Don’t delay, intern today
Ben Woodward and Mauricio Bento
April 5, 2017
Don’t delay, intern today
You may be wondering: “Should I apply for an internship in Washington, DC?”I was in the same boat fresh out of college. The options were vast, graduate school, part-time work, traveling, and more. At college, I postponed applying as so many do. Given the opportunity again, I'd do it differently.Many students go to college far away from their families; summer break, therefore, is a chance to spend some time with loved ones. However, summer is also the perfect time to get professional experience in D.C. If you are in your senior year and really would like to get your foot in the door, you can also apply for internships during the spring or the fall. You'll find about the same number of roles available, but organizations recieve a significantly smaller number of applications, and therefore spring and fall internships are less competitive.And you should know. It's competitive!Organizations like CATO, The Heritage Foundation, Americans for Prosperity, and the Leadership Institute receive vastly more applications than we have positions available.But if you take the process seriously, and do your research, there's no reason why you should fail.Here are five benefits of interning while you are still in college:1. Personal Development: Internships are about more than performing the responsibilities assigned. The best internships invest in people, teaching you professional skills, challenging you, and providing experiences that inspire you to want to succeed in your career. Even by applying you'll learn how to build your resume and prepare for an interview. On the job you'll learn how to write professional emails and speak in public. Those skills are essential and will help you much more in the long term than just listing an organization on your resume.2. Networking: D.C. is a city fueled by connections. If you are out of sight, you are out of mind. That is why interning while you are at college builds those solid relationships which will be so important when you graduate or apply for your next internship. 3. Freedom of expression: Take a break from liberals. If you are in college, chances are you are in the minority as a conservative. Many colleges act to suffocate open political discourse, and as a conservative, you are likely on the receiving end of leftist abuse. Come to intern in the conservative movement where your principles are valued, and you can learn to tackle leftist abuses on your campus.4. Discover your talents: Interning in D.C. is about gaining practical experience. It helps you confirm what you want to do, and what you do not. Many interns come to DC, and their internship confirms that they do indeed want to work on the Hill, for a think tank, or a non-profit. Others learn that it's not for them. Both lessons are equally valuable.5. Head start: The difference between the graduates who get a well-paying job out of college and those do not is internships. If you are forward thinking and you get that experience early, you will hit the ground running after graduation. If you do not, you will find yourself left behind. So which will it be?>
There is no Free Lunch
Mauricio Bento
March 30, 2017
There is no Free Lunch
A few days ago, LI president Morton Blackwell told me that when he was a college student at LSU, he and his friends heard Milton Friedman was available to speak for free at Morton's campus group. They were eager to bring such a distinguished intellectual to their university! This “free,” of course, meant he wouldn't charge any amount for himself, but the hosts would have to pay the travel and accommodation costs. In the end, there was no free Friedman.One of the most famous Milton Friedman quotes states, “there is no such thing as a free lunch,” an ironic response to the tremendous demand for “free stuff” by the socialists he debated. The phrase meant that no government program is free. The taxpayer always pays (an expensive bill) in the end.The first time I heard this quote, I was an 18-year-old college freshman at the University of Brasilia back in Brazil, my home country. I was taking an Introduction to Economics class, and the professor repeated the quote while explaining the foundations of microeconomics. That stuck in my mind. I was not a socialist, but I believed that more government intervention – more of the right intervention – could work. I thought that because I always looked at the benefits of government programs while ignoring the costs. That quote changed everything. From that day on, I would always remember that there was no free lunch, and government programs cost too much and deliver too little.In the last two weeks, I have finished re-reading Milton Friedman's book Capitalism and Freedom, as part of my LI internship book discussion program. I felt the passion my friends and I expressed during the debate over the need for more school choice and less occupational licensing regulations in the US. Friedman was part of my freshman year in college and now is part of my freshman year as a young professional in DC. His ideas are as relevant today as they were when he wrote them.They are relevant not only in the US but also in Brazil. So relevant that Folha de Sao Paulo, the #1 national newspaper in Brazil – read by more than 20 million people every month – published an editorial within the last few weeks that has a title inspired by Friedman's quote. The article, a harsh critique on excessive regulations on airline companies, also mentions Friedman's quote in both the introduction and conclusion.Friedman won the Nobel Prize, advised President Regan, wrote best-sellers, made a TV series about economic freedom with Arnold Schwarzenegger, and now serves as inspiration for us at the Leadership Institute (LI) and even for big newspapers. Not bad at all, right?Morton always says: “In politics, nothing moves unless pushed.”Friedman pushed. Now LI keeps pushing.>
Making Your Down Time Count
Ben Woodward
March 20, 2017
Making Your Down Time Count
When you begin your professional career, you'll start to notice a pattern developing.Work will begin to encroach on every part of your life.However, if your job is your first, second, and third priority, there's good news, you can still enjoy your downtime and focus on your career by choosing hobbies which advance your skills.For example, nobody likes that one colleague who can only talk about politics. Something as simple as being able to talk about sports, traveling, or cooking during an interview can mean the difference between you getting the job or not. So here are four ways you can enjoy your downtime and advance your career.Physical fitness – Being physically healthy is not the easiest thing in D.C. Especially if you work at Leadership Institute (LI) with a Cheesecake Factory around the corner! But when you're sitting at a desk for 8-10 hours a day, you need to focus on your physical well-being.Exercise increases blood flow to the brain which makes you more mentally alert. You will also have more energy, allowing you to wake up earlier and work longer. Finally, it's a well-known fact that exercise reduces stress. Education – This can cover all manner of possibilities, from reading a book to visiting museums or studying a course. Something as simple as switching off Netflix and picking up a good book will improve your writing ability and your creative thinking. Also improving your education will make you better able to match your colleagues intellectually in conversation.Taking new courses in language, business, etc. may be tough, but having that diversity of skill will make you more promotable and allow you to explore new career opportunities.Creativity – Think about ways you can become more creative. Challenge yourself! Perhaps it could be through learning a musical instrument or learning to paint and to draw. This would dramatically improve your ability to be creative at work and expand your horizons.Joining an acting club would be a chance to make new friends and improve your confidence speaking in front of others.Volunteering – Be the person in the office who cares about his community, who holds fundraisers or requests sponsorships for the next half marathon (although not too often). People are far more inclined to help you if they know that you're the type of person who helps others. This hobby could also be a great way for you to organize office events, in which people come together outside of work, and you can get to know your colleagues better.There are plenty more examples of how you can use your spare time productively to enjoy yourself while contributing to your career. So if work is your highest priority, that doesn't have to prevent you from having hobbies and interests.Invest in yourself! The Leadership Institute offers more than 47 types of training programs, working with more than 1,873 conservative student groups, and helping employers connect with conservative job seekers. Since the Institute's 1979 founding, LI has trained more than 182,327 conservative activists, students, and leaders. Graduates include members of Congress, state legislators, local officials, media personalities, and conservative organization leaders. >
