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Capitol Hill Job Guide
arrow Types of Jobs available on Capitol Hill

arrow Formal Addresses for House and Senate

arrow Where to Look for Jobs

arrow What to Expect

arrow Other Hill Job Resources


Types of Jobs available on Capitol Hill

There are a variety of different positions in each Capitol Hill office. But for the most part these positions, including job title and duties, are stable over time. The formula works for most Members or Senators with some minor variations. What follows is some basic information about the types of positions available and the duties performed. Keep in mind that Senate offices are much larger than Congressional offices and that a single office will have several Interns, Staff Assistants, Legislative Correspondents and Legislative Assistants.

Intern - Often times the best opportunity for a paid professional position in a legislative office is to first gain experience by working as an Intern. In the Capitol Hill setting, interns perform a wide range of duties and gain knowledge of the inter-workings of a Congressional or Senate office. The duties may include, but are not limited to, wordprocessing, copying, mailroom assistance, answering phones, referring calls, running errands, working on special projects, and performing other duties as requested.

Front Desk Staffer/ Receptionist
- The Front Desk Staffer/ Receptionist position is often times filled by an entry-level professional from the Congressperson’s or Senator’s home state or district. This position serves a gatekeeper function, greeting guests and visitors to the office and informing the appropriate parties, as well as answering and referring calls. Coordinating tours of Capitol Hill for constituents and guests is sometimes a responsibility of this position.

Staff Assistant - The Staff Assistant is a paid entry-level professional that performs many of the same duties as interns with a higher level of responsibility. The Staff Assistant serves as a full member of the staff and often assists senior-level staffers with legislative or press related duties. Successful work in this role can lead the individual to be hired as a Legislative Correspondent when an opening arises.

Legislative Correspondent - In this constituent relations position, the Legislative Correspondent responds over the phone and in writing to constituent and interest group questions and concerns. The Legislative Correspondent, referred to as LC, may select from form letters, or may need to further research the question. In some offices the LC may supervise interns.

Legislative Assistant - In some congressional offices there are several Legislative Assistants and responsibilities are assigned to staff with particular expertise in specific areas. For example, depending on the responsibilities and interests of the member, an office may include a different Legislative Assistant for health issues, environmental matters, taxes, etc.

Legislative Director - The Legislative Director is usually the staff person who monitors the legislative schedule, makes recommendations regarding the pros and cons of particular issues, and assigns issues to and oversees legislative assistants.

Press Secretary - The Press Secretary’s responsibility is to build and maintain open and effective lines of communication between the member, his/her constituency, and the general public. The Press Secretary is expected to know the benefits, demands, and special requirements of both print and electronic media, and how to most effectively promote the member’s views or positions on specific issues.

Caseworker - The Caseworker is the staff member usually assigned to help with constituent requests by preparing replies for the member’s signature. The Caseworker’s responsibilities may also include helping resolve problems constituents present in relation to federal agencies, e.g., Social Security and Medicare issues, veteran’s benefits, passports, etc.

Scheduler - The Scheduler is usually responsible for allocating a member’s time among the many demands that arise from congressional responsibilities, staff requirements, and constituent requests. The Scheduler may also make necessary travel arrangements, arrange speaking dates, etc.

Chief of Staff/ Administrative Assistant - The Administrative Assistant reports directly to the member of Congress. He/she usually has overall responsibility for evaluating the political outcome of various legislative proposals and constituent requests. The Administrative Asst is usually the person in charge of overall office operations, including the assignment of work and the supervision of staff.

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Formal Addresses for House & Senate

U.S. Senate
Honorable First Last Name
United States Senate
Washington, DC 20510

U.S. House of Representatives
Honorable First Last Name
United States House of Representatives
Washington, DC 20515

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Where to Look for Jobs

Proactive contacting of Offices and Committees

When applying for jobs on Capitol Hill the best bet is to first directly contact the Representatives and Senators from areas of the country where you have lived (even if briefly). This would include where you went to college or where you grew up, even if you have since moved. When you call, let them know you have experience in the state or district that they represent and ask if they have any job openings. If they do, remember to ask for the name and job title of the individual to address your resume to. Contact the individual accepting resumes approximately 2 weeks after you have sent in your resume if you have not gotten a response.

www.house.gov
U.S. House of Representatives
switchboard 202/225-3121

www.senate.gov
U.S. Senate
switchboard 202/224-3121


Job/News Services

Opportunities in Public Affairs
700 Graves St.
Charlottesville, VA 22902
www.opajobs.com
Toll Free 1-888-315-2373

This bi-weekly newsletter lists over 200 entry through senior level jobs in the Washington, DC metropolitan area. It has an extensive section on Capitol Hill Jobs. The Hill Listing Services are covered along with positions researched by the publication.

Roll Call, Inc.
50 F Street, NW, Suite 700
Washington, D.C. 20001
www.rollcall.com
v. 202/824-6800

This twice weekly newspaper is a leading source for Congressional news and information, both inside the Beltway and beyond. Its classified section lists government affairs, communications and a few congressional job openings.

The Hill
733 15th St. NW, Suite 1140
Washington, D.C. 20005
www.hillnews.com
v. 202/ 628-8500

This newspaper is also printed twice weekly and covers congressional current events. Its classified section lists a handful of government affairs and communications positions and a few congressional openings.

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What to Expect

Contacting only interview candidates

Many times job applicants are surprised that they receive no response from many of the organizations that they send their resume to. Unfortunately this is standard practice for many businesses, including most of the congressional offices. In most instances the offices will only contact those individuals they are interested in interviewing. But don’t despair, you can be proactive in your job search and contact the office approximately 2 weeks after applying to make sure they have received your resume and relate your enthusiasm and interest in working for their office.

Internship for entry-level candidates

Trying to find a job with a congressional office is a highly competitive venture. If you have little or no legislative, political or campaign experience, you may need to start as an Intern in an office and prove yourself. Intern positions pay very little, if anything, but they do provide that important foot-in-the-door. Interns can quickly work their way up to a paid Staff Assistant or Legislative Correspondent position. If, like many of us, you need to get paid in order to afford housing and the other necessities of life, you may want to consider gaining legislative experience in a Washington, DC area think tank, interest group, nonprofit, or government affairs department of a private organization. These entry-level paid positions are easier to come by and offer experience in the world of legislative and public affairs. You may also want to consider volunteering your time for a local political campaign or organization. Political experience can go along way.

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Other Resources

www.democrat.org
Democratic National Committee
430 S. Capitol St. SE
Washington, DC 20003
v. 202/863-8000

www.nrc.org
Republican National Committee
310 First Street, S.E.
Washington, DC 20003
v. 202/863-8500

www.congress.org

www.fedjobs.com

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