What Not to Do: Career Search/Interview Bloopers
Laci Lawrence
October 24, 2011
What Not to Do: Career Search/Interview Bloopers
It's time for a little tough love to current job seekers. Some people have excellent resumes, cover letters, and interviewing skills, and some do not. Chances are if you are reading this blog you are looking for some help. Congratulations for taking the first step in a job search: asking for advice! I have compiled a list of absolute, never ever, do not's for your job search. These are golden standards that apply to every job sector, and the types of issues that result in resume trash-dunking contests across the country. The tips may seem like no-brainers, but pay attention to each of them to make sure your resume doesn't end up as a paper airplane cruising your dream job's office.1. Never use family and friends as references. Employers know your mom will give the most glowing reference of your selfless dedication and organizational skills, but what they really what to know is why you couldn't find a real reference for your application. If you have worked somewhere for several months and you use your sister as a reference, the “red flag” is immediately raised for the employer. 2. Watch for suspect job skills or descriptions. In the wise words of George Washington in his Rules of Civility and Decent Behaviour in Company and Conversation, “Show nothing to your friend that might affright him.” Review your resume and have others critique your resume. You might be surprised how many mistakes remain even after you have spent hours formatting and editing. Look for strange descriptions that might make for hilarious office emails but not a credible resume. If a friend reading the job description has no idea what tasks you performed, find another way to describe your duties. Also, avoid labeling yourself as unemployed or unlicensed. Find a positive way to express your current job status (i.e. jobseeker).3. Check any bad attitude or negativity at the door. The job market is tough right now, there's no question about that. You have probably been working your tail off applying for jobs, networking, and sending out your resume to everyone you can think of. It is a frustrating process! Despite any aggravation you've had with previous failures, adopt a positive and upbeat attitude for the job interview process. Find positive things to say about your job search and experiences or say nothing at all.4. Avoid oversharing during the interview. Returning to the wise words of our first President: “Be not tedious in discourse or in reading unless you find the company pleased therewith.” When asked the inevitable “Tell me about yourself” question, be prepared to answer with a concise and relevant response. The employer does not want to know your life story despite the open-endedness of the question. It is easy to become stressed in the interview and spew useless information; review potential questions before the interview and practice your answers.5. Do not be the silly applicant. Read and re-read the job posting and any document you submit to the employer. Nothing is more embarrassing than sending the wrong cover letter to an employer or sending your application to the wrong person. Be sure you have the correct email address and that you have properly submitted all documentation. Incomplete applications rarely go further than the recycle bin, and incorrectly submitted applications cause employers to assume that you are incapable of following directions. If the job posting is confusing, do not hesitate to call or email the employer for clarification. 6. Work your opportunities. Has someone offered to help you? Did a colleague provide some advice? Have you utilized your network? From my personal experience, it is easy to complain about not having a job, but it is harder to continually apply for jobs, seek new avenues of employment, and ask for help. Make sure you take people up on their offers to help with your job search. If you are a new jobseeker, all advice should be relevant and at least educational. It only takes one person to take notice of your ambition and qualifications to land the perfect job. Talk with people, find out their opinions on potential employers, and discover their personal career path. It is often said that searching for a job is a job in and of itself. Are you working 8 hours a day to find your dream job? Chances are other people are working just as strenuously.I hope you will use this advice to your advantage as you apply for jobs and receive interviews. Talk to any hiring representatives, and they will have some hilarious and horrifying stories of their own. Make sure that on the interview day you are the polished, confident, and intelligent candidate. Good luck!>
So You Didn't Get the Job?
Laci Lawrence
October 13, 2011
So You Didn't Get the Job?
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Sometimes the interview went okay and sometimes the interview was the best you could imagine. In either scenario, the answer is the same: No thank you.Many articles exist to help you get the job, but this blog aims to help you regroup after the rejection. Consider these tips as you plan your next move.1. Analyze your interview. Think about what questions were asked and how you answered those questions. Were you confident, calm, and composed? Were you rambling, confusing, or withdrawn? I am normally so glad to be done with the interview that I immediately forget the bad parts or sugarcoat the reality of what occurred.You should really think about how you presented yourself during the interview to improve for future opportunities. I also recommend keeping an ongoing document of tough questions and your best answer to those questions. I will post a blog in a few weeks specifically about those terribly tricky interview questions that can tank an interview in about five minutes. Overall, be honest in your evaluation and decide how best to present yourself and correctly answer questions for the next interview.2. Review your portfolio. Make additional changes to your resume, writing sample, references list, etc. Have you sent your resume to other people for advice on mistakes or necessary changes? I edit my resume at least twice a month, and I still find little changes that can make it better. Remember that employers will consider your personality during the interview and the effectiveness and organization of your portfolio. If an employer is caught between two equally qualified candidates and one resume has grammatical or structural errors, you can guess who will receive the job offer. Take the time and make your portfolio the best it can be for the next interview.3. Consider alternative options. Yes, I said it – you may need to refocus your career search. For all of you diehards searching for a job in a narrow field, remember that