Central Florida Political Leadership Institute (PLI) Consultant Mark R. Mills addresses the common misperceptions of aspiring appointees.
A local business leader reached out to me surprised and frustrated that she had been turned down twice for an appointment to a very prestigious government commission. She was an expert in her field and believed she was actually “more qualified” – as she put it – than the peers who had been selected over her.
What was she doing wrong? My answers for her addressed the common misperceptions of aspiring appointees and proved to be the difference in her being selected for this commission in her third attempt.
I shared the same appointment strategies we teach in the successful Central Florida Political Leadership Institute (PLI), a nonpartisan leadership engagement program of the Orlando Economic Partnership.
Applications to the Central Florida Political Leadership Institute will be accepted until August 27 and class size is limited. Learn how to attend the program at no cost.
After assuring me that she met the specific qualification criteria for the appointment, I suggested she focus on three things.
3 Criteria for Successfully Landing a Government Appointment
Did she have reputable leaders in the field who had connections with the commission and were willing to work behind the scenes on her behalf? The answer was no. While qualifications are important, appointments are rarely made on resume alone. The adage that it’s more important who you know than what you know is often true.
Know Who the Decision-Makers Are
This is not what is publicly advertised, but the behind-the-scenes, off-the-record string-puller(s). Do some investigative work to find out who they are and how to appeal to them, either directly or through mutual connections.
Tailor Your Approach
“Qualified” is subjective in the eyes of the decision-maker. This is not what you think makes you the right applicant. It’s what moves the decision-makers in their selection process. Customize your application and performance in the interview process to demonstrate what qualifies you in their eyes.
A few months later, she shared the news of her selection and said the advice “changed everything.”
How did she implement the strategies? She raised her profile by elevating her leadership presence and responsibilities in prominent local and professional organizations. She also conducted workshops in her area of expertise, which directly connected with the commission’s responsibilities.
Through that effort, she expanded her network of professional connections who became her advocates. She discovered that some of these leaders had prior experience in the process of selecting appointees to the targeted commission and were willing to share their behind-the-scenes perspective on how appointments were made.
She also secured letters of recommendation from high-profile professionals and political leaders. Her advocates vouched for her credibility, which mitigated the risk of decision-makers in choosing her.
With these strategies and no shortage of determination, drive and persistence the effort paid off.
The same formula can work for you. You can put yourself on the path to political appointment by participating in PLI. Learn more and apply today!