Each politician hires staff members to assist them with tasks such as researching policy, writing legislation, communicating with constituents, managing schedules, and every other aspect of working in Congress. These positions could be an excellent opportunity for a student interested in public policy, political science, economics, law, or other fields! Interested students can sign up to receive the United States Senate Employment Bulletin and the United States House of Representatives Employment bulletin for current vacancies and to apply.
What kinds of jobs are available? Here is a list of five sample positions that you will find on the Senate and House employment bulletins:
- Congressional Aide: The congressional aide’s specific duties vary depending on the congressperson they work for, but overall this position requires managing the politician’s schedule. This involves managing emails, scheduling meetings, arranging events, communicating with constituents, and sometimes even research. Congressional aides balance a lot of different tasks, so organization, time management, and communication skills are huge parts of the job.
- Legislative Assistant: The legislative assistants each have an issue portfolio, which either consists of the congressperson’s priority or non-priority issues. This individual is responsible for knowing these issues inside and out. They will brief the congressperson on votes and hearings, develop and strategize legislation, prepare speeches, communicate with constituents and stakeholders, and record statements. This position requires excellent writing skills, teamwork abilities, and oral communication skills.
- Staff Assistant: Staff assistants are responsible for ensuring that the congressperson’s office runs smoothly. This involves answering phones, greeting constituents at the office, representing the office at meetings and events, and organizing and filing paperwork. Key skills required to succeed in this role are teamwork, written and verbal communication, and organization.
- Press Secretary: This position is responsible for handling all elements of the media. The press secretary writes speeches for the congressperson, prepares them for interviews, handles press releases, writes newspaper columns, and speaks with reporters. Press secretaries are required to have strong writing skills, verbal communication skills, and organizational abilities.
- Policy Advisor: Each policy advisor has a particular area of focus or expertise (for example: a Climate Policy Advisor would handle energy, environment, and National Security Advisor would handle issues relating to veteran affairs, foreign relations, and international narcotics). This is not an entry level position and will require experience in the issue area. The policy advisors leverage their expertise to advise the congressperson regarding legislation and policy in that area.