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For Displaced Staffers, Post-Election Job Search All Starts With Networking

Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call
Groups such as the Women’s Congressional Staff Association, which is open to female staffers in the House and the Senate, hold strategically timed workshops about job searching and networking to help their members who will soon be out of a job.

Sara Lonardo, communications director for Rep. Rosa DeLauro, D-Conn., and vice president of WCSA, said the group will host a job boot camp for its members Monday.

“There will be a panel talking about best strategies for looking, how to land a job and an interactive résumé review,” Lonardo said of the boot camp. “Folks can bring their résumé [and] have other people look at it who are responsible for hiring.”

“We’re definitely sensitive to the calendar, and the job search boot camp is planned for November, when people are back in town from campaigns and when people are looking for new jobs,” she said.

For those without ties to a staff association, Tom Manatos, a former Hill staffer who runs the political job search website TomManatosJobs.com, said the best place to start is with incoming freshmen.

“The most likely chance to get a job might be with new members, so my advice is that they know where the new member temporary offices are during new member orientation, and that they drop off their resume in those temporary offices,” Manatos said.

Chris Jones, president of political temp agency Politemps and former congressional staffer, said doing research on which members will be moving into leadership slots is also a good way to figure out which offices will be given bigger staffing budgets, and work those offices as well in order to find a job.

“When I was interning on the Hill, I was older, I was 28 years old. I was interning and handing out résumés, and I looked at a copy of Roll Call and I noticed that a person had just won a position as majority whip, so I realized that that meant more staff, a bigger budget, and I realized that person was going to be in leadership and did a basic lobbying effort there,” Jones said.

Manatos said looking outside the Hill is a savvy move to make as well — with the revolving door swinging in both directions, outside jobs are likely to open up.

After four years in the White House, Manatos said many staffers in the executive branch will begin to move on, creating openings for people on the Hill, which can ultimately trickle down to Hill staffers displaced by congressional change-ups.

The most important thing to remember, Manatos said, is not to get discouraged if a job doesn’t come through right away.

“Don’t get too distraught if it’s a couple of months [before you find a job],” Manatos said. “There should be a bunch of moving.”

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