the economy is not looking very bright. Perhaps several years ago you could jump right into your preferred field, but now current employers have smaller budgets and fewer employees.Take for instance Destiny Decker, a political science and religion major from North Carolina. Her entire undergraduate degree and experiences were aimed at working for a non-profit in England on the Middle East peace process. When things didn't work out, she worked at the Disney Store to make money and enhance her organizational, interpersonal, and diplomatic skills. Destiny continued her search for work in D.C. by using her local contacts, one of whom contacted the director of the Traditional Values Coalition. Her work ethic and skills landed her a salaried position five months later.Are you like Destiny? Take a job, learn new skills, continue looking, and prepare for the perfect opportunity.4. Cultivate your skills while you can. Do not languish at home wringing your hands about the lack of employment. Do something to make your resume better: find volunteer work, get an internship, or work at the Disney store!“Learn as many skills as possible in whatever you are doing,” Destiny recommends. You may even gain contacts through your temporary job that can help the search for your preferred job sector. Do not be afraid to work for a “plan B” or “plan C” employer. All of your experience adds up, and your work ethic can be demonstrated by taking those temporary positions.5. Don't give up. Keep searching for your dream job even though it seems unattainable at the present time. Who knows – maybe the dream job is five or ten years from now. Some opportunities may fall into your lap, whereas other opportunities are earned by hard work and dedication. If you find yourself in a job that is not exactly what you wanted originally, re-evaluate your goals. It could be that you love where you work now.After the whirlwind of changes, Destiny concludes, “Now that I know what my dream job is, I can honestly say I am doing my dream job. It has been challenging, but I know that everything I confront in the job world can either make me quit or make me stronger.”If you fall into the category of unemployed or underemployed, I hope these tips give you some ideas for the future and changes to make while searching. Keep up the hard work, and it will pay off, even if the final product is different than what you initially imagined.>
LI Hires Four New Staff Members
Angela Mitchell
September 30, 2011
LI Hires Four New Staff Members
September 30, 2011, Arlington, VA--The Leadership Institute is excited to introduce four new staff who come from different backgrounds, but who are all eager to contribute to LI's mission and growing the conservative movement.Oliver Darcy brings a fresh perspective to the Leadership Institute's Campus Leadership Program (CLP). Darcy is the new regional field coordinator for the Mid-West region, which includes MN, ND, SD, NE, KS, IA and MO. Before arriving at LI, Darcy interned with Congressman Jeff Denham, worked as a systems support coordinator in the health industry, and volunteered on numerous political campaigns.At LI, his duties include working to establish conservative activist groups on college campuses. When asked why he wanted to work with CLP, he stated simply that he “likes campus activism and exposing young adults to conservative principles.” Darcy's focus is to advance the conservative movement the best that he can, and LI is happy to have him as a part of the team.Emily Miller begins a new chapter in her career at LI after accepting the director of Employment Placement Services. Previously, she was intern coordinator. Emily will control and maintain LI's website, conservativejobs.com, which is also known as “the HR department of the conservative movement.” Her goal is to sustain the role of a one-stop-shop for conservative job seekers and employers, and to place them in the public policy job process.Originally from Canton, OH, Emily has also worked for the Koch Associate Program, as well as the Philanthropy Round Table, where she managed the education reform team as a project coordinator. She loves working with young conservative leaders through LI's internship program, and believes that her new position will only expand upon that role.Trey McKenzie recently joined LI as a donor relations officer, where he corresponds with many of the Institute's donors in any way that is needed. Prior to joining the LI team, he interned with both Senator John Boozman from his home state of Arkansas and Americans for Prosperity, where he first heard of LI.Trey decided he wanted to join LI because he believes in the organization's mission, which is to increase the number and effectiveness of conservative activists and leaders in the public policy process. He has a passion to get others involved any way that he can, and his previous experience working in the conservative movement both for a legislator as well as within the non-profit sector will add to the work that he continues with LI. Emily Ames, the director of donor relations at LI says, “Trey is enthusiastic to learn and takes the extra step to help out everyone in our department. He is always looking for ways to improve processes around here, and he definitely thinks outside the box.”Also joining the Development Department is Karla Bruno, the new director of foundation and corporate relations. Her new position focuses on both fundraising and grant writing. Growing up in a military family (her father was a United States Marine), she is familiar with the concept of adapting quickly, and that is exactly what she has done at LI.Karla, an English teacher and a librarian for nearly 20 years, is also a writer and journalist. She became involved with the Wren Cross incident at the college of William & Mary, which initially began her interest within the realm of conservative politics. Steve Sutton, vice president of development and campus programs, is excited at the new development work Karla and the department is working on as they set new goals this year. He said, “We've always wanted to greatly increase our outreach to corporations, and this is one area we are particularly excited about.”The Leadership Institute welcomes all new hires.Would you like to join the LI team? The Institute currently has two open positions—the business systems engineer and intern coordinator.>
Conservative Activists Are More Confident After LI’s High-Dollar Fundraising School
Mikayla Hall
September 23, 2011
Conservative Activists Are More Confident After LI’s High-Dollar Fundraising School
