How to get a job working for a member of Congress

Hill staffers

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Landing a job on Capitol Hill is a bit more complicated than Jimmy Stewart made it out to be, but not as impossible as you might think. With 435 offices on the House side, 100 on the Senate side, and dozens of committees, the odds of landing work are in your favor. You just need to know how to look for them — because chances are, the best gigs aren’t going to get posted publicly.

Most congressional job openings lurk in a “hidden job marketplace,” said Margaret Gottlieb, the career director at the George Washington School of Political Management. The university boasts that it has more alumni working on the Hill than any other school.

Lawmakers need a cadre of staff to help them with a series of tasks, including researching and tracking legislation, communicating with the media and the outside world, writing their speeches, responding to calls and letters from their constituents, or coordinating with the White House and federal agencies.

Gottlieb has some advice for people who want to access these kinds of openings.

While there are a few job boards you absolutely must know (more on those in a second), nothing beats good old fashioned networking — the art of getting to know people who know people who can hire you. As in any career, seeking out experts who have your dream job, arranging informal interviews, and leaning on your school’s alumni network will help you learn of job opportunities on the Hill. 

It might take a lot of legwork to find a job in Congress, but the results are worth it, according to Gottlieb.

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“For people that want to work in the political, public affairs, or business world, they will not have an opportunity to work anywhere that has more impact,” she said.

Take advantage of the powerhouse job boards that rule Washington

Gottlieb said applicants needed to be aware of the “front door” and the “back door” to Hill jobs. The front door constitutes the publicly posted openings that can be found on Congressional websites, Washington publications such as The Hill or Roll Call, and two prominent independent websites. But she cautioned that job seekers shouldn’t spend too much time on these listings.

“About 300 people will apply for each posting. The odds are horrible,” she said. ” We don’t want people spending 100% of their time going after job postings.”

Still, it’s not entirely futile, and you should get to know these resources. Both the House and the Senate have designated websites where job seekers can submit their resumes and view open opportunities. 

On the House side, you can subscribe to a bulletin of new job openings. Congress also recently established an Office of Diversity and Inclusion, which aims to bring more staffers from underrepresented backgrounds to Capitol Hill and has resources for qualified applications.

Each member’s individual website will post open jobs in their office. If you’re feeling overwhelmed, start by looking for lawmakers from your state or politicians you admire.

Aside from official websites, the …read more

Source:: Businessinsider – Politics


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