Apply Now for IHS Summer Seminars
Lauren Day
January 3, 2013
Apply Now for IHS Summer Seminars
This summer, the Institute for Humane Studies will offer nine college-level seminars on the foundations and future of freedom.Participants from around the world will explore market-based solutions to widespread problems, challenge status-quo academic thinking, and learn about ways to stand for freedom through a variety of career paths.Students and recent graduates are eligible.Learn more: www.TheIHS.org/summer-seminars.Students who apply by March 1 are eligible to receive a free book! >
In Front of TV Cameras
Kate Miller
October 18, 2012
In Front of TV Cameras
Know what you want to say. Say it in a simple manner. Look and sound the part.These were basic principles of the last Friday's Introduction to Television Techniques Workshop taught by Beverly Hallberg at the Leadership Institute.The 16 students learned to effectively communicate via broadcast media: what to wear, how to present themselves, and the type of language to use. Many students came away with the same observation: it's the little things that make a difference.Nicole Hudgens, an intern with the Young Leaders Program at The Heritage Foundation, remarked, “I've had a lot of communication classes since it's what I got my degree in, but this covered some things I had not heard before and I really enjoyed it! Beverly gave great practical advice and I'd love to go to another workshop.”In general, keep it snappy. TV and radio are made for soundbites, not lectures. Viewers listening to a dialogue will stay far more engaged than those listening to a monologue. Plus, you're more likely to be invited back when the host feels like they control the conversation.Live interviews are the easiest to control. Whatever is said airs—not the case with recorded interviews. When recorded, your comments are at the mercy of the segment's producer: important statements might get cut because you gave them too much material. For a pre-recorded interview, make sure comments are prepared in advanced. The rules change entirely; you have no control over what is aired, but you are in complete control of your answers. Questions are not typically broadcast, so answering the question is non-essential.Regardless of the type of interview, Beverly cautioned, “Anticipate what you will be asked. Prepare your ammo correctly.”It's essential to practice and prepare statements; even the most knowledgeable person can forget their main points when asked an unexpected question.After receiving these tips (and many more—register for LI's TV training here for all of them), attendees practiced their skills on the camera.Beverly went through and critiqued each person's performance. Everyone stepped in front of the camera for a second time, and each person's improvement was dramatic.Those who were long-winded initially became succinct. The quiet people became more assertive and appeared confident. Everyone was empowered to be an effective communicator for their chosen topic. Megan Moore, an intern at the Leadership Institute's ConservativeJobs.com, observed, “It was incredible to see how quickly everyone improved. Most of us were not engaging the first time. In ‘take two,' we were all persuasive and followed Beverly's rules.”If you want to learn and practice what it takes to be an effective on-camera spokesperson, register for our next Television Workshops on December 14. Or, register for one of LI's other upcoming trainings here. >
How to volunteer for the campaign of your choice
Leadership Institute Staff
September 13, 2012
How to volunteer for the campaign of your choice
As Morton Blackwell wrote, now is the time for you to work hard for the candidates of your choice. Roll up your sleeves and get to work.But if you're new to activism or brand new to political volunteering, where do you go and what do you do? How do you get in touch with a campaign and find out how to help?Follow this simple, easy, and quick five-step process -- and you'll be well on your way to helping the candidate of your choice win and spending Election Day 2012 knowing you did your part for your principles.1. Find the campaign HQ or offices online. Call the number listed, introduce yourself, and say you'd like to help.Every campaign website should have a page called "Volunteer," "Take Action," or "Get Involved" that will provide information. Alternatively, you can click on a page labeled "Contact" to get a phone number. If you'd like to volunteer for a presidential or statewide race (e.g. a campaign for governor or Senate), try to find the contact information for the campaign office closest to you.Then punch in the numbers and give the office a call. Here's a simple script: "Hi, my name is [Name]. I would like to get involved with your campaign. Is there someone I can speak with?"Your call likely will be forwarded to the volunteer coordinator, who directs the activities of volunteers like you. He or she can explain the best times to stop by and answer any questions you have.2. Walk into the office, smile (of course!), and say you want to volunteer. You'll be directed to the right person.Campaign headquarters are always in motion. Don't be intimidated, especially if this your first time walking into a campaign office.Smile and say hello to the first staff member you see. If you explain you're there and you're happy to help, you'll be welcomed with open arms.3. If possible, bring a friend or two. It's more fun for you and more help for the campaign -- win-win!Most events in life are more fun with a friend. Volunteering for a campaign is no exception.Children in middle school and high school may also enjoy volunteering with you. Check with the campaign office when you call and see if there will be age-appropriate activities. It's a free family night out -- and a great way to model civic engagement.But if you don't have friends or family to bring with you, don't worry. Volunteering for a campaign is a great way to meet like-minded, engaged people like you. Plus, spending the coming days and weeks hard at work for a common campaign will help you forge new friendships.4. Be flexible and ready for anything. The work may not be glamorous, but it's important (and you'll learn a lot).You may be asked to stuff envelopes, walk door-to-door, call voters, set up for or clean up from an event, or much more. Campaign work is as unceasing as it is varied. It will help you to be ready for anything and walk into the office with an open mind.Always give a good try at whatever you're asked to do. But if -- for example -- you've spent 45 minutes calling voters and you know it's just not for you, kindly ask the volunteer coordinator how else you can help the campaign. There's always another job that needs to be done.5. Ask questions about your tasks, especially if you're new. There's no such thing as a stupid question.No one is born a campaign pro; the knowledge and skills are built over time through political training and first-hand experience.So don't be afraid to repeat the instructions to make sure you understand. It's much better to ask questions beforehand than to apologize for a mix-up or misunderstanding later.Pass on your new knowledge with this handy graphic. Download the image, and email, tweet, share, or pin it across the web. >
Serious, and sometimes humorous, advice from a real-life intern
Caleb Parke
July 27, 2012
Serious, and sometimes humorous, advice from a real-life intern