September 23, 2011, Arlington, VA--Last week the Leadership Institute broke a record of 79 students who attended LI's High Dollar Fundraising School. Attendees discovered ways to enhance the causes and candidates of their choice with effective fundraising.The expert faculty included Todd Meredith, co-owner of Morgan, Meredith & Associates; Tracey Johnson, President and CEO of Credo Strategies; and LI's own Marci LeBlanc and Steve Sutton from the development department.Attendees learned how to write grant proposals, distinguish the differences between types of donations, communicate strategically with donors, and establish a high-dollar direct mail program."The LI High Dollar fundraising workshop was extremely helpful. After completing the class, I immediately put the skills I learned to use, and have already secured additional funding for my non-profit," said GI Film Festival Executive Director Laura Law-Millett.Jerry Cave, owner of his own communications and search engine optimization company, says he plans to use the training to possibly pursue a career in advocacy. “[The] Leadership Institute is a fabulous opportunity to learn and develop new skills and meet fellow conservatives. [It was] a tremendous learning experience!”LI Intern Fredrick McKinley said he always was afraid of asking people for money, “but after attending the High-Dollar Fundraising School, [he] feels more confident that [he] will be able to successfully help a campaign raise money.”Lynda Fairman, We the People district coordinator for VA-01 and York County coordinator for Tom Harmon for VA Senate Campaign said, “LI's High Dollar Fundraising School gave me practical, ‘real world' methods that will help me while working on political campaigns and for non-profit organizations and schools. Presentations from experts in the field address everything from assessing dollars needed to asking for different levels of donations to finalizing the deposit and organizing reports, this school covers it all for success from beginning to end!”“I've already started using this knowledge to help the We the People program replace the defunded federal funds so we can continue to train teachers to teach the Constitution with non-partisan curriculum in all schools at all levels,” Lynda continued. “In addition to this job, I plan on sharing what I've learned as I work on political campaigns to help conservative candidates raise the funds needed to win elections.”“The Leadership Institute presents quality programs with expert information I can use right away. After graduating from several of their schools and their grassroots training and workshops, I highly recommend any of their classes,” Lynda said. “LI is, truly, a class act for success!”Are you interested in attending the High-Dollar Fundraising School or other Leadership Institute trainings? To register for this school and others, check out http://www.leadershipinstitute.org/training/ >
Preparing for the Interview
Laci Lawrence
September 16, 2011
Preparing for the Interview
Congratulations! You received the call from your dream job company, and they want to interview you in a week. After the celebratory victory dance, which is merited, since you probably made the cut from a much larger pool of candidates, it's time to think about the interview. Here is a short list of things to think about, execute, or prepare for prior to the big day. Each tip is designed to cut the unnecessary stress out of an inherently stressful day.1. Always bring at least 3 copies of your resume and any documentation you sent in with your application. It seems silly, especially because you know the company already has all of your information, but I have been asked on at least 3 interviews for my resume. Avoid awkward moments by being smooth and prepared with your resume, writing sample, and references on hand.2. Review the company website, publications, and community involvement before the interview. Chances are you already checked out the company before you applied, but a quick refresher is important so you know exactly how to respond to the interview questions. Also, check if anyone you know works at the company. They might have advice from their personal experience with the company and insider company policy. If you do not know anyone at the company, try researching the competition and their view on your potential employer. Integrate this research into your interview answers, and you will look not only smart, but already familiar with the company's policies.3. If you can, find out who your interviewer(s) will be before you arrive. Research what they do for the company. You may discover you have friends or causes in common, and it can never hurt to drop a line or two you know will be favorable to the interviewer.4. One of the most important tips is being on time for the interview. Drive by the interview location a day before the interview and make sure to check on parking options and traffic issues for the particular area. I interviewed for a job in a busy downtown area and did not anticipate the complete lack of parking. When I finally did find parking, I was stressed and frazzled. I was not late to the interview, but anxious sweat is not the best start to an interview.5. Pick out the “winning outfit” the day before. Find your favorite interview outfit, including accessories and jewelry, and try it on. Does it still fit and make you feel fabulous? If not, find the next best option and stick with it the day of the interview. 6. Plan your meal time appropriately. You should eat something before the interview, if just to avoid the loud stomach grumbles in the middle of the interview. Do not, under any circumstances, drink alcohol before your interview. One of my previous employers said he had several people walk into the interview with alcohol fumes on their breath, and he immediately eliminated them from the hiring process. Celebrate after the interview.Now that you have some great tips, use them! You might be anxious about the interview when you walk into the employer's office, but just think about the other potential candidates who failed to bring copies of their resume, frantically searched for parking, or forgot to research the employer properly. You are already several steps ahead of them, so put on a smile and work that interview. >
Taking LI’s Campaign Management School is like going to the “NFL from high school”
Mikayla Hall
September 14, 2011
Taking LI’s Campaign Management School is like going to the “NFL from high school”
