Congressional Staffer Guide

Staffer Guide: How To Make the Most of Your Hill Career

Staffer Guide: Making the Most of Capitol Hill
Insight on money and perks

One Hill perk that can't be quantified is access to and direct interaction with lawmakers. An aide is seen here consulting with Sen. Bill Nelson, D-Fla., during a hearing on Jan. 24. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

Capitol Hill is a great place to work, whether you’re just starting your career or have been staff for a while. Here are some tips on how to take advantage of your time on the Hill.

On Capitol Hill, you might not get paid as much as you might like. Aside from taking advantage of the benefits you have, here are some tips for saving money:

Staffer Guide: Interning Do’s and Don’ts
Former staffers share some horror stories

An aide walks on the fourth floor of Russell Building on the first day of the 115th Congress. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

GOP Staffers Are Waiting to Hear, ‘You’re Hired’
With Trump in office, the hiring spree is about to begin

Interest from Capitol Hill in White House jobs has been high, people close to the Trump administration say. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

As the point person for Hill staffers looking for jobs in the Trump administration, Rep. Chris Collins is suddenly very popular among his colleagues.

The New York Republican said that every time he walks onto the House floor, he leaves with a handful of manila envelopes stuffed with application materials. His office started a spreadsheet in November of every job seeker who contacted him.

Staffer Guide: Getting Coffee Dos and Don’ts
Meetings over caffeine are a big part of Capitol Hill culture

CQ Roll Call file photo.

Staffer Guide: Etiquette Tips
How to act appropriately on the Hill

Antonia Ferrier, staff director for the Senate Republican Communications Center, leaves a meeting in the Capitol last November. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

There are a lot of social aspects of Capitol Hill that can be confusing to newcomers. Here’s some advice from staffers on a few of those. 

Anything less than business attire is not appropriate during session. When it’s recess, look at what others in your office wear so you don’t find yourself the only person in jeans.Some of the worst Capitol fashion violations people have seen include beanies, shorts, flip-flops, bare feet, short skirts without tights, and hoodies.

Staffer Guide: Switching Jobs Tips
What to do in different scenarios

Staffers line the aisle at the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee meeting to organize for the 115th Congress on Jan. 24. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

You’re already on Capitol Hill, interns included, and you want to switch to a different job. Depending on the scenario, here are the best things you can do:

Approach the chief of staff, let him or her know you want the job and why you would be the best fit. But, be sure your direct supervisor is aware, as well — circumventing your boss is never a good idea.Before a job opens up, though, you should be laying the groundwork by offering to help people in order to make yourself a natural replacement.

Staffer Guide: Cast a Wide Net
Chandler Smith says it’s the little things that matter

Chandler Smith is communications director for the Senate Republican Conference. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

Staffer Guide: Attitude Matters
Yuri Beckelman recommends being easy to work with

Yuri Beckelman is Rep. Mark Takano's legislative director and deputy chief of staff. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

Never walking away from an opportunity has paid off for Yuri Beckelman, California Democratic Rep. Mark Takano’s legislative director and deputy chief of staff.

“The best career decision was moving down here and taking an internship,” Beckelman, 34, said. “I didn’t really know what I was doing. There’s a disconnect [between] California and D.C. When my high school visited ‘the Capitol,’ we went to Sacramento.”

Staffer Guide: Stay in Touch
Jonathan Smith tells staffers to do your best with the job you have

Jonathan Smith is chief of staff to Washington Rep. Derek Kilmer. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Jonathan Smith moved up from intern to chief of staff on Capitol Hill by never losing touch with people with whom he has worked.

Now chief of staff to Washington Democratic Rep. Derek Kilmer, Smith started as a college intern, first for then-state Sen. Gary Peters, and later for Sen. Carl Levin, both Michigan Democrats. 

Staffer Guide: Be Your Office’s Hardest Worker
Kerry Feehery says finding a rhythm will get you through the long hours

Kerry Feehery is the senior policy adviser for Holland & Knight LLP. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

Twenty-three years ago, lobbyist Kerry Feehery was not only a staff assistant in the Senate, but also the first and last person in her office every day.

Former Florida Sen. Connie Mack III’s chief of staff tasked her with phone duty before he got into the office and after he left.

Staffer Guide: Know the Value of Time
Meghan Dubyak advises approaching every job with ‘respect and humor’

Meghan Dubyak was the press secretary to former Vice President Joseph R. Biden Jr. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

Scheduling a congressman’s time was the most challenging job for Meghan Dubyak, until recently the press secretary to former Vice President Joseph R. Biden Jr.

“Scheduling is one of the hardest jobs in the public arena because you’re dealing with the member’s most valuable asset, which is his time,” said Dubyak, 34.