GCA Guidance: Federal Opportunities

Capitol Hill Jobs and Internships

Step One: Start Networking

  • Make a list of all the representatives and senators in all the states where you or close family have lived, attended school, or spent significant time visiting. From that list, choose the top 5-10 top members for which you would like to work or intern.
  • Explore any committees where you have a personal interest in the issue area or a connection to the chairman or ranking member.
  • Ask family, friends, and professors if they have any connections to anyone working in politics or in D.C.
  • While e-mail is fine for initial outreach, phone calls and in-person meetings are ideal.
  • Be prepared to ask questions and always follow up with a thank you note!
  • Contact Jessica Davis, Emory's Director of Federal Affairs, for guidance and suggestions.

Step Two: Update Your Resume

A good resume should be one page and highlight skills that are useful in congressional offices such as research, writing, and customer service roles.

  • Contact Emory's Career Center for a template and to proofread your resume!
  • Prepare a specific writing sample – do not just reuse an old paper. A good writing sample is 1-2 pages on a dedicated topic. Items such as a one-page policy position paper, press release, or newspaper article are great options.

Step Three: Begin Looking for Jobs

The best way to get a job in D.C. is to be in D.C., and one of the easiest ways for students to be in D.C. is with an internship on Capitol Hill.

  • Reach out to staffers working for your home town member and ask for an informational phone call or coffee to learn more about how they got their job.
  • Go back to the list of members you created during Step One and visit their website for information on internships. Capitol Hill needs interns year-round, and summer internships are the most competitive. Check application deadlines carefully – many are in the late fall for the following summer.

A number of federal government internship opportunities may be found at these links:

After an internship, the next step in a Capitol Hill office is usually as a staff assistant. This person is the first person that constituents see in the office and can be in charge of a multitude of tasks, including fielding constituents' calls, greeting visitors, and coordinating tours for visiting constituents. Very few people go straight from college to advising on policy issues.

Many jobs in D.C. are filled through networking or by word-of-mouth. However, some of the best places to job search are listed below. Non-government sites may charge a nominal monthly fee to subscribe.

Step Four: Continue Networking

Never stop networking – even once you get an internship or job. Meeting and knowing as many people as possible is an important step in getting a permanent job or even in advancing your future boss's legislation.