September 14, 2011, Arlington, VA—The Campaign Management School held last week at the Leadership Institute was four full days and trained 22 students. David Wiesby said, “I am 58-years-old and have attended many schools and training events, but this is the best of the best. It is like going to the NFL from high school.”Stephen Clouse, president of Stephen Clouse & Associates, and James Davis, an associate with Brunswick Group, were among the expert faculty teaching at the school.“Before I attended I had no idea how to begin raising money, but I feel more prepared to get started,” said student Erin Ashley.Attendees learned how to create a campaign plan, target and identify voters, develop a message, pick one of the various fundraising strategies, and quickly and correctly respond to the media.Armed with this knowledge, graduates of LI's Campaign Management School go on to run and work on campaigns across the country.“[The Campaign Management School] was a comprehensive crash course on campaigning that maximizes content over a condensed time frame. …I plan to incorporate this training into my upcoming campaign for the West Virginia House of Delegates,” said Elliot Simon.Elliot learned of the Leadership Institute from his friends who are delegates in the West Virginia legislature: Jonathan Miller and Eric Householder.Want to learn how to run a quality campaign? The best campaign schools are now available monthly—during the first week of every month!Check out the Future Candidate School December 5th and Campaign Management School October 3rd. >
Fundraisers Needed
Andrea McCarthy
August 17, 2011
Fundraisers Needed
Let's face it, organizations need fundraisers. They need folks to write, ask, research, and plan events. Every day job listings for Directors of Development, Outside Membership Sales, Online Membership Coordinators, Directors of Major Gifts, Development Associates, and Interns are posted. While development jobs are plentiful these days, the fundraising field is competitive and only the strongest prevail. Like you, many job hunters are actively seeking a development position in the fundraising world. To set yourself apart from the competition, it is important to be armed with the political technology needed to stand out above the rest, and the Leadership Institute's High-Dollar Fundraising School can help.Hundreds of our nation's top fundraisers have attended the Leadership Institute's High Dollar Fundraising School. During this intensive two-day training you will learn keys to conducting effective fundraising events, why people give you money, tips to organize your development department, how to raise funds through personal solicitation, the nuts & bolts of private grant proposals, how to raise large donations from annuities, donated assets, and bequests, and much more! The next High Dollar Fundraising School will be held on September 12-13 at Leadership Institute headquarters in Arlington, VA. Registration for this class usually costs $150, but for ConservativeJobs.com users, it's only $60 when you use the promotion code HDFSCJ. For only $60 you will learn the ins and outs of development and fundraising from our expert faculty, enhance your resume, and expand your network. Meals, lodging, and all course materials are covered in the school cost. While lodging in our Leadership Institute dormitory is free, space is limited so make sure to register today!As an added bonus, when you register for the Leadership Institute's High-Dollar Fundraising School you are admitted FREE into our Online Fundraising Workshop the evening of September 12th! This live lecture will teach you how to develop an online fundraising strategy and utilize a diverse set of tools and media.Don't miss this incredible opportunity to learn from fundraising professionals and hone your development skills! Register today!>
When working on the Hill just isn't for you...
Matthew Hurtt
August 12, 2011
When working on the Hill just isn't for you...
Many fresh-faced ideological young Republicans and Democrats make the big move to Washington, D.C. with grand dreams of working for their Member of Congress, only to find it's pretty hard to break in on the Hill. Most offices want you to intern for little or no pay for weeks before possibly being offered a position. And if nothing opens up, then you're tasked with networking your way to a Staff Assistant or Legislative Correspondent job somewhere else. Maybe. But perhaps the Hill isn't for you. Admittedly, it's something I thought I wanted to do last year after finishing work on a campaign, but it takes a different kind of person to work in Congress. For instance, I'm a little more opinionated and a little too idealistic to work in an office for a Member who has an “R” or “D” next to their name. While I tend to vote for candidates of one Party over another, I'm hesitant to carry their water, especially if I disagree with the policy. And believe me, I disagree a lot. But what are the other options? There are countless associations, nonprofits, advocacy organizations, and other places for prospective young jobseekers, and turnover is sometimes pretty high. People move on or move up frequently. Use resources like ConservativeJobs, Brad Traverse, the Heritage Job bank, and others to find work. And most importantly, network and develop contacts. Being successful in Washington – on or off the Hill – requires a tremendous level of networking. And certainly don't think the Hill is your only option. I've worked in three different jobs since I moved to Washington: the nonprofit sector, a political campaign, and now in the private sector. I love the hours and the work. There is no shortage of opportunities here. While many people move to Washington to work on the Hill for a Member of Congress, there are countless other political and government careers in D.C.>
Students learn media manners at LI’s Advanced Public Relations School this week
Noelle Huffman and Lauren Hart
August 5, 2011
Students learn media manners at LI’s Advanced Public Relations School this week
August 5, 2011, Arlington, VA— “Be a resource,” Jim Eltringham, vice president of Advocacy Group, Inc, said. “You will always go back to your resources, so mind your media manners!”Students learned how to develop media manners this week at the Leadership Institute's Advanced Public Relations School. Constructing appropriate responses in crises situations, writing effective press releases, conducting informative interviews, and holding focused press conferences were among the many topics addressed by expert faculty.LI Faculty member Ian Ivey, program expert at General Services Administration, shared tips for helpful argumentation. “No matter how brilliant the response, if you are slow on uptake, your communications strategy will fail.”“Timing is the most important aspect,” Ian continued, “you must have targeted and emotional communication, while getting it out fast enough to be effective. You must get your message out before it's framed.”For LI student Sam Sheetz who works in U.S. Representative Sam Johnson's office, the most important skill gained was “learning how to perform under pressure and answer tough questions.”Peter Smith, another student at this week's Advanced PR School, summed up his experience: “It's a fun, educational experience with value regardless of the profession; it opens your eyes to new perspectives and helps develop new skills. The school is a valuable resource.”Ian discussed strategies to assess numerous “plays” enacted in public relations, both good and bad. Students interacted with the faculty members to determine specific PR techniques in proposed situations.