While I do my best to stay out of politics and stay neutral when advising folks on jobs, I have to make some comment on the times we live in. My business is, in some ways, the business of politics. Or, more specifically, helping others learn to navigate the business of politics to land that dream internship or job.
Depending on when you read this r, we may or may not know the outcome of this year's presidential election, and subsequent down-ballot races. Regardless, over the next few months we will likely see a fair amount of opportunities on the Hill, and potentially within the executive branch and throughout the city. Below, I'll try to highlight some high level expectations that may impact your future internship and job search.
- Get your resume in order. A typical job on the Hill, in a political appointee position, or in a lobbying group tends to look for a one page resume. For executive branch positions, often a federal resume is needed. Check here for a short video on how to create a Federal resume.
- Employment trends by outcome:
- The Incumbent Administration Wins the White House: Typically you see some turnover in high level appointees (i.e. the secretary/deputy secretary level). If you’re interested in working for someone you admire who is moving from the executive branch to private industry, note where they’re going and what they will be working on next. If you want to work in the incumbent administration and be considered for an appointed position, check here for open positions.
- The Challenger Wins the White House: There will be a lot of movement in the city overall. If you are interested in throwing your hat in the ring for an appointed position, you can submit your application here. Otherwise, similar to point ‘a’ above, pay attention to whom is being appointed, the positions or organizations they are abdicating and put in your resume to follow those who you'd want to work for, or organizations in which you'd like to work. Note that a lot of appointed persons come from Congress, or other leadership positions in think tanks, advocacy groups, and the like. Should this happen, I'll do my best to stay on top of who goes where - you can always check the Washington Post's Political Appointee Tracker (a project which I helped create back in the day!)
- The Center for Presidential Transition. The Partnership for Public Service, a nonpartisan organization, has a number of amazing articles, speaker series and a podcast called, Transition Lab, about all the things to consider in a transition year. Be sure to take a listen and take some of their tips into consideration if you are hoping for a position in the White House, whether it's this year, or in years to come.
Regardless of who wins the White House, transition years are a time of change. Check out this article from Traverse Jobs for tips on how to shape your recent experiences to help promote your skills. Also, note that other sites, such as Daybook jobs (offering a three month premium trail) and Tom Manatos Jobs can be incredibly helpful finding jobs in politics).
If the election didn’t go the way you expected (whether that is at the presidential level, or perhaps a more local level), take note about the areas of importance to you. Look for opportunities to get involved, again starting on the local level by volunteering for organizations. Maybe you take this as a call to action to run for something yourself. It doesn’t have to be big, but there are a lot of ways to remain politically involved regardless of how your candidates perform(ed).