I have reached the inevitable point of no return at which everyone asks, “Are you ready for school?” and “How was your summer?” Both questions cause a flood of emotions for me.I am excited to go back to school, but I'm sad to leave this summer behind.From the sunny day in May when I packed my dorm room into my grandma's convertible, bought a suit at Brooks Brothers, and headed to DC, to living with 11 other interns in one house (think Real World: DC, minus the drama), I have had so many amazing experiences and opportunities.It has been humbling and crazy – a summer like no other. I traded sleep, exercise, and healthy eating to maximize my time in the nation's capital, where there is always an event waiting for an RSVP. There is no such thing as a free lunch, unless you're a DC intern. Just make sure you dress the part.Was it worth the sacrifice? Without a doubt, it was.So, what have I learned this summer?1. Someone is always watching you. So be good for goodness sake! The golden rule should be your guiding principle. Write it on your hand as a constant reminder...or, at least, keep it at the forefront of your mind.2. Step out of your comfort zone. Just like Bristol Palin on Dancing with the Stars, try something new in spite of any criticism you might receive. Haters gonna hate. To keep yourself grounded, you should have some consistencies in your life like breakfast, church, and calls to mom and dad, just to name a few. But you need to challenge yourself, too.3. Ask questions and listen to the answers. Be an active learner. I have learned a lot by just listening to my fellow interns and leaders within the conservative movement. Some of my views have changed, while others are now stronger.4. Be professional. Always carry business cards with you, and keep your resume updated to the gold standard – second only to the Bible and the Constitution. Also, keep in mind that you have an online resume. Use Facebook and Twitter appropriately.5. Dress for success. Get a fashion mentor. This could be a friend, your mom, or even GQ. It doesn't have to be expensive, either. Take your wardrobe in strides. Start with at least one nice suit and then piece the rest together through various consignment shops and occasional steals (and by that I mean really good buys).6. Stay connected and follow up. Keep in contact with friends and leaders you've met during your internship. You never know where they might end up! Possibly the most important question you can ask is, “How can I help you?” Conversely, Benjamin Franklin said, “If you want to make a friend, ask them for a favor.” Helping others and asking them to help you establishes strong connections.7. Surround yourself with people you admire. This includes the influences of the books you read, shows you watch, and music you listen to. Show me your friends, and I'll show you your future.Finally, in all of it, have fun, and don't be afraid to fail. You're an intern, so now is the time to make mistakes. But remember you're not just an intern. You're more than that! Act like it!Shameless plug: The Leadership Institute offers the best internship in Washington, D.C. I am now a walking example. I received free housing, established an instant network of conservatives, attended free LI trainings, got free books, and attended several conferences. I also met great conservative rockstars like Star Parker, James O'Keefe, Lila Rose, Michele Bachmann, Herman Cain, Rebecca Kleefisch, and many more! If you want to have an unforgettable experience, I highly recommend you apply for the LI intern program.>
Embrace Your Network
Emily Miller
July 23, 2012
Embrace Your Network
We've all heard it: "D.C. is built on networking!" But my first few [forced] networking events in D.C. made for painful memories. Thrown into a room full of people I had never met, I would work up the courage to talk to one or two attendees before making a beeline for the refreshments and enjoying a few moments of refuge. When you hear the word "networking," is this the type of experience that comes to mind?Attending events in D.C. and meeting new people is important (and, trust me, it gets easier!), but there's more to building a network than simply adding new people to it. Your network is already larger than you think.I was once asked to write down the names of 100 people whom I consider to be part of my network. Daunting! But after struggling for a while, I was given categories to consider: family, friends, classmates, teachers, co-workers, teammates, Happy Hour crew … and the list went on. Thinking of 100 people was suddenly quite easy. When looking for a job in D.C., it's common to only think of the "big fish," the people with clout who you assume will help you get where you want to go. I meet with many jobseekers who want to work on specific Capitol Hill committees, but they aren't sure how to get there due to their lack of Hill experience and connections. They do have valid concerns, but many of them also make the common mistake of underestimating their networks. Think about your ideal position and work backward. To continue with the Congressional committee example, learn who serves on the committee and figure out their connections. Then follow the chain backward until you find a personal connection of your own. Approach that person about making an introduction for you to the next person up the chain. It's true that D.C. is built on networking, but you may already have a stronger network than you realize. Don't let it go to waste. >
Aspiring Activists Learn Public Relations Techniques
Danielle Saul
June 29, 2012
Aspiring Activists Learn Public Relations Techniques
Earlier this week, more than 30 students attended the Leadership Institute's Public Relations School where they learned branding, mass communications, media relations, one-on-one communication, and pitching.Advantage, Inc. Vice President of Operations Jim Eltringham kicked off the training by teaching message development and hammered home the importance of emotion in crafting messages. “There has to be emotion,” Jim said. “It has to tug on your heart strings. You don't win elections on ideas and politics alone.”He emphasized the need for politicians to identify with the voters: “People don't want labels. They want leaders. They want solutions. The audience wants to know what you are going to do to solve their problems.”Leadership Institute Director of Digital Communications Abby Alger spoke about how to promote messages through social media. “We expect people to be relatable and real,” she said.Scott Hogenson, senior vice president for Dezenhall Resources, began the second night of training with a lecture on public relation strategies.“The world of journalism is changing, and it is changing fast,” Scott told attendees.He emphasized the importance of learning how to handle negative information correctly. If you can't get around releasing the negative information, then you need to make sure you have a plan ready and in place.Lindsey Mask, founder of Ladies America & Ladies International, closed the second night off by telling attendees her personal experience with branding an organization.Lindsey expressed that being passionate about your job and the work you do is the key to success. In addition, there is also a strong need for focus. She encouraged the students to write down their biographies and reflect on their goals.“Know thyself,” Lindsey encouraged attendees. “Accept your strengths and weaknesses.”Leading the final night of the school, Mark Pfeifle, communication and outreach strategist with S4 Inc., spoke on crisis management.Mark taught how to deal with crises in a live-action role play where students were divided into two groups, Democratic leaders versus Republican leaders, and had to craft messages for their side assuming Obamacare was ruled unconstitutional.David Daum, who portrayed Speaker of the House John Boehner, found this activity very insightful.“By competing and acting out the crisis strategy of President Obama and Mitt Romney, I felt like I had privileged insight into the minds of their respective public relations teams,” He explained.Garrett Kamp, acting as President Obama, also found value in the activity. “By role-playing as the president, I learned not only how to manage a crisis, but I learned how to predict and respond to my opponent's behavior.”The final speaker, Ian Ivey, senior management advisor at the General Services Administration, taught about one-on-one communication styles.After having the class figure out their own personality style, he had the students partner up and analyze each other's personality style. He then compared the different communication methods used within each group, and taught attendees how to relate to people who are completely opposite.Many students enjoyed this activity and felt their future interactions would greatly benefit from learning these communication techniques. Summer intern for Susan B. Anthony List Santina Scarcella said, “Now I realize there are ways to approach people and I feel more comfortable doing so.”LI's next Public Relations School will be held September 24-26. Go here to register.>