“Just because you run a play doesn't mean it will work,” Ian warned. “Even if you know what the play is.”LI student Jennifer Lundy, project assistant at Areva Enrichment Services, described the training as “a great place to learn, to network, and to advance the conservative movement in many aspects of your life.” She plans to use her newly acquired skills in “future campaign or political opportunities to shape the message and win.”Vice President of Advocacy Group Inc. and former LI staffer Jim Eltringham communicated the four critical “R's” when dealing with the media: relationship, response, respect, and resource. In order to attain all four, “you must get your foot in the door and make it easy for a reporter to pay attention to you,” Jim explained. “Boil complex issues down so they can be understood quickly.”Jim urged students to “argue factually and pointedly and to never assume yourself off the record.”In order to apply the many media techniques addressed, Erik Hower at AT&T and Eric Slee of the DCI Group held a mock press conference. Students divided into teams and prepared remarks to present in front of “reporters.” Challenging questions were encouraged and all participants received valuable feedback on their comments.Bryan Fuentes of Healthcare Information and Management Systems Society said, “I learn something new every time I attend the Leadership Institute.”You too can learn new techniques in communication and other areas. Check out LI's upcoming trainings here to register early and receive a discount. >
Become a Contributing Writer for LI's Campus Reform
Brittney Morrett and Lauren Hart
August 3, 2011
Become a Contributing Writer for LI's Campus Reform
August 3, 2011—Arlington, VA—Want to promote conservative principles and make some extra money on the side?Submit a blog post to the Leadership Institute's CampusReform.org's Contributing Writer Program! This is a great way to build your resume, get published, and strengthen your writing skills.For each post that receives 150 unique hits or more within 24 hours of publication, Campus Reform will give you $30! Up to 10 prizes per week will be awarded for a 10 week period. The official start date is Sunday, September 4, 2011.Requirements:• You must be a registered student.• You must be a registered user of CampusReform.org.• Blogs should be in line with Campus Reform's general mission and promote conservative values.• The post must contain original content.To submit your post, write it on CampusReform.org and post it to the appropriate college sub-site. After saving and posting your blog, send the URL to Brittney Morrett.In the e-mail please include your name, school, and class year. Put "Contributing Writer Program Submission" in the subject line. For more information on the program, or how to get involved in conservative activism on your campus, contact your Regional Field Coordinator!>
Do You Really Want to Work on Capitol Hill?
Andrea McCarthy
August 1, 2011
Do You Really Want to Work on Capitol Hill?
Jobseekers are constantly coming to me asking for advice on how to launch a career on Capitol Hill. And I always tell them something they don't want to hear...take an internship. Even if it's unpaid. In almost every job description I see for a Hill staffer position (even the entry-level ones) Hill experience is required. Understanding of how Capitol Hill operates is more important to many offices than state ties are. So how do you get the all-important experience? Intern. I understand that many jobseekers can't afford to take unpaid internships, but that does not change the fact that Hill experience is almost always required for paid positions. And if a jobseeker is truly passionate about and committed to working for a Member of Congress, they should be prepared to intern for free and work a second job to pay the bills. Many veteran Hill staffers got their start interning while waiting tables, bartending or working at a department store. They truly wanted their dream job and worked hard to get it. They paid their dues and are now Legislative Directors or Chiefs of Staff. If those are titles you want someday, consider an internship. Many offices are flexible with hours, especially if the internship is unpaid, so a second job should be reasonable.And once you do obtain that internship, make the most of it. Be a diligent, hardworking member of the team. Network as much as possible. Make friends in other offices. Schedule meetings with veteran staffers. Send your resume to hiring managers of Members with whom you'd like a full time position . Go to meetings. Attend trainings. Turn the internship into your stepping stone to a staff position. Many offices are looking for Fall interns. Check out all the listings on ConservativeJobs.com and take the first steps toward your career on Capitol Hill.>
Largest On Record:  LI’s Written Communications Workshop Welcomes 114 Aspiring Communicators
Noelle Huffman and Lauren Hart
July 21, 2011
Largest On Record: LI’s Written Communications Workshop Welcomes 114 Aspiring Communicators
July 21, 2011, Arlington, VA—Efficient social media, impactful journalism, conservative media trends, and relevant Op-Eds, press releases, and media advisories are all essential aspects of effective communication. At this week's largest-ever Leadership Institute Written Communications Workshop students learned how to acquire and apply these very tools in public policy.LI welcomed more than 114 current and aspiring political writers who had the pleasure of learning from expert faculty such as Lindsey Mask, communications director for Congressman McKeon; Amanda Carpenter, senior communications advisor for Senator DeMint; American Conservative Union CPAC Director Christopher Malagisi; and others.“LI provided me with training to improve my ability to communicate with our company leaders on a daily basis,” commented Scott McGeary, attorney and area manager at Washington Gas.Former LI staffer and the Daily Caller's Senior Contributor Matt Lewis spoke on the conservative media landscape and current trends.