HOW TO FIND A JOB ON THE HILL
By Jacqueline Benditt
The easiest way to get a job on the Hill is to know someone who can get you through the door for an interview. That could be a key constituent from the Members district, or a friend or mentor of yours who may have ties to the Hill.
However, if you have no contacts on the Hill, the best way to begin your job search is to contact the offices of your two state Senators, and Members of Congress in your home district and state. Also check for Members or Senators who sit on committees of interest to you. Call ahead for the name of the Chief of Staff and send your resume with a cover letter and a short (1-2 page) writing sample that demonstrates you can write clearly.
Always follow up with a phone call, then remain politely persistent at consistent intervals in case something opens up (sometimes the Chief of Staff is the last person to know of an upcoming staff vacancy). Ask everyone you meet for suggestions of other offices that might be hiring -- be nice to everyone you meet because you never know when a receptionist might have a job lead. If you get an interview, present yourself as upbeat, open, friendly, and, above all, do some research about the Member/Senator/Issues beforehand. Most Members have up-to-date Web sites (start with www.house.gov) that can help you learn about the district he/she represents, on which committees he/she sits, and issues that are particularly important for him/her, etc.
If you have time for a long range strategy, volunteer on a campaign during an election year. Even if the candidate loses, you will establish valuable contacts within the party and the state.
Editors Note: Jacqueline Benditt is an attorney and served as a Legislative Assistant to former Congressman Tom Campbell (R-CA) who served on the International Relations and Banking Committees of the House. This article was originally published in Pass It On, Vol. 7, No. 2.