Networking for Success: Get Comfortable with Being Uncomfortable
Caleb Parke
June 20, 2012
Networking for Success: Get Comfortable with Being Uncomfortable
Just like a Jillian Michaels workout, networking can be tough. Similar to staying in shape, your network is something that can whittle away if you don't actively work at it.And if you're anything like me, networking does not come naturally. I used to be extremely shy, and I didn't see myself ever changing. But I have changed, and so can you! Here are some tips I've found helpful in maximizing my networking skills.1. Practice "let's pretend."Ask yourself, "What would the ideal networker do in this situation?" Pretend that you are that person, and do it. As you consciously emulate good networkers, you can reinvent yourself. You'll never be perfect, but you can make steps that take you closer and closer to becoming a networking guru.2. Adopt a role model.Best case scenario, your role model is also your mentor, helping you, advising you, guiding you, even lending you his network as you build your own. If you can, ask her how she got to where she is now. Attend events with him and take mental notes.3. Take lessons.You're taking one now as you read this blog, but there are other educational opportunitites that are helpful for overcoming shyness and inexperience. Attend lectures and trainings, such as the Conservative Intern Workshop and the Conservative Career Workshop run by the Leadership Institute, to learn tips for feeling more comfortable in networking situations.4. Join up.Just about any group or organization offers opportunities to make contacts and grow personally and professionally, which you can tailor to your career and your personal hobbies. Join political groups, teach Sunday school, and, of course, take a fitness class at your local gym. Surround yourself with people you aspire to be more like. Networking doesn't just happen at stuffy cocktail parties. Look for fun opportunities to meet other people.5. Have a little faith......in yourself. Dale Carnegie summed it up well: "You can make more friends in two months by becoming really interested in other people than you can in two years by trying to get other people interested in you. Which is another way of saying that the way to make a friend is to be one." Remember that networking is a two-way street. Your motivations do not have to be selfish. Focus on establishing relationships.I send you off with a maxim from networking expert Harvey Mackay: "The more you exercise your networking muscles, the stronger they get - and the easier networking becomes." Give yourself opportunities to practice, and have patience while learning.>
Get the most out of ConservativeJobs.com
Kelly Cassara
April 5, 2012
Get the most out of ConservativeJobs.com
Are you looking for a fulfilling career within the conservative movement? Then you have come to the right place! Whether you are a recent college graduate or an experienced professional seeking a career change, let us help you find a job. ConservativeJobs.com is known for its wide variety of new employment opportunities posted daily. You can peruse hundreds of available jobs and internships in non-profits, communications, broadcast media, public policy, or on Capitol Hill. But are you aware of the other ways ConservativeJobs can assist you in your job search? Learn how to take advantage of all the site has to offer by following these five steps:1. Create a Jobseeker profile. Your jobseeker profile is the gateway to communication with potential employers. It contains your contact information, uploaded resume, and the opportunity to provide statements on your future career goals – information that is crucial for recruiters seeking qualified candidates to hire. There is also a Public Policy Questionnaire for you to express your views on specific policy issues, which is used to match jobseekers with employers who share a similar outlook. Upon completion of your profile, you are set to begin browsing the site for the latest job listings, and you have made yourself available to employers who are on the lookout for applicants.2. Benefit from our free resume consultations. Your resume is one of the most important components to your job application, as it provides an overview of who you are and what you can bring to the table for an employer. Not feeling 100% confident in your resume? Check out our tips to revise your resume and then get a second opinion from the ConservativeJobs team. We are happy to look it over and provide you with detailed feedback that will give you more confidence in applying for a job.3. Interact with ConservativeJobs outside the site! Have you “liked” us on Facebook? Or followed @TheRightJobs on Twitter yet? We update our social networks with the most exciting job opportunities throughout the day, giving you the highlights of what's listed on CJ.com. We also promote interesting articles and blog posts with useful advice to help jobseekers in their search for employment. Be sure to check it out!4. Learn about networking opportunities through the Jobseeker Calendar. From career fairs to happy hours, there are many ways to learn about opportunities in the DC area and beyond. Stay up to date on job fairs, training workshops for jobseekers, and other happenings by using our Jobseeker Calendar. Remember, networking and utilizing the connections you make are invaluable steps in the job search.5. Consult the Capitol Talent Blog and Resources page for helpful career advice. Are you frustrated by the job hunting process and need encouragement? Are you looking for last-minute guidance and reassurance before a big interview? Did you get the job and need a place to live in DC? Browse ConservativeJobs.com for an abundance of information. We offer more than just great job listings!With these tips, you can be sure that you'll be ahead of the game in your job search. Let us know how we can serve you better.>
Future Candidates Flock To LI For One Week To Learn Effective Campaign Essentials
Lauren Levy
March 16, 2012
Future Candidates Flock To LI For One Week To Learn Effective Campaign Essentials
Last week the Leadership Institute's Future Candidate School (FCS) welcomed a bright, new class of aspiring candidates and entrepreneurs.Mark Mix, president of the National Right to Work Committee and LI volunteer faculty member, shared how he got involved in the public policy process.He credits LI with his start. While a college student, a conservative campus group member approached him and invited Mark to their meeting. He showed up, and was forever hooked.“I took LI's Youth Leadership School, and now I'm here 20 years later trying to impart this knowledge to you all.”Jessica Myers is a young conservative with big dreams. As a student at Thomas Nelson Community College she has participated in campaigns and events in her community, but she is frustrated with the lack of conservative clubs in her area. After attending the Future Candidate School, she plans to start a local chapter of the Young Republican club.“If I hadn't known about LI, I wouldn't have been here trying to fulfill my dreams,” Jessica said. “The fact that the training is such good quality and low cost is very beneficial and invaluable to young people passionate about the cause.”On Monday, LI President Morton Blackwell shared tips on how to create and grow an organization. “Young conservatives should consider the option of some day becoming organizational entrepreneurs themselves,” Morton said. “There are possibilities now and there will be possibilities in the years to come for creating successful public policy groups.”Other lectures focused on candidate development and explored topics such as assessing readiness to run for office, potential past or present problems that might hinder success, attributes of effective candidates, making a good impression and viewing yourself as others see you.