Six Reasons You Should Work for a Non-Profit
Ben Woodward and Mauricio Bento
March 6, 2017
Six Reasons You Should Work for a Non-Profit
To conservatives, the non-profit sector is an increasingly attractive career path -- and it's not surprising!It is an exciting time to be involved, the job opportunities are vast, and conservatism is making an increasing impact in America.I offer you 6 reasons why you should work in the non-profit sector.1. Jobs which produce tangible results are the most satisfying.My co-workers and I see tangible results of our work every day. The individuals who come to the Leadership Institute for training in professional skills get jobs. People who come to LI for campaign training get elected. People who LI trained in television techniques represent our movement on national television. Working for a non-profit means you get to see the effects of your hard work.2. The conservative non-profit sector is a small community.For those who are ambitious and talented networkers it's easy to move around. Within the DC non-profit sector, those in the conservative movement speak at each other's events, co-sponsor projects and hire each other's staff. Most recently, the Leadership Institute, The Heritage Foundation, and others played a significant role in staffing the administration. The ripple effect means they are vacating jobs in the non-profit sector, for which you can apply.Also, small teams make the best of friends. D.C. can be a daunting place. Those who move here to pursue career ambitions often leave families and friends behind. In the non-profit sector, because there are often such close ties between staff inside and outside of your organization, it is easy to make friends and become part of a community. 3. Are you creative? The non-profit sector is the place to experiment with new ways of doing things. If you're a forward thinker, if you want to pitch a new idea or project, or perform more efficiently, the non-profit sector is the place to do it. Remember, non-profits are accountable to donors, so it's not just the private sector that innovates. Non-profits, like the Leadership Institute, are consistently innovating to ensure we are leading the movement forward.4. You're not just a small cog in a giant machine. To ensure value for every donor's money, new staff are hired to fill critical roles. As a result, you are an important and valuable member of the team from day one. If you're a person who enjoys responsibility, and you want to push yourself to achieve in your day-to-day work, then work at a non-profit and push yourself.5. There's diversity of opportunity. Non-profits like the Leadership Institute offer a multitude of possibilities. Staff are transferred between departments so their talents are utilized effectively. Therefore, whether your talents are in research, fundraising, events, or public speaking, you have the opportunity to involve yourself in many responsibilities.Also, the non-profit sector in the conservative movement is thriving right now. Just look on ConservativeJobs.com. You'll see the numerous positions available to you. Whether you're looking for an internship or an executive level position, there are hundreds of opportunities waiting for you in a multitude of departments.6. Last, but not least – you're fighting for a cause bigger than yourself. To those in the conservative movement, seeing the enactment of conservative principles into the public policy realm is not just a news story, it is something to which they have actively contributed. Those policies then go on to benefit Americans and the world over. It's a crucial mission, and it's a privilege to be able to play a role in it.So if you're about to graduate, want to challenge yourself, change careers, or whatever your situation, consider working for a non-profit. Are you up to the challenge? If yes, then get started with Leadership Institute training today.>
Delving into the Mind of the Interviewer: What Are They Asking You?
Ben Woodward
January 30, 2017
Delving into the Mind of the Interviewer: What Are They Asking You?
Has an interviewer ever asked you a question that completely threw you off your game? Don't worry; it happens to the best of us. No matter how well we prepare -- we cannot anticipate every question. And to make it harder… weird interview questions are becoming fashionable! I've heard that Google and Facebook like to ask what kind of superpowers you'd like, others may ask your favorite color, or what kind of tree would you be?As if interviews weren't hard enough!As part of my role at the Leadership Institute, I help conservatives prepare for interviews. In the context of this, I ask standard competency and some strange interview questions with two goals: determining how they answer and whether they can decipher why I have asked the question.One of my favorites is: “If I gave you a million dollars, how would you spend it?” If I had a million dollars, between you and me, I'd hire Gordon Ramsay to come to my house and give me private cooking lessons! Joking aside, I want to use this blog to help you read the interviewer's mind. By this I don't mean telepathy -- I mean delving into the motive behind the questions to understand what the interviewer is truly asking you. Introductory Questions:These are questions you should have rehearsed answers to. The key is to know what quality the interviewer is asking you to show them.For example: What is your greatest weakness? Nobody is perfect, so clearly you have a weakness, mine is written communication and an excessive coffee addiction! What the employer is looking for is recognition of where you have to improve and also what action you are taking. Admitting a weakness isn't a bad thing. Just remember what the employer is looking for. On this occasion, they're interested to see whether you practice self-improvement.Other introductory questions may include: describe your work style, or your motivations. How do you measure success? Etc.Questions About the Organization:This is where your prior research is essential. It is unlikely that the interviewer will try to trip you up here. You're not expected to know how many members they had in 1982; it's not trivia! But there is no excuse for failing to do basic preparation. You should be aware of the mission, the core breakdown of the organization, recent news stories, and the management. What does the interviewer want from you? Evidence that you care about the organization, that you applied to them for a reason, and that you are committed to their goals.For example: Why do you want to work for this organization over others? This is a multilayered question, but the basic premise here is to find out whether you're passionate about them. Do you know about their work? And perhaps any further involvement they have in their community or charities? Are you aware of their competitors and challenges they're facing?Basic research preparation is key. Other questions may include: what's your favorite thing about working in this industry? What challenges are you looking for in this position? Etc.Situational Questions: I'll be honest here… these questions are hard. Sometimes they can be unpredictable, and the answers you prepared can suddenly become irrelevant. I was once asked to describe an occasion when I had come up with a creative solution to a problem. I could demonstrate my problem-solving skills, but what qualified as a ‘creative solution?' The key here is to stop, think, and offer an example of how you demonstrated that skill, what you did well, what