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Tuesday, November 27, 2012

When your hiring manager isn't a pro

You can be very good at getting hired at a generic job... but still be bad at getting a political job.

Politics is not like business, it's not as simple as that. in the workplace, people are trained in how to find good employees. They are trained how to ask probing questions, how to screen for good workers and bad ones.

In politics, you might have someone's unemployed cousin deciding whether you get the job or not.

There are many unqualified people making important decisions, and your fate can depend on a variety of different things, many entirely out of your control.

Political jobs can hinge on very unfair and unforeseeable things. Don't let that discourage you though.

Just don't take rejections personally. And build up marketable skills. Marketable skills will help you add appeal to your resume, in addition to the necessary networking and political maneuvering to get a position. When you meet a hiring manager who has no experience managing people, realize that your normal interview routine might not be the best fit.

Even mid-level campaigns might allow their consultant to hire a staffer, and that consultant may never have really managed people before. Many upstart campaigns are by self-starting attorneys who, as well, may have never managed anyone before. The way they interview you, the way they look at you, is going to be different.

Many don't know what they're really looking for in an employee, so you can get passed over even though you did everything right.

Just as politics is not like business, it's also not like the military. Politics is a beast apart. And its unpredictability is part of the allure.

There are three things you should keep in mind

1) Your connection to the hiring manager
2) Your resume and interviewing skills
3) Your actual skills

The most important thing to get hired is your networking, how well you've gone out and met people, let them know who you are and why you're valuable. Who you know is the best way to get ahead. Second best is how good your resume and interview comes across to the hiring manager. A solid resume and good interviewing skills can go a long way. And third are the actual skills that you have. Most people coming out of college lack actual skills and valuable experience. Hiring managers expect a certain level of fluffery on your  resume. So if you can demonstrate valuable skills and useful prior experience, you will stand out.

Networking will help you the most, having a good resume and interviewing skills will help you the second most, and having a strong skill set will round out your application perfectly.

Even when you run into unprofessional hiring managers, you can still thrive if you follow this advice and focus on the three things that will determine if you get a job: networking, resume and interviewing, and your applicable skills for the position.

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