“If people don't like you, they won't trust you,” said Stephen Clouse, founder and president of Stephen Clouse & Associates. “If they don't trust you, they won't believe you; if they don't believe you, they'll never comply with what you're saying.”Attendees made their way back to LI on Tuesday for more training, which focused heavily on coalition building and organization development. For Michael Kicinski, who is running for United States Congress to represent New York District 22 (formerly NY-24), coalition building will be an important factor in his campaign to rally opposition against the incumbent. “We need proper representation above all and the right votes in Congress,” Michael said. “Since this is new to me, I saw the advantage of getting training. This was extra helpful and necessary, and I'll be passing this information on to others in my team.”Faculty also discussed how to develop your campaign message using a Leesburg Grid for you and your opponent, the pros and cons of joining existing organizations, working with your local party and identifying key groups in your community, recruiting and working with volunteers, and using coalitions to benefit your campaign.On Wednesday, attendees learned the ins-and-outs of fundraising. Topics included maximizing fundraising potential with events, funding your cause with direct mail, the rules of campaign donations and ensuring your campaign financing and organization structure is legal, creating your “kitchen cabinet” for campaigns, strategies you need to know to succeed online, and personal solicitation for a campaign.“Give every potential donor – no matter how big or small – the opportunity to ‘invest' in your campaign,” said Nancy Bocskor, president of the Nancy Bocskor Company. “The little old lady who sends you $1 in a direct mail piece will be the first to vote for you on Election Day.”On Thursday, the final day of the FCS, faculty tackled message development. Topics included fine-tuning your campaign strategy, understanding and reviewing polling data, getting on the ballot with petitions, preparing for attacks from the left, and using the media to your advantage.“We are surrounded by media 24 hours a day, 365 days a year,” said Dan Gainor, vice president of Business and Culture at the Media Research Center. “Knowing how to navigate the media is key for survival in today's world.”Jill Upson, who is running as a West Virginia delegate for Jefferson County's 65th district, found the lecture particularly helpful.“The information is just so valuable,” Jill said. “It really teaches you how to combat the opposition. It prepares you for the bad things they'll say, but also gives you good responses.”Hoping to improve jobs and the economy in her area, Jill came to LI to get the training she needed to run a successful campaign. “There are so many speakers from so many backgrounds. . There's no way you could go to one class and learn all this,” she said.To wrap up the evening, Mark Vargas, a consultant in government affairs and international business development, gave his success story of lessons he's learned from the campaign trail.“I thought I knew a lot – till I got here,” said Thomas Spencer, who is running for city council in Claremont, FL. “There wasn't a class that didn't add to or help me perfect something. I filled up my entire notepad and needed extra sheets of paper. I was texting friends throughout the lectures about some of the things I was learning. The information was priceless!”“I loved the trainings! I already signed up to be a donor to the school,” Thomas said. “I want to sponsor a student's training fee and travel once a quarter so they can attend these trainings.”If you would like to learn more about LI's Future Candidate School or enroll in an upcoming training, click here.>
Conservatives Learn to Advertise and Build Online Communities via ‘Tweets’, ‘Likes’ & the Blogosphere
Lauren Levy
March 2, 2012
Conservatives Learn to Advertise and Build Online Communities via ‘Tweets’, ‘Likes’ & the Blogosphere
Twitter, Facebook and YouTube; blogs and email lists; online advertising and fundraising are just a few topics that were covered earlier this week at the Leadership Institute's Comprehensive Online Activist School (COAS).On Monday and Tuesday legislative aides, interns, and Tea Party activists gathered at LI's F.M. Kirby National Training Center to learn how target large audiences through online marketing and social media.Gabriel “Scooter” Schaefer, marketing communications coordinator for Media Research Center (MRC), taught attendees how to set up a Facebook fan page and strategically increase membership.Scooter was a graduate of LI's Comprehensive Online Activist School in 2010, where he was armed with practical tools to increase an organization's social media presence. "When I took the COAS, I heard about bit.ly and it was absolutely awesome and useful to me and what I'm doing now,” Scooter said. “Now, I will share the knowledge I've acquired with you so you can strengthen the movement.”LI's Director of Digital Communications Abigail Alger kicked off the training Monday with a complete introduction to online activism.“In blogging, it's not about getting noticed,” Abigail said. “It's about adding value. What topics can you uniquely cover?”For Bruce Majors, a realtor for Chatel Real Estate in Washington, D.C., the Blogging 101 lecture was particularly helpful. Bruce runs a political blog called, Tea Party – One Lump or Two? He plans to use the training to better market his blog and explore the possibility of working in new media.“This is current, cutting-edge information for targeting the groups you need to target,” said Julie Malone Garofalo, who also plans to use the training to start a blog and search for a position in communications.Other lectures covered how to create effective online videos and disseminate them over the Internet via YouTube as well as social media activism through the popular networking sites, Twitter and Facebook.Gail Peirson, a retired pediatric nurse practitioner who is part of the Tea Party movement in New Jersey, was initially resistant to social media. After the training, she now sees it as a necessary tool for mass outreach.“Being able to hear ‘the case' for different types of online marketing and getting my ideas confirmed was specifically beneficial,” Gail said.Tuesday lectures focused primarily on online fundraising and advertising. Attendees learned how to find vendors and integrate traditional and online fundraising plans, promote a campaign or organization through online marketing, build and manage email lists, use data visualization tools and location technology, and finally, how to use Google Analytics to gather crucial information about visitors to a website.Freddie Klein, a legislative aide for Supervisor Eugene Delgaudio, found the lectures on Twitter and Google Analytics particularly helpful. He now knows how to analyze website traffic and use that data to effectively target ads.“The training here was worthwhile and I plan to use it to teach my employer too,” he said.“The variety of information – specifically learning how to target people using social media and track analytics – was particularly beneficial,” agreed Ryan McNulty, strategic communications intern at The Heritage Foundation. “The training was extremely informative and beneficial – a must-attend for somebody serious about politics.”If you would like to learn more about LI's Comprehensive Online Activist School or other online activism and strategy training programs, click here.>
Seven Ways to Fight the Jobseeker Blues
Laci Lawrence
February 28, 2012
Seven Ways to Fight the Jobseeker Blues
