Monday, August 20, 2012

Land the Government Communications Job You Want

By George Selby, Director for Communications & External Affairs

Can you stack the deck in your favor so you can practically assure yourself of landing your next great job? ABSOLUTELY.

Most people do not realize how much control they have over their job search and the number of job offers they receive.

Landing a new job that is right for you, is mainly up to Y-O-U. Yes, yes, I know, we've all heard about having the right attitude. But that, in and of itself is not enough. The right experience is not enough. The right education is not enough. Having the right contacts is insufficient.

But, the right COMBINATION of these and perhaps a few other elements are MORE than enough to get you the job you want, in the industry or occupation you want, and at the salary you want.

Make no mistake; it will take effort, sweat equity, plenty of preparation, and what appears to be a virtually "independent" attitude as to whether or not you get the job that will produce multiple job offers in a reasonable span of time.

This skill enables some people to succeed where others fail. Getting not just any job, but the right job for you, means:
  • Having all your ducks in a row, and I mean all.
  • Taking a hard look at yourself and being truly honest in your self-assessment.
  • Determining what your capabilities are and where your interests lie.
  • Having a crystal clear idea of where you want to go and what you want to become.
  • Shedding people who only want to rain on your parade; who dismiss your dreams and aspirations with scorn; who want you to follow the same paths to failure they have taken.  

And, it means building your well-based self-confidence to the point where you will walk into a job interview so well prepared -- so well-positioned -- that you will actually take control of the interview process!

Believe in yourself and do not lose heart. You can do it -- even in this economic climate.

Although the following recommendations may simply be common sense, or the reasoning may not be that obvious, here are ten specific things you can do to better your "Positioning:"

  1. IMPROVE, HONE, and PRACTICE your communication skills, both written and verbal. THIS IS CRITICAL.
  2. Clearly IDENTIFY the field in which you want to work. CRITICAL.
  3.  Become INVOLVED in the industry within which you want to work. CRITICAL.
  4.  Be POSITIVE and OPTIMISTIC, and also surround yourself with those who exhibit these qualities. CRITICAL.
  5. Wherever it is, whatever it is, if you make a promise or a pledge -- DELIVER. CRITICAL.
  7. LEARN what you can from willing mentors. 
  8. Get plenty of SLEEP (off the job!) so you are alert and at your mental peak all the time.
  9. If you are currently working and there is a "responsibility void," ASSUME the responsibility and by doing so, YOU GIVE YOURSELF the authority and you become the EXPERT.
  10. In fulfilling assignments, GO the extra mile, TAKE the extra step.

Finally, do yourself a HUGE favor. Unless you are really in a financial bind, AVOID taking a job just for the money. When you LOVE what you do, it's less work and a lot more fun.

RESOURCES (inexpensive to join, high return on investment) (of particular value for those 50+) (also see Lily Whiteman’s book, “How to Land a Top-Paying Federal Job”) (one of my favorites; well written)

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