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Saturday, March 2, 2013

How to format your resume for political jobs

No one thinks that anything you learned in college has any relevance to campaigns, because most of the time it doesn't.

Structure your resume in such a way where the most important things and most appealing things to a potential political employer are highlighted at the top. Make sure to include relevant past campaigns and volunteer work on your resume.

The advice you hear from a college guidance counselor or a human resources officer is generally useful, but also not directly useful for political jobs.

People in politics get hired because they're trustworthy, because they've been involved in past campaigns and already know people, and lastly because they have relevant skills and talents.

Understand that whomever is hiring you for a campaign likely doesn't care whether you were on the dean's list, or whether you volunteered at a soup kitchen or the various jobs you had during high school or college.

They care that you can be trusted, that you already know who's who, and that you have some useful skills.

When you format your resume, keep this in mind. Ditch the items that aren't immediately relevant. Include volunteering on various campaigns. If you lack any campaign experience whatsoever, include even student government races. Show that you're addicted to politics so that they think you'll do well in the position.

Major mistakes on resumes I've seen for both campaign applicants and political organization applicants:
1) Zero campaign experience
2) Nothing politically-related listed on their resume
3) Highlighting immaturity or inexperience
4) Highlighting nepotism, i.e. "worked at my uncle's pizza business for the summer"
5) Resumes longer than one page
6) Listing your academic research areas that were inapplicable

Your resume should be one page and to the point. It should highlight you as someone who is trustworthy, ready to work, and who already knows the field, geography, race and place. You also want to highlight the skills you have that are relevant to the job.

Also, as a side note, always title your resume computer file like this, "Firstname-Lastname_Resume.doc", that way when your hiring manager is downloading a dozen resumes at a time, he doesn't get lost when sorting through them.

Format your resume for political jobs by changing it to highlight the things that will be noticed and help you get the job. Make sure to include relevant prior campaign work.

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