So, you’ve worked hard on an interview plan and perfected your opening speech. You know that you will acquit yourself well in front of the panel.
But how do you get invited to interview in the first place?
Everyone else is getting a foot in the door but your carefully crafted application CV remains in the pile of unread also rans. Is it because you don’t know the right people? Or maybe you went to the wrong school?
Yet candidates just like you are being called for interview all the time. They get the chance to prove themselves and even if they don’t land the seat, their reputation is enhanced and it’s only a matter of time before they get picked up.
All you want is the Opportunity to prove yourself.
You need to step back and take a look at the process through the eyes of the selection panel. Faced with dozens of CVs and little time to process them, they need something to grab their attention and remind them you are there.
Here are some things you should consider:
The Application – take another look at your application CV. Large blocks of text repel the reader at a subconscious level, so you need to break up the content to make it more welcoming. Small text can be another problem. Conservative Party members have an average age in their 60s, so many will not have youthful eyesight. If they can’t read your form they aren’t going to give you a second glance.
The Seat – safer seats will have more applicants, so you have a tougher time beating the competition. You will not get interviewed for safe seats unless you have experience of fighting an unwinnable one, so perhaps you should be realistic and lower your sights. For unwinnable seats there is still a lot of competition in London and the South East – because that is where most Conservative candidates live and work. The further you are prepared to travel, the less competition you will encounter. It’s worth considering where you are in The Candidate Journey.
Your Profile – it’s never too late to start working on getting more widely known. If you are a recognized name your CV is more likely to get a full reading and you are more likely to be called to interview. You should be looking for speaking opportunities and writing articles for on line publication. TV and radio slots are worth their weight in gold but it can take a surprising number of them to become a household name. At a minimum you need a personal website so that people who are curious can find out more about you.
CCHQ – I have never known a time when the party’s Candidates Department was more helpful than now. It is really worth your time talking to them and taking their advice. They will provide you with goals for your own self development as well as telling you which seats they feel you are suitable for. Unless you are very lucky you won’t be successful without their support so they are worth getting to know.
Securing an interview can be very frustrating for candidates so I am here to help.
I’m offering three months of mentoring covering the opening stages of the interview round – December, January and February.
This includes help with Application CVs, interview planning, and opening speeches as well as advice on raising your profile and building a solid political brand. Contact me for a free thirty minute consultation.
I’m looking forward to hearing from you.