you would do differently, and what the result was.When asked to describe an example, don't be afraid to say: “that's a good question, may I take a moment to think about it?” It is better to take the time to think than to rush into an answer.An example of this is: When have you taken the initiative and what was the result? Stop to think about the job; what skills are they looking for? Then think about the best example and answer the question including what you did, how people reacted, what you achieved, and what you would do differently.Other examples may include: Tell me about a time you led a team; or tell me about a time you disagreed with a manager.Weird and Wonderful Questions:These are very unpredictable, and as such, there is not much you can do to prepare for them. Just remember to show your personality, don't be afraid to tell a light hearted joke or demonstrate your ability to work well with others.An example may include: What do you like to do in your free time? On a question like this, you're being asked whether you have any passions or interests beyond work that make you attractive. Remember many organizations have clubs. If people are going to work with you day-in-day-out, they have to have reassurance that you're interesting! So talk about sports or talk about your friends.Other questions may include: If you could have one wish? If you could have a super power?.Management Questions:These questions aren't just for people looking for management jobs. They are an assessment of what you look for in a leader and, therefore, your ability to work with your supervisor. They can also be an evaluation of whether you have the potential to be a leader, remember organizations like to hire people who have long-term potential, especially if they're committing time and money to training you.Think about what a real leader demonstrates: delegation, strong communication, and an ability to encourage and motivate, then reflect on how you have shown these qualities and on examples of when your previous managers have shown them.For example, did you like your last supervisor? Unless the circumstances were truly exceptional you should always say yes; remember the D.C. community is a small world and word travels fast. Say what you liked about their leadership style, what you learned from them, and what you wanted more from them. Remember they are looking to see whether you will work well under their direction; you want to come across as somebody who can take instruction but also add to the team.Conclusive Questions:This is the most common mistake in any interview, yet it's so simple!There is only one conclusive question, and that is: Do you have any questions for me? Yes, you do!!This question is an interview question! And yet so many people don't answer. The interviewer wants to know if you've thought about the job, the company, and whether you're curious to know more. If you don't ask questions -- you don't care.Have five pre-set interview questions on hand with the expectation that a couple of them will be answered in the course of the interview. Then you should aim to ask two or three of them. They should be about the organization and its ethos, management, people, etc. Here are five questions I recommend:What are the biggest problems facing this department, and how do we solve them?Who are the people I will be working closest with, their names, and job titles?How do you measure success? Ask about activities outside the workplace e.g. social life, charity work.Do you have any further doubts about my ability to do this job that you would like me to address? (My personal favorite. Either the recruiter admits you're perfect for the job or you get the opportunity to address any underlying concerns still prevailing.)Finally, if you would like a list of questions you should consider please look at the Leadership Institute's Jobseeker Guide. We are here to assist you with your career goals so if you have an upcoming interview which you are nervous about, please get in touch with your questions. >
Preparing for Your Interview:  Failing to prepare is preparing to fail
Ben Woodward
January 16, 2017
Preparing for Your Interview: Failing to prepare is preparing to fail
Even the most confident people are nervous at interviews. Who wouldn't be? A lot is riding on a 30-minute conversation where your personality and career successes are scrutinized. I bet you can remember your worst interview; I do!I had researched thoroughly. And as always, I showed up 15 minutes early to scan through my notes one last time in the busy public lobby.Eventually, my name was called, and I took the endless walk down the oak paneled corridor to the interviewer's office. I sat down in the overheated room and faced my interviewer.It was tough! The questions were in-depth, and my interviewer was giving nothing away in his reactions. As the interview progressed, I was becoming more and more in need of water. My nerves and the heated room caused my throat to dry up, and I could barely speak. Too keen to impress, I did not dare ask for a drink, and I had not brought one with me.Approximately 20 minutes in, I could not speak at all, except in a suffocated whisper. The interviewer, now concerned for my wellbeing, got up from his desk and left the room in search of water. By the time he returned 10 minutes had passed, by which time he had no doubt forgotten anything he had liked about me.I didn't get the job. I was unprepared.I learned failing to prepare is preparing to fail!We can be our worst enemies in an interview. Sometimes we don't have to be tripped up by a difficult question because we are already rooting against ourselves. So here are some important ways you can prepare for your interview:Analyze the job description: This is obvious but crucial. Before you can determine what you want to put across in your interview, you need to know the details of the job in question. This means knowing the day-to-day responsibilities, the travel required, and who your supervisor will be. It also means you know the skills the interviewer will expect to see and even anticipate some of the questions.Learn about the organization and the department: Go to the organization's website and determine its mission statement and its current projects. You will almost certainly be asked about those. Also, review their social media, recent stories in the news, and their annual report. Ask yourself what you can offer them and how you have demonstrated a commitment to their values in the past. Be prepared to explain why you want to work for them over similar organizations.Basic competency questions: Consider the core skills required for the job and how you have demonstrated them in the past. The Leadership Institute's Job Seeker's Guide (pages 17 & 18) contains a list of competency questions you should be able to answer.Plan your outfit: Have your outfit picked out the night before. If you're indecisive about what looks good, this will give you time to work it out. Just don't change your mind in the morning! I recommend wearing business clothes you have worn before. Materials: Do not leave this until the last minute. Otherwise, you risk forgetting important documents. Take three copies of your resume printed on professional paper, two lists of references, letters of recommendation, writing samples, and take a notepad to jot down relevant information and anything you promise to send the interviewer as a follow-up.Logistics: Plan ahead when it comes to your interview. How are you getting there? How long will it take? What potential pitfalls could delay you? I recommend checking traffic reports and weather. If it's going to be hot for example, you don't want to sweat because you have walked a long distance. You may even want to allow time to change your clothes. Other: Think of anything else you may need, for example, something to eat or drink, or any medication. Interviews are stressful, but with preparation, you have every right to feel confident! If the employer has asked to interview you, it's because she or he thinks you are qualified to do the job; so don't sabotage yourself by failing to do basic preparation.For more great interview advice, check out LI's Job Seeker's Guide.>
Why Your Campaign Skills Make You an Asset
Ben Woodward
December 5, 2016
Why Your Campaign Skills Make You an Asset
