Best tips to find political jobs in DC
As someone who has recently gone through the daunting and tough task of job hunting, I can completely understand and attest to the fact that it’s tough to find political jobs in DC and even tougher to find a job that is the right fit for you. With so many newly minted undergraduate, graduate, and even law school grads hunting for jobs in the same market, it can sometimes be a very overwhelming and discouraging undertaking. But in the end, all your efforts will be worth it. Here are the tips I learned along my journey to finding a great job with wonderful people, and how you can do the same.
The best piece of advice I received when trying to find political jobs in DC was to network, network, network. Already in college, I had seen how influential networking with the right people could be, whether it came to a professor letting me into an already full class, or getting great football tickets to the next game. Interning on the Hill proved to have the same pattern. Networking opportunities popped up everywhere, from happy hours to receptions. When it was time for me to start finding a job, the networking efforts paid off. Through new relationships, I gained opportunities for interviews and met people who would share my resume. The competition is still tough; everyone wants to find a good, cool job. So its important to understand that while you can put the work into forming great relationships with people, many others are doing the same.
Although networking can get you many opportunities, most people you make connections with are not going to job hunt for you. If they hear of an opportunity they will send it to you, but most interviews and job opportunities will come from religiously checking job boards and keeping your ear and eyes open for new opportunities. Be prepared. Have your cover letter, references & resume ready to send. Somewhere along the countless pieces of advice for finding a job, one little comment stuck with me. You want to be one of the first people to send in their application so that there was a bigger chance the employer would look at your resume. Would you rather be the first person to apply or the 250th?
Some great job boards for political jobs in DC include:
- Tom Manatos
- Brad Traverse
- Jobs that are Left
- Democratic Gain
- Senate Employment Bulletin
- House Vacancy Announcements
You can also register your resume with the U.S. House and Senate Placement Service. (P.S. for job opportunities at The Campaign Workshop click here!)
Research the Company or Job you are applying to
It’s easy to apply to every job out there, but just like you might not be the right fit for a certain office or position, that office and position might not be right for you. For example, if you are a democrat it’s a good idea not to apply for republican jobs. If you aren’t very good with technology maybe stay away from jobs that will entail working with digital tools. Make sure to research the company or office and understand fully the responsibilities of the job opening. And redirecting it back to networking, it’s always a good idea to check if you know anyone or have a connection to that office who can put in a good word for you.
Send a follow-up email thanking the interviewer for the opportunity to come in and learn more about the position. But be patient, don’t follow up with a ton of calls or emails. Although your top priority might be finding a job, it usually isn’t the employer’s top priority to find someone to fill the position.
Don’t fear rejection
At first, this can be a weird feeling to get used to. It can be difficult to hear people telling you “no” and seeing an opportunity go to someone else, regardless of how hard you have worked or how well the interview went. On average it takes someone a minimum of 6 months and up to 2 years to find a job. So keep faith and keep job searching.
At the end of the day, sometimes it comes easy and sometimes finding a job is much harder than anticipated. But never give up, take each day at a time and always keep your eyes open for new opportunities. Eventually, you will find a job that is a great fit for you!