Want A Job on Capitol Hill (Or Anywhere In D.C.)?

Want A Job on Capitol Hill (Or Anywhere In D.C.)?

I knew that title would grab your entry, because the lack of pictures in this entry was sure to drive you away very fast. Have no fear though! I felt compelled to write this entry because I haven't really offered enough about the Hill or working in D.C. Obviously, that's a major reason I'm here and probably why you're even reading this to begin with. Sadly, I can't really offer pictures with this subject matter. But what's a picture really worth anyways? I'll spare you the thousand words and cut right to the chase.


So by the title of the entry, you might assume that I've become some sort of all-important executive in some glorious federal agency by now. Well, sadly for you and I both, that is not the case. I am in fact still a summer intern in D.C., the brunt of many bad jokes and even more embarrassing situations on the Metro.


However, I have learned that being an intern here over the course of this summer has taught me an incredible amount of things. From this real-world experience, I've learned five easy things that will land you a job or something resembling it whenever you're ready. Don't believe me? Well, believe me. What's even better is that I'm going to share them with you here.


1. Patience - You are not going to arrive at your internship on day one and suddenly receive task after task. In fact, you are most likely not going to be the only intern there thinking this. Thus, it is always good to have patience and simply find out where you fit in the office schematics. You find a niche and the tasks will follow.


2. Committment - You signed up for a 40-hour work week with a solid end date. Unless you worked something else out, always stick to this. I can't tell you how many stories I've heard over this summer of interns leaving early, either daily or at the end of the summer, and their bosses writing them entirely off. You can never be too committed to your internship.


3. Dedication - You might think you're being annoying by asking staff members or your supervisor for work or questions about the work you already have. Well, guess what? They are there for you as a resource. Sure, you don't want to be constantly badgering; but an intern who asks questions early and often is an intern who ends up with more work to do. In addition, absolutely never do something with 50% of yourself. If you can't put it in 110%, then just don't take the task. Believe me, your boss will notice.


4. Courtesy - The way that you treat your fellow interns, supervisors, and other connections you make in D.C. is exactly how you will be remembered. I cannot tell you how golden the "golden rule" was this summer. You're here to grow as a young professional. I can tell you that no growth will be found in attitudes that belong in a middle school. And if you think your boss doesn't notice that tone or hear about what you do in the "intern room", think again. There are eyes everywhere, like I've said before, and you're going to get it.


5. Give Thanks - The only two-word tip in my list, but possibly the most important. I figured this out only this summer, but it's proved invaluable. Giving a hand-written "thank you" note to someone who has inspired you, helped you, or simply worked around you is honestly the best career move you'll make. In this day and age, everything is fast-paced and easily erased. When your boss or whomever you've networked with over the summer sees you took the time to write that, not only does it sum up my previous four points but it also is something they will remember. So before you leave this summer, make sure to "give thanks".


I'm sure there are hundreds of thousands of millions of books out there on this stuff. I just wanted to add my own little blip on the radar of literature and self-help. I swear, these tips have guided me to the most successful internship experience I have ever had. And you can bet your bottom dollar that I will be back here or somewhere related in just about a year's time. I hope to see you there!

Experience a Day in the Life of an Intern at The Washington Center

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