Are you one of the thousands of people looking for a job right now? Have you sent out countless resumes into the seeming black hole of the job market? Have you felt great about a job interview but never heard back from the employer? If so, you might find some comforting words and encouraging ideas in this blog entry from my own experience. Check out these tips to tide you over until you finally do receive those elusive words, “You've got the job.”1. Stay positive. Searching for a job is a frustrating process no matter what industry you pursue or your level of education. Some companies simply are not hiring or are hiring significantly fewer employees than in previous years. The current economy is not working in your favor, and this makes the search tedious and, at times, depressing. You've probably heard friends or family members say “You'll get the right job at the right time.” These are trite words, but they do hold some truth. Stay motivated and keep a smile on your face while you search for jobs and during interviews. If you feel depressed at times, never fear – you are not alone.2. Learn from your mistakes. This particular suggestion makes me laugh because I must be the reigning champion of awkwardness during interviews. During my second interview for an important job, I started to respond to the director of the agency that “with great power comes great responsibility.” Luckily I stopped myself in time to hastily change my answer, but I had to hold back my laughter throughout the remaining part of the interview for making Spiderman references. The bottom line is that as jobseekers we will make mistakes, whether it's a word misspelled on our resume or an awkward moment in the interview. If and when you make a mistake, laugh about it, fix it, and make sure your next experience is a success. 3. Keep an open mind. Many of us graduated from school with a dream job in mind. Perhaps you specialized in a particular area of study and participated in all sorts of extracurricular activities that were related to that topic. With the current job market, you may not be able to obtain that dream job until several years have passed. I am not suggesting you give up on your dream; rather, I encourage you to find jobs that relate to your education and experience that may help you eventually reach your goal. Don't ever feel like you are too good for a particular job. Employers want to see that you are motivated. This suggestion has personally been the hardest to accept after all of my years in school, but it is a reality that many new graduates are facing. 4. Develop a routine and adopt new strategies. How are you conducting your job search? Are you searching online databases, contacting people in your network, and attending job fairs? There is no sure-fire way to land a job, but establish a routine for your job search if you haven't already. Develop a list of job sites to check daily or several times a week. One of the best pieces of advice a friend gave me is to let people know that you are looking for a job. You might be amazed how many friends, alumni from your university, and family members are out there willing to help you find a job. When you speak with those people, just drop a line about your job search and see if they have any advice or suggestions. Remember – your network can't work for you if you don't ask for help. 5. Say yes to other opportunities. Are there volunteer opportunities in your community that relate to your preferred job sector? Is there a part-time job that could expand your network and perhaps even result in full-time employment? As you begin to utilize your network, some people might suggest working somewhere on a volunteer basis. If you're interested in working in politics, this is a great year to volunteer on a campaign. You will have gained valuable experience and made contact with people who might help you find a job. Keep a watchful eye on your finances, but remember that a rejected opportunity could result in a missed employment offer. Volunteer work can improve your resume and demonstrate your character to potential employers. 6. Keep track of your progress. This has helped me maintain my sanity throughout the job search. I keep an Excel spreadsheet of all jobs that I have applied for, the date of application, contact information for the job, and status of the application. Every person that I have emailed asking for advice or suggestions also goes on the list. With so many applications and emails, keeping a progress log has been the only solution to my prior sporadic and disjointed job search efforts. This method can help you determine which jobs merit a follow-up letter, and it also preserves information that might be deleted from a website once the interview process begins. Most importantly, the spreadsheet will indicate when a certain avenue of inquisition has been exhausted. For instance, if all of your applications to a specific job have failed, you may need to broaden your search to include other types of work. And for those days when you feel discouraged or depressed, open that spreadsheet and feast your eyes on all you have accomplished.7. Don't forget your struggle. If you finally found a job, remember how hard you worked to obtain it, and thank those people who may have helped you along the way. Use your new job status to help others who remain frustratingly unemployed. For every person who could not give a minute of their time, I have found an equal number who can't wait to offer some help or advice. Please make sure you fall into the helpful category for future jobseekers as they enter the job market. Who knows? Your one piece of advice may make the difference for a jobseeker who has been looking for a job longer than you ever contemplated.If you have been suffering from the jobseeker blues in this tough job market, try some of these tips. I hope you will find them helpful and encouraging. Most importantly, I hope we will all be kicking back our heels in a year's time as we enjoy the life of the newly employed.>
Come Say Hello at CPAC
Lauren Hart
February 8, 2012
Come Say Hello at CPAC
Leadership Institute staff and interns will be working the American Conservative Union's Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) Thursday—Saturday at the Marriott Wardman Park hotel in Washington, D.C.As a CPAC sponsor the Leadership Institute has two booths—on the mezzanine level and in the exhibit hall—where you can stop by to:- Take a picture with a friend or two with a CPAC picture frame of you and your buddies inside- Sign up for our emails- Buy an Adam Smith tie or scarf- Chat with LI staffLI will also offer seven trainings throughout CPAC in Wilson AB room:- How to Raise Money…the Easy Way—Thursday, Feb. 9 from 9:30 – 11:30 a.m.- Getting Your Message Heard—Thursday, Feb. 9 from 12 – 2 p.m.- Landing a Conservative Job—Thursday, Feb. 9 from 2:30—4:30 p.m.- Rules for Radicals—Friday, Feb. 10 from 10—11 a.m.- Public Speaking Workshop—Friday, Feb. 10 from 12—2 p.m.- Video Activism: Tips of the Trade—Friday, Feb. 10 from 2:30—4:30 p.m.- GOTV: Creating a Winning Ground Game—Saturday, Feb. 11 from 12-2 p.m. LI's ConservativeJobs.com is hosting the CPAC Job and Internship Fair Saturday, Feb. 11 from 10 a.m. until noon in the Maryland Ballroom. More than 25 organizations will be recruiting for full-time staff and intern positions, so make sure to bring copies of your resume. For more information about LI's events and locations during CPAC, please go here.>
New Year, New Job Search: Attend a Career Fair
Kelly Cassara
February 8, 2012
New Year, New Job Search: Attend a Career Fair