The campaign is over. It's been a tough few months, and now you have a moment to breathe. I hope you have taken time to enjoy your victories -- or for those not as lucky, commiserate your defeats. But it is important to remember that life moves on and the time to think about your next career move is now. Whether you are looking for a job in the administration, think tanks, non-profits, or on the Hill, seize the moment. The current opportunities in the conservative movement are boundless. Following the election, hundreds of vacancies are opening up as people change jobs. If you're coming off a campaign, you may have gained skills which will make you an asset. The following skills you have learned could carry you to your dream job:Fundraising: During the campaign, you learned how to sell your candidate. You learned what to say in order to convince donors to help keep the campaign afloat. You probably accumulated these donors into a network you could rely on. To do this you may have planned events, written direct communications, created social media campaigns, and more. A development role in most movement organizations will require these skills. They will need you to be able to sell what they offer and convince donors why giving to their organizations will advance the movement and produce tangible results. Event Management: One of the toughest elements of a campaign is event management. This is your opportunity to reward your donors and volunteers, raise publicity, and raise money. You have booked venues and entertainment, managed a budget, and procured caterers. To do this you may have had a small team to run, you had to keep an eye on the details, and your organizational skills were pushed to the limit.Use these skills to your advantage. All organizations run events of some kind, and there is a high demand for competent event staff.Using Digital: Marketing in the private sector, organizations are constantly seeking new ways to sell their brands and identify new customers. The competition to remain at the forefront of digital marketing is intense. Campaigns are no different. During the campaign you used social media initiatives to target supporters and boost posts; you may have used Facebook Live for example. You may have used Photoshop software, mass emails, and explored your creative gifts.For conservative organizations to compete with the left, they have to hire talented, creative, and tech savvy candidates. That's where you come in.Planning: To fail to plan is to plan to fail. Working on a campaign means you planned how to use time, people, and money effectively. Planning ahead means you anticipate mistakes, you research, and most importantly you manage a budget accordingly.These skills are universally valued, and they will aid you in all aspects of your life.Communications & Marketing: Campaigns are a fierce battle between rivals who are not just selling themselves but discrediting their opponents. Learning to deliver your message effectively so that people identify your candidate with the right policies is essential. Learning how to handle negative information is also a requirement. You have to know when to discredit attacks, when to apologize for them, and when to ignore them. Learning to identify the target market of an organization, deliver your message, and manage negative information will make you an asset in the job market.Managing people: Management is tough; you have to be a leader, be able to give clear direction, and know your staff well enough to identify their strengths and weaknesses. A campaign is a team effort; and without a motivated army of committed activists, it will fail.Organizations in and out of the movement are no different. Success depends upon good leaders who get the best out of their teams. Personnel is Policy.GOTV: Getting out the vote is not so different from persuading clients and supporters of organizations to invest, purchase, donate, and volunteer. During the campaign, if you knew there were individuals who were likely to vote for your candidate, it was your job to make sure they voted.Many conservative organizations require those skills to motivate people to attend their events, sign up for correspondence, and actively participate in their campaigns.Remember, if you have worked on a campaign, you are a uniquely skilled individual! Some or all of these skills, and no doubt many more, will apply to you. Use them, be proud of them, and most importantly, use them to get a job!Ben Woodward works with the Leadership Institute's ConservativeJobs.com. He provides jobseekers with career advice and helps them find jobs in the conservative movement. >
Elections Have Consequences -- On Your Career
Ben Woodward
November 8, 2016
Elections Have Consequences -- On Your Career
The Leadership Institute trains thousands of conservatives each year; many currently have jobs in campaigns and other areas of the public policy process. These energetic, ambitious individuals are committed to learning how to win and to spreading conservative ideas. For some, however, particularly our younger graduates, there is only one concern at the front of their minds – their careers.Today's elections are sure to have a significant impact on the conservative job market, regardless of the outcome. If individuals are seeking employment within the movement, if they work in the movement, and especially if they currently work on a campaign, they should be planning for all possible circumstances. Elections have consequences.In careers, the most important Law of the Public Policy Process we live by is number 26: “Personnel is Policy.” An employer who wants to advance conservatism can achieve more by hiring qualified people who share those principles. On the other hand, a conservative job seeker can promote conservatism, even if the employer is not to the right, simply by moving the conversation away from the middle.If the new administration is friendly to conservative principles, then countless opportunities may arise; however, in the event that those in power do not sympathize with conservatives, job seekers should not be afraid to broaden their horizons.Politics is a bumpy road, and individuals may have to find a new career path at any time. It is important, therefore, to keep an open mind about careers. Conservatives should not be afraid to work outside the public policy process. For example, a sound conservative may be able to influence a company or non-profit simply by moving it to the right from within.For those currently involved in a campaign, they will learn a broad variety of skills that are applicable to multiple career paths. Learning to communicate messages effectively, networking, and organizing events are all skills which will prepare them for other careers.Too many people believe that simply being conservative and philosophically sound will guarantee their success. It is not enough, however, to simply have the right ideas. If conservatives want to succeed in the movement and broaden the influence of conservatism in the public policy process, then they must prepare for any eventuality.If you are seeking employment in the conservative movement, or you are looking to progress in your current position, attend the Leadership Institute's Conservative Career Workshop on November 15 & 16 by following the link here.>
The Leadership Institute Welcomes Fall Class of Interns
Andrew Sund
October 17, 2016
The Leadership Institute Welcomes Fall Class of Interns
