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Finding That Committee Staffer Spot

Looking to find a committee spot? Here's how to make the leap. (CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Ah, the joys of working in a personal office: those unexpected “drop-by” visitors, a daily interaction with an elected official, even the chance to learn the legislative ropes vis-a-vis writing stacks of constituent mail. But what happens when a staffer wants to tackle a particular legislative issue and make the leap to become a committee staffer? Hill Navigator discusses.  

The He’s-Just-Not-That-Into-You Interview

Meeting for coffee? How to make the most of the informational interview. (CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Informational interviews are a Washington rite of passage: Eager staffers-to-be go on dozens before landing their ideal job, and then spend the rest of their careers on the receiving end of lukewarm coffee conversations about someone else’s hopes and dreams.  

Hill Navigator is a strong proponent of this cycle: Whenever possible, allow someone to bend your ear over a latte.* But what happens if this leads to a job opportunity that isn’t the right fit? Hill Navigator discusses.

How to Kick That Mid-August Recess Slump

Need some new ideas on what to do this August Recess? (CQ Roll Call File Photo)

August is to recess what November is to elections (and January is to the State of the Union and  once upon a time  what July was to appropriations). August is the month of shorter to-do lists and longer lunches. With Congress out of session, it's an ideal time to take vacation, or to just leave early for midday cocktails.  

But even the summertime recess can become routine, and the once-ambitious to-do list can grow stale. So how do you make the most of the "District Work Period?" Hill Navigator has some ideas . 1. Go to the state/district . No August recess is complete without a few days (or even a week) in the district/state office. Those lucky enough to work for their home-state member can turn these trips into some quality family visiting time, but for those who work elsewhere, district trips are still valuable. Here’s why: Capitol Hill is its own, isolated microcosm of a community. The politics and policies fiercely debated here have a way of translating much differently outside the Beltway. Even if you aren’t one to mull over the legislative accomplishment (or lack thereof) of Congress, going to the state/district will serve as a reminder of whom you represent (and their transportation needs, which may serve particularly useful this fall). Hearing from people — whether in a town hall meeting or Waffle House— may be the best dose of reality you’ll get all summer.  

A Former Staffer's 'Glamour' Side

Giovanna Gray Lockhart, former Hill staffer and current Washington editor of Glamour magazine, poses in her home in Washington. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

Giovanna Gray Lockhart already knows what it means to hit the ground running with style.  

In only her second week back from maternity leave — daughter Beatrice was born in January — and in her new gig as Glamour’s Washington editor, she hosted more than 100 people at her house in Kalorama and participated in Glamour’s cover story about Michelle Obama with Sarah Jessica Parker and Kerry Washington (aka Carrie Bradshaw and Olivia Pope). But this former senior aide for Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand (Lockhart and Gillibrand are still close: the senator officiated her 2014 wedding to former White House Press Secretary Joe Lockhart.) is remarkably down-to-earth when we sit for an interview at D.C.'s Blue Duck Tavern. She was ready to reminisce about her time working on Capitol Hill and its many rewards, in a lightly edited Q&A.  

The Road to Re-Employment: State Staff Edition

Capitol Hill or bust? Why it may be harder for state and district staff to land jobs in D.C. (CQ Roll Call File Photo).

It can be hard to land a job on Capitol Hill, even for those who live and work in D.C. But what about former state and district staffers, who still want to work on Capitol Hill even after their boss has exited stage right? Hill Navigator discusses.

Acing the Business Lunch: Paying the Check

The power lunch is alive and well on Capitol Hill. (CQ Roll Call File Photo)

The best part about having the skills to ace a power lunch? Getting the chance to practice. Hill Navigator appreciates the reader response to "How to Ace the Power Lunch ," and hopes each of you have the opportunity to put those gracious and formidable skills to good use. Whether it's at Fiola or Good Stuff Eatery, knowing how to order, pay and show requisite graciousness is crucial to having a good time and great meal.  

But that pesky payment can be tricky, even for the most experienced of us who are used to plunking down an AmEx and insisting the meal is on us. Worse, it can be uncomfortable to go through such a charade when you are quite certain the fat cat you’re dining with will be the one to pick up the tab. Hill Navigator discusses below.

When the Boss Quits: Staffer Survival Guide

Schock is resigning his seat, what does it mean for his staff? (CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Rep. Aaron Schock is not the only person's career to be upended in a flash . The Illinois Republican's staffers, who once thought they could be working for a future leader in the House , will be out of a job and looking for work.  

One Schock staffer had a head start on his job hunt, but for the others, finding a new position can be tricky, especially when the most recent job on the résumé is with a member who has resigned amid an ongoing ethics investigation.  

Can I Skip the Intern Route?

Can you land a job on Capitol Hill without going the intern route? Hill Navigator discusses. (CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Interning may be the common way to get a job on Capitol Hill, but what if you’ve got the political experience and are ready to work full time? Do you really need the Capitol Hill internship? Hill Navigator discusses:

Unloved and Underpaid in a Home-State Office

Thinking of leaving D.C. for your home state? Hill Navigator discusses. (CQ Roll Call File Photo)

It’s no secret Capitol Hill staffers are underpaid compared to their private-sector counterparts. But what if you’re underpaid compared to the rest of Capitol Hill? When is it time to find work in another office? Hill Navigator discusses.

The Era of Cold Calling Has Ended

Cold calling: not so effective anymore. (CQ Roll Call File Photo).

There’s something to be said for gumption: the go-get-'em attitude that shrinks the power distance between junior staffers and the far senior authorities. But how does one bridge that divide and advance a career in the process? Hill Navigator discusses.