Eight Ways Your Job Search Is Like a Political Campaign
It All Starts with a Motivation, a Decision, and a Plan
Just as candidates normally make a huge life decision to run for office months or years in advance, along with a plan of how to win, you have to make up your mind that you will pursue a particular job or career, then chart and execute a winning strategy to get you where you want to be. This is particularly true if you are already working, but you know that you could be making more money or enjoying a higher quality worklife.
Your Job Search Campaign Is a Marathon, Not a Sprint
Successful political candidates research the relevant timelines that they must keep in mind… the deadlines for officially qualifying to run for office, how long it will take to raise the seed money to launch the campaign, how many locations they must visit, how many debates and meetings they must attend, and how long it is until election day. When seeking a new job, jobseekers often underestimate the time and the many steps and processes they must endure in order to land the best jobs.
Preparation Is Key & Practice Makes Perfect
Whether it is researching a ton of issues, prepping for debates by practicing with campaign aides, writing and rehearsing stump speeches, or anticipating difficult questions, preparation is critical to a successful political campaign. By the same token, a jobseeker will need to rehearse elevator pitches, practice answering the dreaded “Tell me about yourself” questions, and prepare for the arduous interview process. Finally, as any seasoned election candidate who didn’t win their first election race can tell you, practice makes perfect. And as a jobseeker, even if you don’t land a job right away, each and every interview you go through will absolutely strengthen your skill set.
Competition Is the Name of the Game
When running for office, in nearly all cases, it is a competition with various other candidates for support from funders, media, volunteers, and voters. Likewise, in the job search process, you may be competing against many dozens of qualified candidates. In the job search realm, coming in second place isn’t a solution. You must do everything in your power to ensure that you are the finalist who is awarded the position.
Get Your Documents Polished & in Order
Have you ever noticed that presidential candidates tend to write a book before they run? Plus, they have slick campaign literature touting their backgrounds, detailed websites, as well as boilerplate documents that can be customized for fundraising, volunteer outreach, or endorsements. Before setting out on a serious job search, you will need to have your resume, cover letters, references, LinkedIn Profile, and other materials in tip-top shape.
Running for Office Costs Money
Most hopeful political candidates size up the funding requirements before announcing their candidacy. It has been estimated that it costs nearly $2 million in expenses to mount and win a successful Congressional campaign. Job search expenses can vary, but the most successful jobseekers are willing to invest in themselves by purchasing a sharp job-hunting wardrobe, enrolling in seminars and classes, getting expert career coaching help, and working with a professional to enhance their resume, cover letters, and LinkedIn profile.
Hitting the Road & Getting Out There
Aspiring politicians generally attend lots of meetings, show up at community events to “press the flesh” and increase their outreach, and make plans to travel to as many counties, parishes, cities, towns, or communities as they can. Sitting at home doesn’t do much for your job outreach or personal brand. Attending professional meetings, conferences, and events where you can mix and speak with other professionals is a must to accompany your virtual jobseeking activities.
Charisma & “Likability” Often Carry the Day
The ability to exude the confidence, cheerfulness, strength, empathy, and passion are all elements of charisma that help to win election contests. Candidates who are dull, boring, negative, or otherwise uninspiring rarely attract significant support or momentum. Some say that one is either born with charisma or not… However, many aspiring politicians engage consultants and coaches who instruct them on how to smile correctly, how to use eye contact, and how to employ other techniques to gain followers. Jobseekers can also learn a variety of similar techniques, including body language, handling difficult questions with ease, and generating confidence in an interview to achieve a positive response.
Strategic Resumes & Career Coaching clients are distinguished by the knowledge that preparation and confidence are the keys to success, and they rely on Strategic Resumes & Career Coaching to give them an edge.
Grant Cooper received the Career Directors International President’s Award (CDI National Conference, Orlando, FL)