With the start of 2012, now is the time to finally follow through on your New Year's resolutions. And if you are unemployed or wanting to make a change, finding a new career may be your most important goal this year.If you have been on the job hunt for awhile, don't despair! There are lots of strategies to try. Create a profile and search for employment on ConservativeJobs.com, peruse other job listings such as the Heritage Job Bank and America's Future Foundation's Career Center, and ask people in your social network if they have “the scoop” on any new jobs.In conjunction with your personal job search, your next best bet at landing a position is to look for career fairs within your local community. These fairs bring together recruiters from a multitude of organizations, often connecting jobseekers directly with those who do the hiring. They provide a fantastic forum to learn more about career opportunities, introduce yourself to recruiters, and form connections with those who work for the organization. To make the most of your time at a job fair, here are some things to keep in mind.1. You can never be too prepared! Do your research and find out which organizations will be in attendance. Visit their official websites, be familiar with their mission statements and goals, and have questions ready to ask recruiters. Not only will they be impressed by your knowledge, but they will see that you have a genuine interest in their work.2. Treat the job fair as your first interview with organizations. First impressions do count. Dress professionally in business attire and don't forget to bring multiple copies of your resume. Some organizations may have immediate openings and recruiters will request your resume. Note: The Leadership Institute offers free, in-depth resume reviews. Contact the Conservative Jobs team at Jobseekers@limail.us for more information.3. Don't be shy! Introduce yourself to the recruiters and don't be afraid to ask them questions. They are there to promote their organizations and are on the lookout for potential employees. Inquire about open positions and find out the proper way to apply. The information you gain from a recruiter may give you the extra edge in the application process!4. Follow up with recruiters after your initial meeting. Send them a note thanking them for attending the job fair and speaking with you. Reaffirm your interest in their organization and let them know if you will be applying for a position. This little bit of effort on your part will go a long way!Ready to put this advice into practice? The Leadership Institute is hosting the CPAC 2012 Job and Internship Fair this Saturday, February 11, bringing you face-to-face with recruiters from top conservative organizations based in the D.C. area and beyond. Take advantage of this opportunity and revamp your approach to pursuing employment this year. It may get you the job!>
Missouri Congressional Candidate: After LI’s Campaign Management School, You’ll Be A Better Candidate and Run A Better Campaign
Lauren Levy
February 7, 2012
Missouri Congressional Candidate: After LI’s Campaign Management School, You’ll Be A Better Candidate and Run A Better Campaign
Last week 42 campaign managers, future candidates, and conservative activists of all sorts flocked to the Leadership Institute in Arlington, VA to learn from campaign experts at LI's Campaign Management School (CMS).Over the course of four days and 25 training lectures, motivated conservatives acquired the tools needed to organize, finance, and run successful campaigns.Lisa Fitzhugh works for Maryland State Senator and Former Minority Leader Nancy Jacobs, who is running to represent citizens in Maryland's Congressional district 2 to defeat Dutch Ruppersberger. “I so appreciate the respect this training has for us and our ability to increase the conservative message in our communities,” Lisa said. “Campaigns are notorious for being fast-paced, and the value this training brings to our campaigns is immeasurable. It gives us the tools to get our message across.”On the first day of the CMS, attendees learned how to use opposition research to their advantage, write and develop campaign plans, finance a campaign, develop an effective message, and decipher polling data.Mike Allen is a veteran of the U.S. Army, serving as a command sergeant major and currently serves as a campaign manager in Georgia's district 12. Mike was asked by his candidate to become the manager of his campaign, a career shift that required him to quit his previous job.“As this is my very first time involved in campaigning, I came to this school to find the baseline for what I should be doing and implementing,” he said. “I just wish I'd come before.”On Day 2, the CMS lectures focused on targeting and calculating vote goals, building coalitions, grassroots machines, door-to-door campaigning, and contacting voters via phone banks. LI President Morton Blackwell also delivered a comprehensive lecture on handling negative information to protect your candidate's image.“To deflect negative attacks against you or your candidate, your aim is to end the usefulness of the story against you as soon as possible,” Morton said. He then proceeded to list six strategies to extinguish the negative accusations.While the CMS focuses on campaigning, the principles can be applied to other types of activism. Three attendees, Les Riley, Gualberto Garcia Jones, and Drew Hymer, work with affiliates of Personhood USA.“The lectures provide good information on grassroots mobilization and getting people involved,” said Les, who founded Personhood Mississippi and drafted the legal language for an initiative that would seek to define the unborn as “persons” in the state constitution. His “Personhood Amendment” has already amassed more than 130,000 signatures and gained the support of former Arkansas Governor Mike Huckabee.Similarly, Lisa Donovan, vice chair of the Upstate Conservative Coalition in New York, is launching a grassroots effort to fight unfunded mandates in her state and mobilize people to overturn regulations that she believes are placed unfairly upon her state without proper access to funding.“The Campaign Management School gives a good overview of what's important for activism,” Lisa said. “I've been so impressed by the faculty. They're so knowledgeable and experienced.”Day 3 of the CMS covered topics such as writing a finance plan, recruiting a finance committee, asking for donations, fundraising with events, direct mail fundraising, establishing a voter registration plan, running an absentee voting program, and planning a ground game for getting out the vote (GOTV).“I think anyone who is serious about running for office should go through LI's Campaign Management and Future Candidate schools, as well as the TV trainings,” said Jacob Turk, who is running for U.S. Congress as a Republican from Missouri's 5th district. “What you learn during the CMS will help you be a much better candidate and run a much better campaign.”On the final day of the CMS attendees learned about the latest campaign technologies, implementing a voter mail program, creating effective ads for paid media, hiring and firing consultants, the procedures for buying media space, tips and techniques for handling earned media, as well as completing and fine-tuning a winning strategy.The shift toward media focus was of particular interest to Chuck Paris, another veteran of the U.S. Army who is working to bring on-camera media training to combat veterans returning from Iraq and Afghanistan.“Many veterans return from war and have trouble being personable,” Chuck said. “I want to train them to handle media, and these LI courses give me the credentials. I wouldn't spend my money and time if it wasn't superb.” Chuck has taken numerous courses with LI over the years, including public relations, new media, fundraising, legislative project management, and TV trainings.LI offers campaign training the first full week of every month. Check out the schedule here.>
What Recruiters Want: Tackling the Toughest Interview Questions
Laci Lawrence
January 6, 2012
What Recruiters Want: Tackling the Toughest Interview Questions