“Everyone has an opinion; everybody owns a megaphone and a ‘printing press'. You are competing against all who can press ‘print now,” Lewis said, referring to the waning practice of blogging and the movement from strictly opinion pieces to both opinion and fact-based writing. “People are looking for new information and substantial content: find your niche.”Lewis also exhorted students to be relevant and timely. “Be accurate, fair, and credible—and get it done five minutes ago! Timeliness in writing is so important—three or four minutes often make the difference. Be fast, accurate, and beat the other guy to the punch, but never sacrifice accuracy for speed.”Dan Graham, principle of Graham Associates, shared the importance of audience analysis, avoidance of logical errors in sentence structure, elimination of “deadwood” or ambivalent words, and comprehension and improvement of readability.Dan shared hints for capturing and holding the audience's attention: “The better you know someone, the better you can tell them what you do; present tense is conducive, as opposed to speculative future tense; when writing in the passive voice, you have readers guessing wrong.”Christopher Malagisi, director of the Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) of the American Conservative Union, outlined the elements of an effective op-ed and Communications Director Lindsey Mask touched on the basic components and variance of successful press releases and media advisories.“The best writers are those who niche themselves in one or two specific areas,” Chris said. “A lot of people in politics are generalists—what is one unique thing that can set you apart? You may want to weigh in on the national political environment, but you are an expert on what is going on in your community.”Students enjoyed interacting with each other and faculty members, while gaining valuable insights into the current political writing scene. Areva Enrichment Services Project Assistant Jennifer Lundy described the training as “a great way to learn and network with fellow conservatives.”Intern Brianna Walden of the Family Research Council said, “Many concepts that I had floating around in my head were really defined and nailed down at this workshop. My biggest take-away: develop your own niche.”Brianna summarized her experience: “The Leadership Institute offers thorough and enlightening training sessions and the Written Communications Workshop was no exception. I gained practical tools that will help me throughout life whether I enter a career in communications or not.”She went onto conclude: “I am now better equipped to market myself online and have gained the tools to help my writing in everyday life.”Please click here to register for an upcoming LI training. >
9 Tips to a Successful Interview
Mariya Swella
July 15, 2011
9 Tips to a Successful Interview
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Can ConservativeJobs.com Really Help Me?
Mariya Swella
July 7, 2011
Can ConservativeJobs.com Really Help Me?
There are so many job sites out there that are designed to assist you in your job search. But how many of them really work to match you with your perfect dream job? Stephanie Freedman, former LI intern and ConservativeJobs.com user, found her dream job with the help of Andrea McCarthy and ConservativeJobs.com. Here is an interview that I had with Stephanie to talk about her success as a job seeker. 1. For which organization do you work?I work at the Independent Institute. We are a policy think tank that works with 10 senior fellows to research the different political issues and produce tangible published works (op eds, books). We publish everything at the company, and promote the new development. 2. What is your current position?I am the Publicity Coordinator in the communications department. I am responsible for tracking media and where the seniors have been placed, post successes on the website and social media. I work with scholars and supervisors to edit pieces and reach out to the media outlets and tell everyone what's happening at the organization. I handle a lot of media calls and media relations.3. How did you find out about the job?I heard about the job through the Employment Placement Services (EPS) at The Leadership Institute (LI). I was searching for jobs for the website and came across it. I posted it on CJ.com, and then applied. Andrea assisted me in the research I needed and did a follow up call on my behalf. It was Andrea's follow up call that assisted in moving my resume to the top and eventually led to the employment.4. Did Andrea refer you?Yes.5. Did Andrea help you with your resume?Absolutely. We started working on my resume toward the middle of the internship. We sat down and Andrea helped assess my resume and strengths that I have. She had me read What Color is Your Parachute? by Richard Nelson Bolles and fill out the job flower which gave me different things to assess for my professional skills. Andrea walked through the whole job hunting process with me.6. How did having a ConservativeJobs.com profile assist in the process of locating a job?The website is very helpful. Seekers are able to search in the key words, titles, and areas in which they are looking. Seekers are able to sift through the jobs. The design of ConservativeJobs.com gives you the ability to fill out a good portion about yourself. The website also allows the employers to see even more about you than just receiving a resume. 7. What were the different steps of the interview process that you went through?I first had a short phone interview right after the internship, and I talked with my now direct supervisor. I was offered an in person interview where I sat down with the Communications Director and VP. They asked me about my background with LI, education, policy questions, etc. The interview was roughly 4 or 5 hours long. Finally, I sat down with the COL of the organization, followed by the President, and talked a lot about public policy. I was offered the job four or five days later. 8. How do you like your job?I love my job. It was a very good match. Andrea really listened to what my interests are. I wanted to be able to use both my degrees as well as be back in Northern California near my family. I'm very blessed to be here. Andrea and ConservativeJobs.com played a large role in my placement. 9. What is your favorite aspect of the job?I'm really enjoying being able to see what's going in the country and the world, and being able to correlate the work that we do with everything that is going on. 10. Do you think you would have discovered this job if it weren't for conservativejobs.com?No. I don't think I would have found the job if it wasn't for LI. If it wasn't for CJ and being under Andrea's wing I wouldn't have even known where to look. The website really helped streamline what I wanted.11. What advice do you have for job seekers using ConservativeJobs.com? About their profile? About their resumes? About using EPS?Genuinely assess everything you have done. Don't make your resume fit the cookie cutter. Make sure there are things on there that make you stand out, whatever that may be. You have to have the skill set, but it's the extra activity that does make you stand out. Understand the strengths you possess that make you stand out. Do the research; make sure you have the proper background for which they are looking. Reach out to whoever you can. (Hmmm networking really is important!) 12. Do you and would you recommend conservativejobs.com to other job seekers?I would definitely recommend it! It not only provides a large array of jobs, but it also gives you a full staff and support system around you. Andrea reaches out to everyone on the site, and takes the person's needs and matches them with their dream job. So there you have it. A real life story, with real positive results. Please do not hesitate to contact Andrea McCarthy. She really has a heart for helping people. Good luck on your job searching! >
