The 2016 presidential candidates’ policy positions are so different that a one-size-fits-all application will be unsuccessful, according to The Resume Place. Aspirants must customize their resume and cover letter for this elaborate and partisan job application process.
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With the election just weeks away and polls tight, this historic election between starkly contrasting presidential candidates has grabbed the attention of a nation polarized between Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump. The campaign is also galvanizing thousands of professionals who aspire to jobs as presidential appointees, the policy positions that will be announced in the 2016 Plum Book late this year.
Those who want a real shot at one of these Plum Books jobs need to get their federal resumes and cover letters in top shape and submit them to the Presidential Appointments web site as soon as possible. Aspirants who wait for the results of the election before applying are more likely to be disappointed.
Applicants must target the resume and cover letter specifically to one of the candidates and to a specific mission, agency, program, legislation or actual position that the candidate holds. For those who aspire to serve the 45th president, here are seven steps to optimize the chances of landing one of these plum jobs.
Target Jobs from the 2012 Plum Book
Study United States Government Policy and Supporting Positions, commonly called the Plum Book, and target relevant cabinet departments, agencies or other federal government units as well as functional roles and subject-matter areas. Do networking and research to determine whether those positions are likely to reappear in the Plum Book’s 2016 edition, which should appear before year’s end. Just as in the private sector, government reorganizations can move positions or eliminate them. Expect about 4,000 political appointees in the next presidential administration, Eagles says.
Choose a Presidential Candidate and Work Hard for His or Her Campaign
Aspiring appointees should pick one candidate and dedicate 100 percent of their efforts to that campaign. “Research the campaign and reach out – there’s no excuse for not doing this,” says David Eagles, director of presidential transition at the nonprofit Partnership for Public Service in Washington, in an exclusive interview with The Resume Place.
Going all out for one candidate is a virtual requirement to establish loyalty, says Eagles, who has been appointed to serve under both Republican and Democratic presidents, an unusual distinction. In the process, would-be appointees can keep an eye out for a sponsor to support their eventual applications for jobs in the next White House administration.
Update Online Profile to Reflect Candidate Loyalty
It’s important to update one’s online presence with both professional accomplishments and political activities, from working the phones at a campaign office to volunteering for a higher level role in the candidate’s organization.
Prepare a Resume and Cover Letter Customized for a Presidential Appointment
Successful candidates for presidential appointments will prepare key application materials well in advance of the general election. “Draft a two- or three-page resume that speaks to your expertise, leadership, loyalty to your candidate and political savvy,” says Kathryn Troutman, president of The Resume Place, which has been providing resume and cover-letter preparation services to aspiring presidential appointees for more than 40 years. “Your cover letter should address the presidential recruitment committee and build a bridge between your professional experience and the specific appointment you seek.”
Show Loyalty by Working for the Candidate Day and Night
Burn the midnight oil campaigning for the candidate every day until election day, Nov. 8. Learn about the structure of the candidate’s organization and connect with players relevant to the presidential appointment process.
Fine-Tune the Presidential Appointment Resume and Cover Letter
As soon as the 2016 Plum Book is published, revise the draft resume and cover letter to precisely target the desired position. “Based on our conversations with Office of Personnel Management, there’s a chance the new edition may come out before the election, maybe in October,” says Eagles.
“You’ll probably submit the job application through your congressman or senator,” says Troutman, co-author with Diane Hudson Burns of The New SES Application: Writing the Traditional ECQs and the New Five-Page Senior Executive Service Federal Resume.
If the Chosen Candidate Becomes President-Elect, Blitz for the Target Position
Campaign hard for the presidential appointment beginning the day after the election. Continue to volunteer, now for the presidential transition effort. “Set aside time to the meet the requirements of the arduous screening process, and follow all application instructions to the letter,” Troutman says.