This is a guest blog post written by our former intern Jamie Green.
Never say never.
These are three words that run through my mind as I began my Congressional Black Caucus Foundation Communications Internship application. Before my graduating semester, I never imagined being in a position where I would find myself interested in working in politics.
Like most public relations students, I wanted to get into a more glamorous field of communications such as lifestyle or entertainment, definitely NOT politics. With two months left until graduation, I began to apply for any opportunity that came my way.
Needless to say, I was awarded the internship and packed my bags and moved to Washington, D.C.! I must say that my internship experience was the one of best experiences I could have ever had. I did work that correlated with my degree, my work was challenging, and I learned about public policy through my internship assignments.
So how did I go from congressional intern to congressional staffer?
1. I was an active learner.
There was never a point in my internship where I wasn’t asking questions or taking a little extra time with my work to ensure that I was doing my assignments correctly. Being that I had never written in a political realm, I had to ensure that I was progressing in my writing so that my supervisors could take less time reviewing my work so that they could gradually assign a heavier workload.
2. I networked like crazy.
Going on coffee dates, informational interviews, and collecting business cards became a full-time job for me. I was telling everyone I could about my future endeavors and that I was looking for full-time employment. Sometimes the person was not in the communications field, but most times they pointed me in the right direction to someone better suited to help. I built all the bridges I could and remembered not to burn any.
3. Most importantly: I broadened my horizon.
This might be the most important aspect of how I became a congressional staffer. I allowed myself to look outside the glamorous aspects of public relations and started looking at how doing communications in a congressional office could broaden my skill set. With this experience, I can market myself to a wider range of employers.
For anyone interested in becoming a congressional intern, visit your local representatives’ website for internship opportunities or if anyone has any questions about my full experience on Capitol Hill, feel free to email me at firstname.lastname@example.org