You made it. Your resume and cover letter were perfect, and now you are sitting in the hot seat at the office of your dreams. No pressure, but things can all go south in a matter of minutes if you haven't prepared for difficult interview questions. Check out the five difficult questions below and how to best answer them in an intelligent and concise manner. 1. Tell me about yourself. Many interviews begin with this softball of a question, so be prepared with a short and applicable answer. You should create a one-minute elevator speech that pertains to how your qualifications align with the potential job and employer. Do not dredge up some anecdote about your childhood unless you can successfully tie it to the job.2. What is your five-year plan? If you are just entering the job market, you might not have a clear plan. Or, even worse, the job you are interviewing for may not fall within your ideal five-year plan. How should you answer this question? One thing is clear: never say that you hope to be in the same job at the end of the five years. Show some ambition and tell the employer you want to advance in the company because you believe in the company's goals and ideals. Demonstrate your dedication to the company by explaining how you will use your experience to improve the company's image and bottom line.3. You seem to change careers frequently. Why should I hire you? If you are attempting to make a career change, this question will surely be asked by an employer. It's best to explain how your previous employment provided you with a diverse and unique skill set that qualifies you for the present job. Pick three skills from your previous work and describe how those qualities translate to the current job. If you have a compelling and applicable story of why you are changing careers, tell the recruiter why you are passionate about the new job and company.4. Why do you want to work for us? This is another softball question that can become a foul ball if you answer “Because I want to help people” or “Because I am the best candidate.” You should really capitalize on this question by doing your homework on the company before the interview. Give a specific example of an ongoing project at the company and how you are uniquely qualified to address that task. Your answers should be tailored to the company's current projects as much as possible. This tells the employer that you are already “in the know” about the organization.5. You don't have much experience in this field. What qualifies you for this position? Raise your hand if you hate this question. How do you gain experience if everyone only hires people with experience? Never fear, there is an answer for you. Mention your good grades and any applicable school experience that relates to the job. Most importantly, discuss how you want to learn the ropes at the company because of your dedication to its main goals. Tell the employer about your drive and determination to become a key player at the company. Don't forget to subtly mention that your starting salary will be lower than a more experienced person. What you may lack in experience you can make up in determination.So there you have it. Before walking into the interview, think about how to adopt these suggestions and craft your own answers. Remember that recruiters will be interviewing multiple candidates for the job, and your polished and prepared answers will immediately set you apart from other candidates. Getting the interview shows that you already demonstrated the qualifications for the job. Now sell your personality and determination with excellent responses!>
Ready To Run—Future Candidates Now Equipped
Mikayla Hall and Lauren Hart
December 9, 2011
Ready To Run—Future Candidates Now Equipped
Every year across America thousands of people run for public office. Many lose, and do so from common errors that can be avoided by learning from campaign experts. This week 28 conservatives gathered at the Leadership Institute's Future Candidate School to learn effective campaign techniques as they consider a bid for public office. This training helps conservatives thoughtfully consider and proactively strategize their campaign aspirations as well as encourage them to plan ahead. The training began with a day dedicated entirely to candidate development. Holly Davis, co-founder and vice president of Gauge Market Research started it off with a simple question—“Are you ready to run?”For four days attendees learned from expert faculty about what it takes to run a stronger and more effective campaign. Faculty included Stephen Clouse of Stephen Clouse & Associates, Inc., Tyler Harper of The Prosper Group, and Rebecca Norman of The Richard Norman Company.The remaining three days covered topics such as: coalitions, fundraising, polling, developing a message, and others. These lectures required future candidates to ask themselves what they can do to put themselves on the right path to get elected.John Paul Wagemann is running again for the Washington State House of Representatives in the 28th district. He lost by around 600 votes with no campaign training.“My original plan was not as well-written as it could have been. All four days of LI training reinforced the importance of having a solid plan going into a campaign,” John said.John says the lectures on the Leesburg Grid and public speaking were particularly encouraging. “I learned much more about public speaking and how to articulate what is important to me and my constituents,” John said.“We know conservatism is right, but we need to package it correctly so people will want to listen," John continued. "These lectures made it clear how skillful the opposing side is. Conservatives can often get caught up in fighting over what doesn't matter—we need to focus!”Recently elected Virginia Delegate Mike Watson, a former LI graduate who took eight trainings at the Institute, closed the training by sharing his candidacy story.“I went to the Future Candidate School first, and a few months later attended the week-long Campaign Management School. There, I was surrounded by people who wanted to be campaign managers, and I ended up hiring one of them: Annette James. We had an LI team going. We'd had the same training, so we were on the same page, and we won! You can do it too,” Mike encouraged.“I am horrible on TV, so I went to LI's workshop and the on-camera training, and improved in debates and public speeches. I was calm, cool, and collected during debates. I had a smile, my arm on the table, and was turned toward the other person when things got heated—all thanks to my training at the Leadership Institute. Go to as many trainings as you can. Equip yourself for the fight ahead,” Mike closed.Want to attend a Future Candidate School? To register for this and other LI programs, go here.>
Yesterday at LI: President of the National Right to Work Committee Mark Mix Remains Optimistic about Battle Against Unions
Mikayla Hall
December 8, 2011
Yesterday at LI: President of the National Right to Work Committee Mark Mix Remains Optimistic about Battle Against Unions
Yesterday 43 people braved the wind and the rain to hear Mark Mix, the president of the National Right to Work Committee and National Right to Work Foundation, who spoke at the Leadership Institute's December Wednesday Wake-Up Club Breakfast.Mark Mix credits the Leadership Institute's techniques with his start in politics. He said a member of a conservative campus group at his college stood in front of a table, shook his hand, and invited him to their meeting.In the following years, Mark went on to take LI's Legislative Project Management School, newspaper training, television training and other Institute trainings he could make. “I probably have more LI diplomas than most,” he joked.Standing before conservatives and supporters of the Institute, Mark spoke about his organization's efforts to establish right to work laws across the nation.“The First Amendment says you have the right to associate. Since 1935, however, we have allowed private organizations to force workers to associate as terms of employment. Having a right to associate presupposes the right not to associate. …How is it that a private organization that represents only 6.9 percent of the private sector has the loudest voice on Capitol Hill?” he said.But, Mark noted, it is important to recognize that the National Right to Work Committee is not against unions, but against forcing employees to join a union as terms of employment. “We protect the right for people to join a union. It is an important right. But we cannot give [union leaders] monopoly power,” Mark said.While a serious issue, Mark ended on a positive note, saying: “You can't overlook what's happening in Wisconsin and Ohio. Compulsory behavior is in the last throes of a [failed institution]…in ten years or so, I think we will see the end of compulsory organized labor.”Didn't make it to the Wednesday Wake-Up Club Breakfast? Watch the video here.Next month's speaker will be Dr. Paul Teller, executive director of the Republican Study Committee. To register for this and other LI programs and schools, go here.>