Every fall, interns from all across the world descend on Washington, D.C. all looking to become the next generation of movers and shakers in the conservative movement. Many interns quickly realize the only moving and shaking they will be doing is from the office to the break room where they'll shake the perfect amount of sugar into the boss's coffee.While members of the Leadership Institute's 99th intern class may be seen in the break room grabbing a cup of coffee, it's because they need all the energy they can get as they enter the battlefield and fight for conservative principles.Dorcas Buzigire is an intern in the office of International Programs. She hails from the Democratic Republic of the Congo where she practiced law before coming to the United States. While attending a diplomatic mission function in Dallas, Dorcas met the former governor of a Congolese province who had ties with the Leadership Institute. In their discussion, the governor invited Dorcas to a Leadership Institute Wednesday Wake-Up Club Breakfast. While touring the Leadership Institute after the breakfast Dorcas said, "I had the feeling that I was home. I came back to LI to take the Youth Leadership School, applied for the internship, and got accepted." Dorcas will be assisting with trainings and recruitment for the office of International Programs and Grassroots Trainings, but for Dorcas, this internship means more. "I hope to apply the skills that I'm learning here to the political system in my home country and empower other young people, especially women, from my country to get involved in politics. I'm very thankful for the opportunity of expanding my network and learning American public policy."This internship differs from others in the D.C. area by developing successful young conservatives in three areas – marketplace skills, training, and career development mentoring.LI interns join a department where they work alongside Leadership Institute employees on real projects building skills they can then show to future employers. Interns are encouraged to take as many trainings as they would like and learn new skills to expand their resources. They also receive career development mentoring to help interns grow their networks and market themselves in a competitive workforce.The goal is that when LI interns finish the program, they are ready to join the workforce.Tyler Arnold is using his time at Campus Reform for just that.“Writing for the Leadership Institute's Campus Reform is giving me key experience in news reporting. Not only do I get to experience writing, but I also get to work with editors and reporters with professional experience who can help me develop my skills and build a good network to help me find a journalism job in the D.C. area.”While many of our interns are charging ahead on their career path, others are using this opportunity to explore what they want to do. Ashley Behm decided to intern at the Leadership Institute after completing her education in theatre: "I wanted to explore all the ways I could use the skills that the Lord has given to me as well as the skills I have learned along the way."Ashley works in the Events Department where she is responsible for behind the scenes preparations for all of LI's trainings and social events. While consuming from the "political buffet" of trainings she is also excited to "discover what God has placed me on this earth to do; an occupation that will bring Him glory!"Hannah Weeks, the Campus Leadership Program intern, had this to say about living at the Sacher House: "How many 20-somethings do you know sit up all hours of the night discussing foreign policy, politics, and culture? I know exactly nine others. I am having the experience of a lifetime because my internship extends outside of the traditional 9:00 to 5:00 format. I am constantly learning and networking and making some of the best friends I have ever had by having the privilege of living at the Sacher Intern House."Throughout the internship, the interns will host guest speakers, discuss conservative writings, and visit members of Congress. Most of the interns live together at the Sacher House located a short walk from the Steven P.J. Wood Building. Living in this house gives interns the opportunity to bond and to learn from each other.As my fall internship progresses, I encourage you to follow my intern class's journey by following the Leadership Institute's Facebook and Twitter, and the hashtag #LIinterns. You can also use this hashtag to share advice, to share spots to check out in the D.C. area, or just follow along for a good laugh every once in a while.If you are interested in applying for the LI Internship Program you can sign up now and be part of the best internship program in the D.C. area.>
Digital Communications Workshop Fills F.M. Kirby Training Center
Jami Averwater
September 6, 2016
Digital Communications Workshop Fills F.M. Kirby Training Center
Eight seconds. That's all. Either my email grabs the reader's attention, or I've lost them.Without a doubt, one of the best perks of being a Leadership Institute intern is the convenience of high-demand classes like “Digital Communications Workshop: Email Marketing.” In one full day, I learned from presentations filled with information on email communication by top strategists in the field.When done properly, email marketing has the potential to have forty times more return on investment than that of the major social media outlets, one speaker told us. If that announcement alone wasn't enough to convince me to pay close attention to the lectures which followed, the biographies of the speakers would do the job. Aidan Quinlan-Walsh, a Client Strategist for Engage, spoke on the topic of email acquisition. He taught us how toevaluate an offer to rent or purchase an email list;practice for acquisition campaigns; andmeasure the effectiveness of gathered analytics.His main goal of the presentation? Ultimately, he showed us how to take advantage of the platforms available to us in order to reach people successfully.Carolyn Kincaid, a copywriter, taught us how to cultivate subscribers using effective content. To do this, she recommends ditching the traditional “newsletter style” email blasts and capitalizing on the excitement of the person on the receiving end of the email.My fellow workshop attendees packing the classroom included non-profit employees from Washington, D.C. and the surrounding areas, college students from multiple regions of the U.S., and many Leadership Institute staff. As always, the list of lecturers at this workshop impressed me. Together, the speakers brought perspective, energy, and a combined experience of over six decades. I left the workshop that day feeling like I could tackle the world of digital communications, and I found myself using many of the tools I learned during the weeks of my summer internship. Jami Averwater was a summer intern in the External Affairs Department for the Leadership Institute. Find more digital workshops you can attend by visiting the Leadership Institute's Digital training page. The Leadership Institute offers over 47 types of training programs, working with more than 1,619 conservative student groups, and helping employers connect with conservative job seekers. Since the Institute's 1979 founding, LI has trained more than 175,000 conservative activists, students, and leaders. Graduates include members of Congress, state legislators, local officials, media personalities, and conservative organization leaders. For more information, please visit www.LeadershipInstitute.org. >
Technology team works daily to keep programs running
Parker Johnson
August 18, 2016
Technology team works daily to keep programs running
In the digital age, information and mission-critical communications move fast. In the non-profit world, organizations like the Leadership Institute have gone almost entirely digital in our pivot to the information age and in doing so have greatly increased our ability to communicate with students, graduates, and donors across the nation.However, all of this decreased overhead and quick communication says little about the most integral part of a digital organization's vital asset: effective internal technical support.This past summer, I had the opportunity to intern with the Leadership Institute in the technology department. My biggest objective when coming to the Leadership Institute was to learn if my schooling thus far had prepared me professionally to work in a full-time position. Thanks to the incredibly welcoming and fun work environment, I now know for certain that I am ready to step into the career world when I graduate in May of 2017. During my internship, I was able to work on a variety of projects and touched on almost every facet our tech support team's responsibilities. The solid base education that I've garnered here has prepared me to step into a development role in the technology department at the Leadership Institute.As a member of the tech support team, I was also responsible for troubleshooting problems around the office. This allowed me to get out of the tech suite and introduce myself to the many talented and enthusiastic people working at the Leadership Institute. By helping with varied technological problems, I felt like a valued and useful member of the team.I am very grateful for the opportunity to work with the Leadership Institute this past summer. Not only has it further convinced me that the conservative movement is alive and well, but it has shown me that there are many opportunities to advance professionally with like-minded people. As a team, the technology and other departments can continue to work together for the advancement of our mission. Parker Johnson is a summer intern in the Techonology Department at the Leadership Institute. The Leadership Institute offers over 47 types of training programs, working with more than 1,619 conservative student groups, and helping employers connect with conservative job seekers. Since the Institute's 1979 founding, LI has trained more than 175,000 conservative activists, students, and leaders. Graduates include members of Congress, state legislators, local officials, media personalities, and conservative organization leaders. For more information, please visit www.LeadershipInstitute.org.>
