Heard on the Hill

Intern Success Story: How to Get Hired Right Away

‘I tried to add value to whatever I did,’ former Perdue intern Jenni Sweat says

Jenni Sweat, from the office of Sen. David Perdue, R-Ga., took online classes and independent studies to finish college. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

Jenni Sweat was such a stellar intern that she stayed in Sen. David Perdue’s office instead of returning to school for her last semester of college.

Sweat started her unpaid internship in the Georgia Republican’s office in January 2017. She was a 20-year-old junior at the University of Georgia and received a scholarship to be part of her college’s internship program.

“Senator Perdue was actually the very first person that I voted for when I was in high school ... his focus on our national debt is something that I cared deeply about,” she said.

When her internship was a few months in, she decided she didn’t want it to end.

“I feel like people in our office really empowered me to bring ideas to the table and gave me a lot of opportunity to try different things,” she said.

Sweat went to her boss and mentioned she wanted to stay on. In May, she was offered a paid press fellow position for the summer. In August, she became press assistant.

“I had to kind of pull some strings and work with my school in order to make that happen, but they saw this as such a great opportunity for me,” Sweat said.

She completed college by taking online classes and independent studies. Perdue was thrilled to have her on the team full-time.

“Jenni is a true success story. ... We hired her before she even graduated, because she was such great fit,” Perdue said. “Being from Conyers, Georgia, Jenni helps highlight what we are working on here in the U.S. Senate and how it will help people across our state. We all just love Jenni.”

What is Sweat’s advice on how to succeed?

“I tried to add value to whatever I did. If there’s something that I could do to make anyone in the office’s job easier, that’s what I tried to do,” she said. “And then I tried to just go above and beyond in general intern tasks and to bring ideas to the table.”

While she missed her last semester in college, she thinks it was for the best.

“To learn from real experience has taught me a lot more than I’d ever learn in the classroom,” she said.

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