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Getting a Job on Capitol Hill: For Veterans

Getting a job on Capitol Hill has some additional obstacles for veterans. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

Getting a job on Capitol Hill can be tough, even for the politically savvy with long resumes and starred credentials. But it can be a vastly different experience for veterans. HillVets, a nonprofit focused on veterans issues, is looking to add to the number of veterans in the Capitol Hill staffer ranks, and recently distributed  “A Veteran's Guide to Getting a Job on Capitol Hill .”  

The guide encourages veterans to submit their resumes to HillVets and sign up for job email lists. When veterans apply for a position, they should let HillVets know, and see if there are additional contacts within the HillVets network that can assist in landing an interview. Much of the information is the oft-repeated Capitol Hill advice: Decide what kind of job is best suited to your skill set, seek a home-state connection, spell check and review your cover letter and resume. HillVets gives the cold, hard truth regarding compensation: “You are likely going to make less money as a Hill staffer than you did on active duty.” Overall, the guide is encouraging, and provides a resource for veterans who want to work on Capitol Hill, which can otherwise be a difficult place to land employment , especially without relevant Hill experience.  

Sean Foertsch, a HillVets board member, Afghanistan veteran and former staffer, said many veterans do not have a pre-existing network of congressional contacts, or political campaign experience, which is why the guide may be so helpful. “The guide is intended to reach as many job-seeking vets as possible, regardless of how well they know the Hill,” he said.  

HillVets confirmed 98 veterans currently working as staff on Capitol Hill, both House and Senate, and the organization aims to double the number by the end of calendar year 2015.

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