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Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Wrong Life Plans

When applying to a campaign job, does your resume match the job?

I'm sure you've heard this advice from guidance counselors before, adapt your resume to match the job you're applying for.

And while this is sound advice, I realize it's unrealistic to spend the time adjusting your resume for each job. You should at least have a 'political' resume and a 'non-political' resume. I'd even say you should have a 'political: campaigns' resume and a 'political: other' resume.

Regardless of how you choose to do it, make sure your resume doesn't make you look like your real life plans are elsewhere.

I was recently interviewing a candidate for a political position, and asked him what his five year life plan was. His response was that he wanted to be in international affairs with a graduate degree. The job I was interviewing him for was, clearly, his last resort and he'd be jumping ship as soon as he could.

When a job asks you what your five year plan is, your response should always be, "working here, hoping for a promotion, working hard and being a valued member of the team."

It shows that you understand the situation and the real question, it isn't a time to be indulgent. When you make a resume and express your life plans, don't say or even hint that you want to be in international relations in ten years, or that you have a secret path to be a professor.

No one wants to know your real life plans. They want to hear that your life plans matches with their employment needs. That you'll be a stable regular employee for them, that's what they want to hear.

When you give these lofty dreams, you're embracing certain negative stereotypes: flaky college students, being unrealistic, being difficult to work with, etc.

Come across as someone looking to work hard, take direction, and make progress. Come across as someone whose life plans matches the job you're applying for at that moment.

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