Campaigning for the Right Job

Job hunting, like campaigning, is about connecting with the decision makers and convincing them that you have the right background, acumen and energy to get the job done.

With two year election cycles, it feels that we are being exposed to never ending political campaigns. Some campaigns bring out interesting candidates and ideas, and some campaigns are downright boring. Job hunting, like campaigning, is about connecting with the decision makers, convincing them that you have the right background, acumen and energy to get the job done. Political campaigns bring out interesting candidates, clear winners and losers. Like any campaign you are never guaranteed the corner office, however using these campaign tips for your next job hunt can get you closer to your dream job.

  1. Tap your base (network). When fundraising, candidates reach out to their base for fundraising, but to also get the word out to their sphere of influence. Tapping your network for job leads is the best way to separate yourself from crowded and sometimes unfocused online job searches. Always remember your network only gets your foot in the door – or the first contact; you still need to convince the hiring manager why you are the right candidate for the job.
  2. Know your audience. Candidates constantly give speeches to multiple voting blocs. One day they could be speaking to a group of auto workers in Detroit, and the next day to Silicon Valley executives. For each voting bloc a good candidate does his/her homework on the industry, opportunities and key concerns – as a way of connecting with the audience. Apart from knowing the specific job function you are interviewing for, you should always do your homework on the company, the industry and the opportunities and overall challenges, when interviewing. – This will allow you to connect with the interviewer and will show your deep interest in the industry.
  3. Keep a clean web presence. Don’t be the next Anthony Weiner! HR teams as a matter of practice will screen through your online and social media presence. As a rule of thumb connect only with friends and people you know and avoid posting hurtful or offensive comments that you would not want to be viewed by a potential employer.
  4. Remember names. Notwithstanding his politics, you always hear stories of President Bill Clinton gift of positive body language (good eye contact, warm embrace), remembering names and conversations with individuals he may have had years before. This gives voters the impression of someone who connects and truly cares about what you have to say. You are typically provided the roster of interviewers prior to the day of the interview. Take the time to memorize the names so that you can address them by name during the interview and can thank them by name at the end of the interview. Stand up when the interviewer enters the room, address the interviewer with positive energy, eye contact, and firm handshake. Practice your smile and posture in front of the mirror, or practice with a friend or loved one before the interview.
  5. A good story of why you are the right candidate. Good political candidates have a compelling personal story of what has prepared them to be the right candidate for the job. They may have worked their way to the top, been successful in business, and/or faced personal struggles that have shaped their world view to make them a strong candidate. Your resume is your story – it shows professionally where you have been, where you are and where you are going. Know your resume inside out. A good resume tells a story, that shows good progression; however due to a job loss or personal issues, you may have gaps. Have a good story of what you did during that time that enriched you to be the strong candidate you are.
  6. Concession speech (letter). After a hard fought campaign there can only be one winner. Concession speeches are always interesting, as the candidate congratulates the winner and then goes on to reiterate his/her platform to his campaign supporters. This is to ensure that the supporters are ready for the next go around, if one is in the horizon. Regardless of whether you think you will get a job offer or not, it is very important to send a thank you letter or email. You could have followed all the steps of making an impression with the interviewer, however did not get the offer. What you don’t know is if you were their 2nd choice or the 20th choice. A simple letter could go a long way in having you brought back in if a position opens up, or if their 1st choice does not work out.

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