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Advice from Job Search Boot Camp

20 Nov 2012 2:52 PM | Anonymous member

Last night, WCSA hosted a Job Search “Boot Camp” to help our members land their dream jobs. Thanks to everyone who came out – especially our panelists and resume reviewers!


In case you missed it, here’s some advice we learned from our panelists.


Job Search Tips:

  • Have a good answer when the hiring manager asks why you want the job. You should have very specific reasons for applying to the position you are interviewing for.
  • When applying for jobs on the Hill, do detailed research on the Member, such as their committee assignments and positions taken in recent press releases. Then cite this information in both your cover letter and the interview to show your interest and why you’re a good fit for the position.
  • Don’t be afraid to negotiate your pay – but make sure to do your homework! Know the typical salary range for the position, and then negotiate accordingly. For example, if you learn that the typical salary range is $33,000 – 35,000 ask for $34,000 – 36,000.
  • When a job posting says “no calls”, this means you shouldn’t call the office and ask to speak to the hiring contact. However you can call to ask for the name of the hiring manager so you can address your cover letter properly.
  • When in doubt, address your cover letter to the Chief of Staff; his or her name is usually publicly available.
  • Set all social media accounts to private. Hiring managers will Google you and, ahem, read your “after hours” tweets. Partisan posts (even thoughtful ones) could hurt your search for bipartisan positions.

Resume Tips:

  • Always, always proofread your resume – and then have a friend proofread it! Don’t let yourself be written off for preventable grammar and spelling errors.
  • Limit your resume to a page in length, and tailor it to the position you are applying for.
  • Keep a long-form resume for your personal reference. This is a good spot to keep track of specific projects and greater detail that you may not include on every resume. It will help you tailor your resume to each position you apply for – and will make sure you don’t forget anything from previous positions!
  • Consider your audience when using industry-specific words, titles and acronyms (for example: PPACA or IQ).
  • Don't treat your resume like a job description. Instead of telling hiring managers what your job WAS, tell them HOW you made a difference there.


Do you have a favorite piece of job hunting or resume advice? Leave it in our comments section!

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