100 People Learn About Conservative Careers at LI’s Workshop This Week
Lauren Hart
November 18, 2011
100 People Learn About Conservative Careers at LI’s Workshop This Week
One hundred people attended the Conservative Career Workshop Tuesday and Wednesday evenings at LI's Steven P.J. Wood Building in Arlington, VA.“This was some of the best advice I've received for my job search. I learned about the interview process and negotiating a salary. I had no idea how to negotiate salary prior to this! I feel more confident about tweaking my resume and going into an interview now," said Heritage Foundation Coalition Relations Intern Dixie Cline.The Conservative Career Workshop helps those looking to sharpen their professional skills and for those searching for their next career move. Attendees learned about different paths in the conservative movement from working on the Hill, in a think-tank, or for a non-profit.“I learned how to take my private sector experience toward perspective job opportunities in the conservative movement," said Robert Towner, a Government Technical Coordinator for Verizon Wireless.LI had a great lineup of expert faculty, including:-American Conservative Union Director of CPAC Chris Malagisi-Americans for Prosperity Foundation Recruiter Andrea McCarthy-Foreign Policy Initiative Director of Government Relations & Outreach Rachel Hoff-FreedomWorks Federal and State Campaigns Director Brendan Steinhauser-Global Vision Communications Principal and Founder/CEO of Ladies America Lindsey Mask-Heritage Foundation Recruiter Kristine Bramsen-Leadership Institute Vice President Steven Sutton-Leadership Institute Director of ConservativeJobs.com Emily Miller-Republican Study Committee Executive Director Paul Teller“At the conservative Career Workshop I learned to be more confident in networking and utilizing the contacts I have. It's a great workshop that will provide insider tips to finding a job in D.C.” said Kelly Cassara, the media/field department intern for Concerned Women for America.Family Research Council intern Terri Hufschmid said, “The information about propriety in networking and resume formats was extremely helpful. I will be using this for the rest of my life!”Americans for Limited Government Senior Research Analyst Richard McCarty, another attendee, said: “I have attended several LI schools, and I've always found them interesting and insightful, as well as good places to network.”During the two evenings, attendees learned to: find career paths in the conservative movement; successfully get a job on the Hill; negotiate salary; enhance resume and interview skills; and have an effective personal brand.Avant Garde Information Solutions Financial Controller Patrick Fabian said: “The Leadership Institute provides the must-have tools necessary for a conservative activist to transition to a full-time career related to public policy.”LI offers training year-around. Come get trained to be effective in public policy. >
Conservatives Polish their PR Skills at LI’s Advanced Public Relations School
Mikayla Hall
November 9, 2011
Conservatives Polish their PR Skills at LI’s Advanced Public Relations School
The past three evenings this week, 20 conservatives gathered in Arlington, Virginia at the Leadership Institute's Steven P.J. Wood Building to enhance their public relations skills at LI's Advanced Public Relations School.Attendees came from many backgrounds, including: non profits, government agencies, and defense contractors.The training blended the lecture style most common with LI trainings with hands-on practice. As LI's Director of Communications Training Rachel Phillips noted, “PR is about practice. You can learn these skills the more you work on them.”Attendees formed groups to practice the lessons taught by: Jessica Towhey of Dezenhall Resources; Stuart Roy of Prism Public Affairs; and Abigail Alger of LI. Each group was given a scenario, brainstormed how to respond to the crisis, and then held a mock press conference.One group represented a restaurant company with a food crisis. They had a Bird Flu outbreak and had to respond to public concerns. One person played the role of a communications director, one had to write the press release, and the third person played the spokesman during the press conference.To find out when LI is hosting more public relations training, visit http://leadershipinstute.org/training. >
LI’s International Leadership Training Seminar Trains 77 Conservatives From Around the World
Mikayla Hall
November 2, 2011
LI’s International Leadership Training Seminar Trains 77 Conservatives From Around the World
Last week the Leadership Institute hosted 77 representatives from 12 countries—Bolivia, Kenya, Latvia, Mexico, Mongolia, Peru, Romani, Russia, Spain, Tanzania, United Kingdom, and the United States.The International Leadership Training Seminar (ILTS) was a week-long crash course in communications, fundraising, negotiations, and on-camera techniques.Member of the Bolivian Parliament Paola Zapata Montaño said, “The Leadership Institute has made me proud of being a conservative, and has equipped me with not only the right tools, but also the right principles that motivate me to recover the democratic lifestyle that Bolivia deserves.”Notable attendees included Armando Vera, the founder and president of the Hispanic Tea Party; Paola Zapata Montaño, a member of the Bolivian parliament; Lkhagvajav Dolgorjav, the Secretariat's manager for the Democratic Party of Zavkhan province; and Dr. Ole-Ronkei Morompi, the advocacy director at Compassion International.The training was taught in/translated into English, Spanish, and Mongolian. Those in attendance learned from experts in various fields, including: Stephen Clouse, the president of Stephen D. Clouse & Associates; Ann Fitzgerald, president of A.C. Fitzgerald & Associates, LLC; and Giuseppe Gori, the president of Central Dynamics.When asked what he enjoyed about these lectures, Compassion International Advocacy Director Dr. Morompi said, “Strategic use of social media for purposes of political mobilization, fund-raising and ultimately winning an election is certainly the highlight of the training for me at LI.”After three days of intensive training at LI, the group toured the U.S. Capitol. From there, The Heritage Foundation opened their doors and gave additional lectures on the economic index, new media, and how a think tank like Heritage and a “do tank” like LI can work well with conservative activists and officials who want to make a difference.“Graduates of The Leadership Institute go on to be amazing leaders for their cause, both here in America and back in their home countries,” said Bridgett Wagner, Heritage's director of coalition relations.Before returning to their respective countries, some of the attendees offered their kind words about their time at LI.Bolivia's think tank Funbolider's President Alejandro Barja said, “This training has allowed me to change my thinking and my behavior and it has equipped me to better solve the problems of leadership we face and fulfill the needs in my region and country in a positive way.”Interested in attending a future International Leadership Training Seminar? Contact LI's Director International & Government Training Miguel Moreno at (703) 247-2000.Other Leadership Institute training is available here. >
Total: 245