Leading Without Authority
Patricia Simpson
July 26, 2016
Leading Without Authority
Most of us don't run an organization or company, we aren't calling the shots, and we certainly aren't signing the checks. But that doesn't mean we can't be leaders in our current positions. Here are some helpful tips to put you in a position to influence your peers, and even your supervisors.1. See yourself as a leader. If you don't have confidence in yourself or your abilities, you can't assume anyone else will. Whatever task you are assigned, become an expert in it. Confidence often comes when you feel knowledgeable, and when you're confident you command respect.2. Having a network means you're connected. A good manager appreciates when their subordinates have contacts that can help a project be successful. If you know someone at another organization or company who would provide a positive impact on the project you're working on, speak up and let your supervisor know. There's a good chance they'll listen.3. Don't present problems. Present solutions. If you find yourself hitting roadblocks when working on a project, figure out the best way to work around it. When you let your supervisor know about the problem, you should already have a solution. It shows responsibility, creativity, and innovation – and puts your ideas and actions in the driver's seat.4. Act like you've been there before. There is always going to be a scenario in which you've never found yourself before. If you take charge and tackle the problem head on without hesitation, individuals are much more likely to listen to you because you are the automatic “expert.”5. It's a game of pushing and pulling. Figure out how other people communicate. Some are influenced by being pulled into a situation through leading and involving while others are pushed through inquiring and proposing. Once you identify how an individual is influenced, you can adapt your approach to any individual to make them more likely to listen and follow you. Use these five tips to drive results wherever it is you're currently working. Peers will follow your lead and supervisors will notice the example you're setting for others. If you're driven and learn to read others, you don't need a title to be a true leader.Patricia Simpson is the Director of Career Programs at the Leadership Institute. In addition to overseeing the Division's trainings, like the Conservative Career Workshop, she manages all aspects of ConservativeJobs.com -- the Institute's free job placement service. >
Leadership Institute graduate uses training to play active role in the Republican National Convention
Jami Averwater
July 19, 2016
Leadership Institute graduate uses training to play active role in the Republican National Convention
Joy Lee is a graduate of the Leadership Institute. She served as an attorney at the Committee on Arrangements for the 2016 Republican National Convention. Joy was born in Seoul, South Korea, and raised in Los Angeles, CA and Baltimore County, MD. Joy is a proud graduate of University of Maryland and Washington and Lee University School of Law.Read her interview about her experiences at the Leadership Institute and the Republican National Convention. 1. How did being a Leadership Institute (LI) graduate prepare you to work for the Legal Division at the Committee on Arrangements for the 2016 Republican National Convention (“COA”)? I attended the Leadership Institute's Women's Leadership Training in March 2014 in Arlington, Virginia with dozens of other women from around the country. Though this training did not prepare me for the legal and substantive parts of my role today, it provided me with a general framework as I started my career. Politics and the field of law are often considered to be male-dominated fields, so it's especially important for young women to learn how to present themselves as leaders wherever their careers take them.I was fortunate to be surrounded by and learn from some of the best legal, political, and logistics operatives in our party—many of whom are women. 2. How many months in advance does the COA begin to plan the Convention? I moved to Cleveland from Washington, DC for this position in late February/early March 2016, just under five months before the start of the Convention. At that point, the COA was already staffed to approximately fifty people, most of whom moved to Cleveland from various parts of the country.The first staff member of the COA was hired more than a year in advance of the Convention. At its peak, the COA had approximately 120 staffers, dozens of independent contractors and interns, and hundreds of volunteers. 3. Why was Cleveland chosen as the location for the 2016 Republican National Convention for the third time in history? The last time the Republican National Convention came to Cleveland was June 1936. Since then, the city of Cleveland has had its share of losses—economical and sports-related—but in recent years, Cleveland has experienced a resurgence. To showcase that on a national and even international level, the city of Cleveland submitted a bid to host not only the Republican National Convention but also the Democratic National Convention for three cycles in a row. When I asked a member of the Site Selection Committee why they chose Cleveland, he answered, “We felt special there.” Now that I've been in Cleveland for a few months, I can relate to that sentiment. The city of Cleveland has welcomed us with open arms, and it's evident how much this Convention means to the people of Cleveland. Especially in light of its recent NBA Championship—its first sports championship since 1964 and effectively earning its reputation as being a cursed sports city until now—there is a distinct buzz around town. It's exciting to be a part of history, not just for the party, but also for the city of Cleveland. >
Leadership Institute welcomes summer 2016 intern class
Jami Averwater
June 16, 2016
Leadership Institute welcomes summer 2016 intern class
The Leadership Institute recently welcomed the 98th intern class to Arlington, Virginia and I am personally very excited to be one of them. My intern class exhibits diversity in age, level of education, college major, and career aspirations, but we all share one important goal in common: we want to strengthen the conservative movement. Since our arrival, we have had the opportunity to get acclimated to the office and to the area by attending the annual staff retreat and participating in a competitive scavenger hunt through the city. During our time here at Leadership Institute, we will host conservative leaders for weekly private dinners, visit Members of Congress on Capitol Hill, and complete projects of high responsibility for our respective departments. There are thirteen of us interns for the summer semester, many of whom are residing in the Sacher House. The opportunity to reside in the house allows a convenient, safe place for us to stay during our time with the Leadership Institute and has proven to never allow for a dull moment.Kelsey Mix (Fairfax, Virginia) is an intern in the Career Services department and spent her first few weeks planning and promoting an upcoming workshop titled "Conservative Intern Workshop". A recent graduate from William & Mary, she hopes to use what she learns during the internship to land a job on the Hill. Kelsey says she enjoys living in the Sacher House and bonding with the other interns because they “are all passionate and