Congressional positions on Capitol Hill or "The Hill," involve mostly administrative or legislative work performed in House and Senate offices in the area surrounding the Capitol. Jobs and internships on Capitol Hill are highly sought after and thus, competition is fierce. Knowing the right strategies, however, such as working through connections, can increase your chances in landing the Capitol Hill position of your choice and opening new doors to other future opportunities.
Research Congressional job opportunities thoroughly to determine which best fit your knowledge, skills and abilities. Many Capitol Hill jobs are posted online on sites such as USAJobs.gov and Opajobs.com. However, due to the uniquely competitive nature of these jobs, it is advised to consult more specified periodical sources, such as Roll Call, The Congressional Quarterly and The Almanac of American Politics. Gain as much information on your state's senators and congressmen as possible, as they will be your primary connection.
Contact the offices of your state senators and congressmen to establish connections or gain references to other political connections that might be able to recommend you for a position. Visit their offices and meet with them personally, if possible. As a large number of Hill positions are filled on a word-of-mouth connections basis, it is vital to establish contact with anyone associated with congressional dealings. This could include friends and associates of existing personal contacts, such as co-workers and family members.
Apply for the position of your choice online or in person at the appropriate Senate or House office. If delivering your application in person, which is most recommended, take any opportunity to talk to any staff members about the position and your suitability for it. Processing times may vary, depending on the position; but if you are selected, a hiring manager will contact you within several weeks to a few months.
Arrive at the interview site approximately 15 minutes prior to the interview appointment time. Dress in professional office attire, preferably a suit and tie for men and a pantsuit or skirted suit for women. Emphasize experience with political campaigns, student government, civil service or military experience, or any other experience relevant to a specific position or congressional member's preferences. Ask relevant questions. Speak confidently and maintain good posture and eye contact. A hiring manager will contact you, if selected.
- As connections are vital to obtaining Capitol Hill positions, making them can be as simple as volunteering for political campaigns, community organizations and nonprofit organizations that are in line with your congressional representative's interests.
- Send a thank-you note to the interviewer, preferably on the same day, following the interview. This will not only display personal etiquette; but also interest and enthusiasm for the position.
- As most internships on Capitol Hill are unpaid, you will need to make the appropriate financial arrangements for personal or family support during your stay.
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