LI’s International Department Returns to Mongolia to Train an Additional 500 Conservatives
Lauren Hart
June 28, 2011
LI’s International Department Returns to Mongolia to Train an Additional 500 Conservatives
June 27, 2011, Arlington, VA— Next week from July 2-8 the Leadership Institute's international programs department will go again to Mongolia to train around 500 key leaders in government, politics, and business, as well as those seeking public office and those who will run and contribute in the next presidential campaign.The Leadership Institute has currently trained more than 1,000 key Mongolian leaders in Arlington, Virginia, USA and in Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia.Leadership Institute International Programs Consultant Torey Hall met with Mongolia's President Tsakhia Elbegdorj last week when he was in town for meetings with President Obama and several conservative organizations. Mr. Elbegdorj was overjoyed that Mongolia has established democracy after 65 years of a communist government. “We will build a strong relationship with the USA and emulate President Ronald Reagan," President Elbegdorj said.President Elbegdorj, accompanied by his personal advisor and LI Graduate Mrs. Battsetseg Shagdar, was very happy to see LI's Torey Hall. He expressed great enthusiasm and thanked LI for training those who ran his political campaign, as well as other Mongolian business leaders and social entrepreneurs.LI's Director of International Programs Miguel Moreno and three other LI international speakers will address several audiences of key Mongolian leaders in the capital Ulaanbaatar next week. >
America's Future Foundation-an Excellent Professional Development Organization
Lauren Hart
June 27, 2011
America's Future Foundation-an Excellent Professional Development Organization
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Public Speaking Workshop--Tools for Both the Amateur and the Veteran Presenter
Lauren Hart
June 23, 2011
Public Speaking Workshop--Tools for Both the Amateur and the Veteran Presenter
June 23, 2011, Arlington, VA— Conveying a message is more than the simple articulation of ideas; it involves stylistic and intentional verbiage, appropriate hand gestures and body movements, and a correct understanding of the audience. Last week, 15 students learned how to relay an effective message through persuasive delivery at the Leadership Institute's Public Speaking Workshop.Roncalli Communications President Dr. John Shosky discussed the importance of crafting goals for a speech based on the message and audience. “I know that I benefited greatly from Dr. Shoskey's discussion on the substance of a good speech,” remarked student Andrew Patterson from Monroeville, Pennsylvania.Ian Ivey, program expert for General Services Administration, taught four roles imperative to becoming an excellent presenter. “You must be an expert, an owner, a performer, and a teacher through preparation and practice.”Accompanied by energetic gestures and exclamations, Ian shared various tips for effective communication: “Know 10 times what you'll tell them; write good transitions that effectively relate things to one another; when your mouth is moving, you're looking at someone's eyes; intent is not result.”Student Caitlin Byrd, assistant policy analyst at the National Tax Payers Union Foundation, said, “Both speakers were unique and had different deliveries, but were equally effective and very influential.”Andrew summed up his experience at the workshop. “The Leadership Institute's Public Speaking Workshop provides public speaking tools that can be used by both the amateur and veteran presenter.”To learn how to receive this training and others, please click here. >
LI’s Conservative Intern Workshop: Becoming an Unforgettable Asset
Noelle Huffman
June 17, 2011
LI’s Conservative Intern Workshop: Becoming an Unforgettable Asset
June 17, 2011, Arlington, VA- Last week, the Leadership Institute welcomed over 122 DC-area summer interns to the Conservative Intern Workshop. Representing numerous states and organizations, interns enthusiastically engaged in discussions with speakers and networked with each other throughout the intensive, day-long event.Topics ranged from learning how to navigate DC and making the most of an internship, to constructing an effective resume and building a valuable network.“Become an unforgettable asset,” said Steve Sutton, vice president of development at LI. “You want to be the ‘go to' guy. Show initiative and do more than the minimum.”Sutton encouraged interns to “press the advantage by always doing the job of the person ahead of you. If you want the job, do the job. And, never say no for someone else.”Students also learned how to translate first impressions into lasting impressions. Brian Bernys, national field director at LI, explained that manners are the hallmark of profession presence and that there is no end to making first impressions.“You need 60 seconds of information to position who you are, why you're important, and why people should remember you. Know yourself through self-assessment.”Andrea McCarthy, director of employment placement services at LI, shared tips on how to get your resume noticed. Student Bennet Opitz, intern of the American Legislative Exchange Council, described the training as “a great learning experience. I learned a lot about constructing a resume and forming it to fit my future career path.”The workshop concluded with CPAC Director Chris Malagisi of the American Conservative Union instructing interns that networking is not only helpful, it is critical. “Networking today equals opportunities tomorrow; it is an investment in your future.”Malagisi emphasized that following up on connections is the most important aspect in building an effective network. “In politics, most opportunities result from a single independent human being. The follow up can make or break a network.”“The networking talk was especially good because it shared how to take advantage of more opportunities while in DC. It really matters who you know,” commented Kevin Schafer, intern of the National Republican Senatorial Committee.This year's annual workshop was the largest yet. Students enjoyed the energy, relevance, and interactive nature of the speakers. Intern Stephanie Jaczkowski of the National Taxpayer's Union summed up her experience: “This was nothing like any other workshop I've been to. The speakers were respected professionals and captivatingly witty. It exceeded my expectations a hundredfold!” >