involved in their communities and in the movement”.Elijah Montes, a sophomore in his home state of Louisiana, is interning for LI Studios. His most critical duties are to maintain, manage, and operate the equipment used to film the LI Webinars, maintain the headshots for the staff and interns, and assist in the daily operations of the studio crew.Ben Becker (Osseo, Wisconsin) recently completed his freshman year at Bob Jones University as a Business Administration major. Ben is excited to be working with David Blair in the Youth Leadership School program. His duties entail recruiting for the schools and ensuring that the days leading up to it go smoothly as possible. Ben says he enjoys living in the Sacher House with the other interns because he is expanding his network and learning more about the conservative movement from his new housemates. He is also excited to enjoy the benefits of convenient Leadership Institute trainings, such as the Intro to Campaign Data workshop.As a group of new friends, we spent Memorial Day weekend visiting Arlington Cemetery and preparing a delicious meal together. We also recently hosted our first speaker for dinner at the Sacher House and met with key leaders on the Hill to spread the word about the resources available at the Leadership Institute.As one of these passionate thirteen interns, I look forward to growing my network with this group. >
Potential for Excellence
Elizabeth McCullough
June 13, 2016
Potential for Excellence
I recently stepped away from my desk and slipped downstairs into the LI Conservative Intern Workshop. Because who can resist the lure of free Chick-fil-a? Not I. Neither could 42 interns from various conservative organizations. Sessions started promptly, beginning with Patricia Simpson, LI Director of Career Services."Every single one of you have the potential for excellence." She paused.“You must think of yourself as a leader.” I haven't been an intern for 10 years, but I felt myself challenged to re-evaluate myself and my goals. “I wake up every morning and say to myself, ‘Let's be awesome today.”Meanwhile, out in the hall, Aynsley Harrison, Career Programs Manager, bled red ink over intern resumes. When she taught the incredibly practical Resume Workshop, I mentally tore up my previously loved resume.Later, a cheerfully honest session on ‘Personal Branding' brought to light the importance of intentional communication, “Make sure people remember you for the right reasons.”All LI trainings are free to every intern. Even if you're not an intern, discounts are often available. Do you strive for excellence? Are you prepared for leadership? Join us at one of the LI upcoming trainings for more ways to ‘be awesome' today. The next Conservative Intern Workshop is coming up next week. Chick-fil-a might even be on the menu. >
Making Part Time Jobs Work for You
Patricia Simpson
June 1, 2016
Making Part Time Jobs Work for You
If you're like me, you have what my father jokingly refers to as, “champagne taste on a beer budget.” When I got to DC, my paltry entry-level staffer salary was not enough to sustain my lifestyle (which included “glamorous” things like paying rent and eating Lean Cuisines), so I did what any self-respecting 20-something had to do in that situation - I asked my parents for money! When they said no I did the next best thing – I got myself a part time job.Part time jobs in DC usually fit into one of three main categories – they pay well, they help your career along, or they're something that keeps you sane. Here are some tips on places to look for those jobs and the advantages of each one.They pay well – If you want a part time job that pays well, you're likely going to have to possess a highly technical skill or be willing to do some heavy lifting. There are plenty of folks who know how to do something, and most-likely do it well, but don't want to do it as a career. The benefit here is you can spend less time supplementing your income.Graphic DesignHTML codingMoving CompaniesThey help your career – Are you biding time at a non-profit and trying to figure out how to break into a Hill job? Go get a job as a bartender or wait staff at Cap Lounge or Bullfeathers. Do you want to get a job in the conservative or liberty movement? Go snag a job at O'Sullivans in Clarendon and request to work Tuesday nights. It is 100% possible to expand your network while getting paid and I highly recommend doing it. I know several people who got hired to a new position simply because they made a smart connection while working at a bar or being paid $20 to pass out stuffed mushrooms at a private fundraiser.Bars/restaurants frequented by industry employeesOrganizations and businesses needing extra help after hoursEvent staff for fundraisersPolitical call centersThey keep you sane – Sometimes making extra money should just be fun. I've worked at a store just to get an employee discount on merchandise and I've worked at a frozen custard shop because I wanted to meet nice people in a cool neighborhood. I have a friend who umpires Little League games. Stress-relieving jobs are like therapy sessions that pay you at the end.Your favorite retail store (DISCOUNTS!)Babysitting or dog-sittingUmpire/refereeAs fiscal conservatives we need to make sure we're practicing what we preach. The bottom line is if you need the extra cash, you can find a part time job that will benefit you. And if you don't need the money, sometimes a part time job can be a way to blow off steam, a way to meet new people, or your first step toward a new career.>
What I learned at the TV Workshop
Elizabeth McCullough
April 25, 2016
What I learned at the TV Workshop
I confess that I wasn't too sure what I was getting myself into when I found myself in the front row of the Leadership Institute's monthly On-Camera TV training.All I knew was that if I'd known I would be on camera, I would have worn more makeup. Trying not to panic over my impending doom, I learned more about a few of my fellow students.As a busy mom, Christine Olson didn't have time to spend a day in the Studio. But then again, with an important TV interview looming, she knew couldn't afford not come. Despite having no hesitation speaking to large groups, her brain always froze in front of a camera.Even though it was Spring Break, Tristan Justice stayed in town for one of the limited seats in the highly sought after on-camera TV Training. As a college freshman, Tristan dedicates his time to conservatism activism and wants to be prepared as possible.That morning, at 8:50 am, conservative lawyer Aaron checked his email and saw there was an opening in the previously full TV training. “I had 20 minutes to rent a car.” He immediately drove 4 hours from New York City to the Sacher Multimedia Center in Arlington, VA and walked in right on time.You could feel the nervous energy in the air as guest faculty Beverly Hallberg smiled cheerfully behind the desk, almost as if the dreaded camera and microphone were her friends.Beverly has been on all sides of the camera. Producer, director, and host are just a few of the shoes she's filled. Before starting her own business, Beverly was also the Director of the Sacher Multimedia Center. Now she returns to teach uneasy yet eager students how to distil their message for TV.Under Beverly's encouraging instruction and honest feedback, I found myself thawing and even excited about my next turn in front of the camera.Everything she said mattered -- no filler information.Together we learned to ‘block' and ‘bridge' our message. As we fought through our camera fears, comradery and friendship replaced the jitters. The whole class cheered the next one to go ‘live.'By the end of the day, Christine was not only smiling at the camera but also at the top of the class.Aaron didn't dread the drive back to New York, “I knew it would be worth it -- and I wasn't disappointed.”My only regret was that it was over. And that I hadn't worn more makeup.Good thing the Leadership Institute hosts On-Camera TV Training every month -- I'll be in the front row again soon.>
Online Advocacy and Activism as a Tool for Action
Paul Van Remortel
April 19, 2016
Online Advocacy and Activism as a Tool for Action
