The Virginia Beach Surf & Rescue Museum is currently posting full time career opportunities. A position at this institution offers a rare and special chance to genuinely give your talent, your skill, your enthusiasm, and your commitment to preserving an important historic icon that’s been standing on the shore of Virginia Beach since 1903. Thirty eight of those one hundred and sixteen years, this cool little place has been a museum. That’s why we’ve come to call it  #ThisCoolMuseum, because that’s exactly what we’re running.

The “we” is two of us. That’s right, we are currently a staff of only two. Needless to say, adding a third staff member in the coming month is a pretty big deal. So, if you’ve found the job posting interesting, and you want to apply, here are seven steps to your success. Things you should do, and not miss doing.

  1. Read the job post all the way through and follow the directions. The directions are pretty simple; send a cover letter, a resume, and three references. 

If you’ve already applied, and you haven’t done those three simple things, put a fork in yourself, ’cause you’re done. As this blog is being penned, more than half the applicants have already been eliminated for not following the simple directions. Others will knock themselves out by making phone calls, or showing up at the front desk without an appointment. There’s nothing in the instructions that tell you to do this. The instructions help us figure out who is paying attention.

      2. Write a cover letter that comes from your gut.

Do not address the letter, “To Whom It May Concern”. The correct person and title you’re writing this for is right on the posting, so send it to that person. Then, please, keep in mind that person is likely to find a generic cover letter pretty boring. The third staff person is going to be someone that gives a damn. They need to care enough about this cool little museum to pen a paragraph or two that cover the relevant motivation behind the application. Think about it. Make it a good letter.

      3. Show up for the interview on time.

This one might be tougher than you think. That’s because we’re right on the Virginia Beach boardwalk at the center of the oceanfront. Since we’re on the boardwalk, we don’t have a parking lot. You’re going to have to find a place to park, and walk your nervous, well dressed self a block or two to our front door. Plan ahead. If you plan ahead, you’ll show up on time, and you’ll be ready to rock. This very basic step will reveal you have your act together, and you won’t walk in with one foot already out the door.

      4. Look at the museum’s website before you show up. Look at all the social media pages, too.

This does not mean click on it for scanning through the basics for some interview smoke screen. Blowing smoke at the interview will not work. We don’t smoke. Read the website, look at the Instagram. Look at the Facebook, the Twitter. Go through the old posts, too. You’ll learn more than you realize, and that knowledge will help you share thoughtful questions in the interview process. Your interview is going to be conversational in style, so the more you know, the better. If you are really savvy, you’ll stalk the staff’s personal accounts too. We’ve already stalked yours, so reciprocation is expected and respected.

   5. Say thank you.

Write a genuine thank you email shortly after the interview has taken place. Again, write it from your gut. Generic is boring. We don’t do generic here. Think about what did matter from the interview. Think about what you learned. Think about what you liked. Be specific about your gratitude. It’s an exceptionally good tool for judging your interest. This is the time to be honest with yourself.

 6. Be patient.

This is hard. The entire process. Hard. You’ve worked on a resume, you’ve chiseled a cover letter, and landed the interview. If you’ve had a good interview, the waiting can be brutal. We get this. We are trying to move the process forward, we promise. So breathe, and wait it out.

7. Make sure it fits.

This isn’t a dressing room selfie. This is real life. This is a small nonprofit that struggles every day for a truly special cause; history. We work hard in this building and the pay isn’t so great. So before you say yes to the offer, please be very certain that it’s the right job for you. Remember, you’ll make us a staff of three instead of two. It’s a big deal. We don’t have office politics. We don’t have cubicles. And we don’t have much downtime. What we do is work. And the work is, in a word, amazing.

So there’s your seven steps to success. Follow them, and you might find yourself working for #ThisCoolMuseum.