For many college students, landing an internship or job on Capitol Hill would mean gaining life and work experience in one of the world’s leading cities for legislation, lobbying, foreign embassies, judicature, museums and banking, just to name a few. Consequently, competition is fierce.
Consider the following methods to seek an internship or job, and help your student secure a coveted spot at our nation’s capitol.
Washington DC offers opportunities for students in a variety of fields, not just those seeking to call the White House their office. Students interested in entering law, journalism, banking, healthcare reform or library/museum work should consider pursuing an internship in DC.
Encourage your student to talk to his professors or career counselors about contacts they have or job descriptions they know about in DC. As with all job-seeking endeavors, networking is key.
If you have a budding politician on your hands, suggest that he start volunteering with local campaigns or contact the governor, major, congressman or senators for internship opportunities. Gaining political experience where your student already lives and takes classes will be more cost efficient and help bolster his application if he applies for future work or internships in DC. Also, the contacts he makes locally will benefit him when he does seek out more experience at the capitol.
Whether your student is looking for work after graduation or a summer internship, the web has a plethora of sites with searchable databases for open positions. Check usajobs.gov for federal internships and employment for students. Students.gov currently lists 66 sites for opportunities for government internships, like with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, Central Intelligence Agency and National Institutes of Health. There are also governmentwide hiring programs for students, like the Student Temporary Employment Program (STEP) and the Student Career Experience Program (SCEP).
Most internships in DC are unpaid, and there are even some that your student can pay to be a part of. This option might be best considered if all other internship seeking methods don’t work, and your student has money to go this route.
Non-profit organizations like The Washington Center for Internships and Academic Seminars and Washington Internship Institute offer an internship search and application process and class credit that is streamlined through their organization. General costs, including tuition and housing for a summer internship through these organizations are $9,310 and $7,100, respectively. In some cases, according to TWC, tuition you’ve paid to your student’s college can go toward this cost, and private or state scholarships can help with funding as well. If your student lands an internship that doesn’t offer housing options, Washington Intern Student Housing can help him find a place to stay near his job.