll also showed that 28% do not manage their online reputation because they do not know how or believe it to be of no use, feeling they can not control what the Web publishes.

For the 12% who say they do not know what an online reputation is…start with these 3 basic steps.

1. Search – Run a search for your name in all the major search engines (Google, Bing, Yahoo!). Review the results in detail. You may find many positive results or you may be surprised at some of the negative, "digital dirt” that it associated with your name. Know what’s out there because this is your online reputation and it is how people will perceive you.

2. Monitor – You can create email alerts for your name through the search engines. Google Alerts does a good job of this. They will send you an email with the latest information posted to the Internet that is associated with your name. This will help you monitor any new content that gets published on the Web that is associated with your name.

3. Take Action – Build on the positive information through professional online profiles, personal websites, publications and discussion boards. Negative results can be difficult to combat so if you find a significant amount of negative results, contact a professional service such as Climber or Reputation Defender.

In conclusion, it is important to stay on top of your online reputation. Your candidacy for a new career role is an online and offline process so keep in mind that you may be judged before you even step into an interview.

Tags:  advice  career advice  employers  get a job  job advice  job search 

Share |
PermalinkComments (0)
 

Breaking Into Communications

Posted By GAIN STAFF, Tuesday, March 30, 2010
Join Democratic GAIN for a workshop on Breaking Into Communications this Friday, April 2nd at 12 PM!

Whether you want to work on the Hill, a campaign, for a labor union, or for a non-profit issue advocacy organization, Breaking Into Communications will cover the basics of working with the press, creating a message, finding communications jobs and preparing your resume & materials to get the job.

This is perfect for anyone who’s thinking about exploring communications or for anyone who’s still trying to nab that press assistant position on the Hill. We'll give you an overview of the basics of communications as well as advice & tips from the professionals to get your foot in the door. 

Trainers include:
Korey Hartwich with AFSCME
Jessica Smith with Senator Jim Webb
Kombiz Lavasany with New Partners

Details: What: Breaking Into Communications Workshop
When: Friday, April 2nd from 12 PM to 1:30 PM
Where: GAIN Office - 1850 M Street NW, Suite 1100 (11th Fl) DC
Register: http://www.democraticgain.org/events/event_details.asp?id=99296
Questions?: Info@democraticgain.org

Tags:  career advice  job advice  job search  training  workshop 

Share |
PermalinkComments (0)
 

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 

Share |
PermalinkComments (0)
 

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)
 

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)
 

Interview with Brian Weeks

Posted By Nikki Enfield, Wednesday, June 3, 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 

Share |
PermalinkComments (0)
 

Interview with Bill Hyers

Posted By Nikki Enfield, Thursday, May 28, 2009
Bill Hyers currently serves as the White House liaison for the Department of Veterans Affairs.

Prior to joining the Administration, Bill worked on over 20 campaigns at the local, federal, and state level including John Edwards for President, Gillibrand for Congress (06), Nutter for Mayor, and Obama for President.

1.  Describe your current job
My main job is to manage campaigns, which requires knowledge of fundraising, communications, field, and candidate relations. In my current job in the Administration I use many of the same skills I developed on the campaign trail to help Veterans get what they rightly deserve for their service.

2. How would you describe your career path? How did you get started in progressive politics?
I started out serving 5 years in the Army for a good personal base, and after college began working on campaigns. I started in field on local campaigns such as Rybak for Mayor and then Dutcher for Governor. After several campaigns in my home state of Minnesota I branched out nationally on John Edwards for President in 2004. After several more campaigns in Field, I started managing campaigns, several small ones before jumping to a congressional, a major mayors race, then onto statewide. 

3. What are the three most important skills for success in politics?
Strong work ethic, ability to listen, and very thick skin.

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?
Don't overstate your experience (it's a small business), keep it on 1 page, 2 only if you have more than 10 years, keep your references on your resume, and make sure current contact info is in there!

5. What would be your first next step if you were looking for a job in the progressive political world today?
Take your time, be willing to take on multiple roles for many kinds of organizations.  The more you learn in the early years, the better chance you will have of excelling later.







Tags:  career advice  job advice 

Share |
PermalinkComments (0)