Aug. 21, 2014 SIGN IN | REGISTER

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.

The post-Election Day dust has settled, and while a few House races have yet to be called, at least 65 members will not be returning for the 113th Congress.

While the media focuses on the departure of lawmakers and what it means for members’ political and personal futures, the losses and retirements also directly affect people who work in Washington and district offices whose employment hinges on their bosses’ success on Election Day.

For the hundreds of staffers in the offices of retiring members and those felled by the electorate, the height of the Capitol Hill office shuffle begins now, as staffers begin to work their networks to find employment before the transition of power officially takes place on Jan. 3.

“Unless your boss is in a pure red or pure blue district, it’s rough and tumble,” said Harry Gural, communications director for retiring Rep. Barney Frank, D-Mass., referring to the cycle of losses and retirements that inevitably leave staffers unemployed. “It’s just the nature of this business.”

Experts and longtime staffers who have been through these shuffles in the past say that while daunting, there is hope for the dozens of people forced out of their jobs by the political process.

Their advice to those looking for a new job? It all starts with networking.

From staff associations to connections with workers in other Hill offices and the private sector, reaching out can help get your résumé to the top of the pile, as well as potentially break a tie during a hiring process with many qualified candidates.

Jake McCook, communications director for the Gay Lesbian and Allies Senate Staff Caucus and deputy press secretary for Sen. Tom Udall, D-N.M., said the members of his organization help each other network to find jobs when they’re in tough spots, such as the turnover that will come in January.

“It ultimately comes down to a person’s résumé and qualifications, but sometimes it just takes the initial contact or an introduction to get to the point where they can interview,” McCook said of the networking process. “We’re definitely here, and I think we create an environment and are up front about the professional development we offer, so people can feel comfortable coming to us and asking us [for help in the job search].”

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.

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