Washington, DC is an exciting city in which to build a career. From Capitol Hill to K Street, and everything in between, the city offers plenty of opportunities for smart, driven people. But that also means there is plenty of competition for jobs. So how do set yourself apart and land the job you want? Whether you are just starting your career or looking to make a mid-career change, there are several ways you can make your job search in DC go a bit smoother and land you the position you want.
What does it mean to be a leader? Most important, what does it mean to be a servant leader? I’ve seen a recent uptick in people and blogs discussing the concept of servant leadership and I’d like to take a minute to unpack that below. At first, the idea of a leader being a servant seems almost counter-intuitive, but it’s really not. The term “servant leader” was first penned in 1970 by leadership pioneer Robert K. Greenleaf in his groundbreaking essay, “The Leader as Servant.” Greenleaf’s work helped reshape the traditional views of leadership. As for myself, I first became familiar with the term almost a year ago when enrolled the Kennedy School’s Senior Executive Fellow leadership development program. Ever since then, the topic has interested me.
2017 was quite a year for folks looking to land a career in the federal government. For starters, the year started off with a hiring “freeze” for federal agencies followed by a series of new initiatives to transform federal hiring by the Office of Personnel Management (OPM). I emphasize “freeze” because contrary to popular belief, the federal government didn’t actually stop hiring federal employees. To be clear, the hiring freeze is over now. Most agencies have picked up hiring again, but agencies with a national security, public health, law enforcement, or other missions the government considered to be “critical” never really stopped hiring. This meant there were (and still are) thousands of federal jobs waiting to be filled!
Whether you’re just starting your federal job search or well underway, one thing is certain: you’re using USAJobs. After all, that’s where everyone starts looking for federal employment, and where you’ve probably found interesting job postings. So, why go anywhere else? Simple: it’s not the sole online resource to find and apply to federal jobs.
In its purest form, strategy is about looking at ways to solve a problem or looking at a problem differently. However, Naveen Jain, a successful tech entrepreneur, believes success doesn’t necessarily come from breakthrough innovation but from flawless execution. He believes a great strategy alone won’t win the day, rather, success comes from mastering the basics of the plan, in his words, “the blocking and tackling.”
Today journalists must constantly ‘feed the beast’ to satisfy the public’s relentless hunger for new information. Consequently, more government affairs professionals find themselves interacting with the media. Interviews of any kind are anxiety-inducing. Add a reporter, camera, and lights and they can feel downright terrifying. With the right preparation, however, they can be a valuable tool for achieving your legislative objectives. Below are some tips for making the most out of media interviews.
Looking back to reflect, and looking ahead to plan are obviously essential to every program or organization that wants to grow, evolve and thrive. But I would add another element – the importance of recognizing and celebrating achievement and success. Far too often we move immediately from one goal and accomplishment directly into the next. There is no pause for reflection and even less for praise and recognition. Too much to do, we are told, ‘gotta get going onto the next big thing’ (we tell ourselves). No time for something as trivial as celebrations – or is there?
Companies like Uber and Lyft have forever changed the meaning of terms like “getting around” and “public transportation,” affording anyone with a smartphone and a credit card the luxury of their own car and driver. Uber’s debut in 2009 officially launched this industry of ride-sharing, also called ride-hailing or transportation networking, and government is now struggling to catch up. Government typically regulates, not innovates, working to corral and adjust that which has already taken off and become popular with the general public, aka constituents and voters. Uber, Lyft and the immense success of the industry as a whole are an excellent example of this.
So I strongly encourage you to take that first, if somewhat uncomfortable and sometimes painful step of getting outside your comfort zone – this month, this week, this day, this moment – and begin in earnest to pursue those dreams and aspirations you’ve kept to yourself, until now. True growth is a two-step process: first, deciding you really want to grow, and second, taking steps (even small ones) to make it happen.
So how do you establish a reputation — at least a good one? Taking on challenges and working hard seem to be good advice. Amazon Founder and CEO Jeff Bezos says, “You earn reputation by trying to do hard things well.” So does making good, thoughtful choices over a long period of time. Warren Buffet notes, “It takes 20 years to build a reputation and five minutes to ruin it. If you think about that, you’ll do things differently.” So how do you establish a reputation — at least a good one?
If you watch any news or consume any media, it is not hard to come to the conclusion that America is deeply divided. Every day brings a new wave of negative media, critical tweets, and heavy aspersions cast from both sides of the political aisle. But it’s not all bad news. This week marks Volunteer Week in the United States, and one post-election silver lining is that it seems the next generation has seen the power of volunteerism and older Americans have remembered the value of giving back. This fits perfectly with Volunteer Week’s goals of promoting volunteerism and showing appreciation for the work and dedicate of those who give their time or resources to causes they believe in.
All of us are in the growth business — professionally, personally and in any way you can measure. If you are already part of the Political Involvement Network, chances are that you make professional development a regular part of your job and your life. You invest in yourself and your career on an ongoing basis and understand the connection between happiness and personal growth. As someone who has spent most of my adult life consciously looking to grow and develop myself and others, I can offer a few humble observations on the subject.