Written Communications Skills: Why they Matter to Employers and How You Can Develop them
Andrea McCarthy
June 15, 2011
Written Communications Skills: Why they Matter to Employers and How You Can Develop them
If you've attended any of my resume workshops, you have heard me say repeatedly, ‘demonstration of excellent writing skills is critical to landing your dream job.' Especially if that dream job happens to be on Capitol Hill. But really, recruiters everywhere are looking for qualified candidates who know how to write, regardless of the position. Managers make it very clear to us that they do not have time to be someone's editor-in-chief (unless that's actually their job), so they ask us to find competent writers. And not only people who can string words together properly and use punctuation when and where needed, but people who can turn around and use different channels to get their writing in front of the reading public. Jobseekers who not only write well but effectively use new media outlets, write press releases and op eds, and understand what a media advisory is and how to use it are absolutely golden to recruiters and hiring managers.So how do you achieve this golden status I'm talking about? Start with the Leadership Institute's newly revamped Written Communications Workshop on July 19-20. At this two-evening workshop, you will learn the different professional writing techniques for publication, critical grammar and usage skills (so very important!), what a good press release or media advisory looks like, and how to use new media to get your work noticed. Jobseekers really shouldn't miss this training! We're bringing in conservative heavy hitters such as Matt Lewis, Lindsey Mask, and Amanda Carpenter to help you find your inner writing guru.The class runs from 5:30-10 pm each evening. Mention this blog when you call to register, and you may even receive a discount off the already reduced price of $40. Dinner and class materials are included. I hope to see you there..and to see this class listed under additional trainings on your resume!>
Networking
Mariya Swella
June 14, 2011
Networking
We have always heard, “It's not what you know, it's who you know.” But how many of us have really thought about the legitimacy of that statement? Throughout our years of schooling, we have been trained to believe that our education is the most important asset in our future careers. We are never taught to connect with other students or adults, especially while in high school. Since being in DC this summer, I have realized just how important it is to network, especially if you want to eventually work in politics. And even if you don't want to pursue a career in politics, you will be amazed at how people have connections to prominent businessmen and women all around the nation. So, why is networking important? The obvious reason is it can help you get a job. But it goes deeper than that. You never know how the person you meet today will help you tomorrow. From helping you secure a job, to helping you find a good physician in your new place of residence, to giving you a ride at 3:00 AM, your network will always have something great to offer you. How do you network? Christopher Malagisi, the director of CPAC, is the master networker. He has developed a fool-proof process of networking that is guaranteed to help any person who is struggling with meeting people to become one of the greatest networkers around. First step, develop a game plan. What are you trying to accomplish? Where do you want and need to be in order to meet people? Who do you need to meet? These are questions that are very personal for each person. One person may want to meet fellow interns at the Young Republicans meeting every other Tuesday in order to make more friends for the summer. Another person may want to meet prominent political activists at the Heritage Foundation every Friday night in order to get a job in the future. Whatever the reason behind your desire to network might be, develop a game plan. Even if you are just interested in making friends, that's fine! Meet different people, and get introduced to even more people. You never know if these people will be helping you in the future.Second step of networking: Make contact! You have 30 seconds to make a good first impression. Utilize those 30 seconds to not only make the conversation about you, but figure out who the person is and how you can connect with them on a more personal level. When you make someone else feel important, they will be more willing to open up to you and establish a great connection. Some tips for making contact: #1 Network by Sector (Capitol Hill, Think Thanks, Media, Government). #2 Develop a goal (I will get 5 business cards tonight, and I will set up lunch meetings with each of those 5 people). #3 Write the day, the place, and a couple interesting facts about the person that can help you in the future. (I met a lady in church the other day, through another person in my network, and I wrote on the back of her card where I met her, where she works, and what day I met her. And after meeting with her, I will include a couple more notes that will help me make a stronger connection with her in the future).A really impressive and important date I would try to obtain when networking is the other's birthday. Use that date to call them, email them, or send them a birthday card! They won't expect it, and you will stand out! The last step to networking is the follow up. The first thing you do when you get home that night, or into your office the next morning, is add your new contacts to your address book. You can maintain your contacts in Outlook, Gmail, an Excel spreadsheet, or an old fashioned rolodex. Make sure you include their name, number, email, address as applicable, and a couple notes you can use in the future. Email your new contact within 48 HOURS of meeting them. If you met someone who is very prominent and can help you beyond what you can expect (VPs of a company, a well-known activist, etc.) write them a personal note that you can send in the mail. People always love receiving personal mail, and you will stand out beyond the hundreds of other people they meet on a daily basis. Definitely write a “Thank You” letter after the follow up interview/meeting! So, now you are equipped to get out there and start networking and making great connections! Your DC internship, your job search, and your overall relationship building is about to get better! Just use these tips, and you will be on your way to a building a successful and strong network! >
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