In the digital era, videos that are really popular "go viral." This is true of online petitions as well - they spread quickly across social networks and a viral petition takes on a life of its own.For activists, this is a Godsend. Petitions have historically relied on word of mouth and community bonds to gain traction (and signatures). Today, it's easier than ever to rally thousands of individuals who share a given point of view and will show their support through signatures and sharing alike, substantially multiplying the impact.Unfortunately, the Left has dominated the medium through sites like Change.org, which has gathered more than 100 million users in support of primarily liberal causes. That success has fueled a myth that the tactic of online petitioning is one that only “progressives” can or want to use. But conservatives are increasingly realizing the benefits — and necessity — of incorporating online tools into modern activism efforts.Fortunately, anyone can become an effective advocate for any of the issues they care about with just a few simple steps.First, identify a cause you are passionate about — it doesn't have to be a national issue like Common Core or the Second Amendment. Sometimes the most powerful, effective petitions address local issues that others in your community care about as well.At StandUnited, an online platform we created to level the playing field for supporters of individual liberty, free enterprise, and limited government, individuals have created petitions that have had diverse impacts, from successfully requesting that Congress repeal the Medical Device Tax, to saving a historic Confederate War memorial in Portsmouth, Va.The next step is to identify the decision makers that will be able to effectively address the issue at hand. This could mean your local city council or the president of the United States ­— the beauty of digital activism is that anyone is easily accessible with your message.After identifying the decision makers for your issue, create and share a thoughtful, articulate petition with friends, family, neighbors and like-minded individuals. Nothing has made activism easier and more effective than social media, which is why it's so crucial that you share your petition on your social media profile to make sure as many people as possible see it. You might even be surprised by who agrees with you.Make sure that your local media is aware of your petition, and update them on the progress of the petition and the importance of your cause. This can be the most daunting part of the process, especially if you are not familiar with media outreach. Fortunately, most local media are interested in the issues that impact their city or state, and media coverage of your petition is one of the most effective ways to get the attention of decision makers.A great opportunity to get media coverage is to deliver your petition in person to the decision maker. If there is a deadline such as a vote, a hearing, or an election, use this opportunity to press the decision maker on your issue and get publicity.Finally, don't give up on your issue. Activism isn't a process that works immediately — sometimes it takes weeks or months for a petition to gain steam. Keep working to spread awareness of your petition and the issues at hand, and you're likely to see your hard work pay off.Thanks to the rise of digital activism, that sentiment is truer than it's ever been. Never have individual voices had a louder megaphone, higher platform or more direct access to decision makers, and as a result the power of the petition is greater than it's ever been. You have the power to make your voice heard.This piece was adapted from a recent Column on Townhall.com.Paul Van Remortel is the senior product manager at Intermarkets, Inc., a privately held digital media firm founded in 1997. Paul will be leading the “Online Advocacy and Activism as a Tool for Action” webinar hosted by the Leadership Institute on April 27. For a free registration visit https://www.leadershipinstitute.org/live/?ID=31958>
What You Missed at CPAC 2016
Natalie Tuttle
April 4, 2016
What You Missed at CPAC 2016
Each year, the Conservative Political Action Conference is a gathering of conservative leaders looking to network, advance conservativism, and learn from some of the greatest minds in the movement.This year, speakers like Dr. Ben Carson and Carly Fiorina rallied conservatives together. Above the stage read “Our time is NOW,” taken from Ronald Reagan's CPAC speech in 1981.At the conference, Leadership Institute sponsored, staffed, and organized of 5 conference events, including the job fair and boot camp training sessions.1. Activist Boot CampOn day one, the Leadership Institute partnered with the American Conservative Union and with American Majority to train 383 conservatives. Attendees were trained in student activism, community activism, and campaign technology.The Leadership Institute's Steve Sutton, David Blair, and Summer Ratcliff were among the boot camp faculty. Speakers from American Majority, Americans for Prosperity, FIRE, the Blaze, and the Franklin Center also trained activists and conservative leaders.2. ConservativeJobs.com - Career ConsultationsAfter the official CPAC kickoff on Thursday, Leadership Institute's Conservative Jobs organized recruiters from LI and other conservative organizations to critique CPAC attendee's resumes and offer one-on-one career consultations. Recruiters from LI, Cato, The Heritage Foundation, the Charles Koch Institute, and Americans for Prosperity sat down with 133 conservatives.3. CPAC Jobs and Internship FairOnce again this year, the Leadership Institute organized the CPAC Job and Internship Fair. Over 250 job seekers connected with 40 conservative employers.Organizations who recruited at the fair included grassroots organizations, media groups, think tanks, and policy foundations. Groups like Turning Point USA and Americans for Prosperity recruited field representatives while organizations like Townhall Media, Red Alert Politics, and Campus Reform looked for writers to hire.4. Campus ReformIn the exhibit hall, referred to by conference attendees as “the Hub,” Leadership's Institute's Campus Reform held an on-camera contest for students. Entrants were asked questions about issues on “live” camera by LI staff and competed for cash prizes.More than 100 students participated in the competition over the course of three days. All participants are eligible to be selected as Campus Correspondents, which will increase the number of conservative students exposing liberal bias on college campuses around the country.5. Young Activists Happy HourDuring CPAC, young activists from around the country network with each other. Swapping stories, discussing recruitment strategies, and just socializing with like-minded individuals are just a few highlights of the CPAC experience.To encourage networking among young conservative leaders, the Leadership Institute and seven other organizations hosted a Young Activist Happy Hour. Almost 400 attendees packed the bar and formed a line to the end of the block to spend the evening networking. Recruiters and staff of organizations like Young Americans for Liberty, Future Female Leaders, and the Charles Koch Institute mingled with activists.At the Happy Hour, the Leadership Institute welcomed many new activists to the Campus Leadership Program network. Almost aEvery year, CPAC is a new experience. Conservatives from all over the country (and from around the world) come together for a week of idea sharing, activist training, and coalition building. This year was no exception. With hundreds of new conservatives plugged in, trained, and employed conservative principles have a stronger voice going into election season.The Leadership Institute offers over 47 types of training programs, working with more than 1,759 conservative student groups, and helping employers connect with conservative jobseekers. Since the Institute's 1979 founding, LI has trained more than 172,000 conservative activists, students, and leaders. Graduates include members of Congress, state legislators, local officials, media personalities, and conservative organization leaders. For more information, please visit: www.LeadershipInstitute.org. >
The Conservative Internship Search: Capitol Hill vs. Non-profits
Derek Faraldo
March 31, 2016
The Conservative Internship Search: Capitol Hill vs. Non-profits
As a recent graduate of Georgetown University, I was blessed to have four years in the city of limitless internships, Washington D.C. However, not all students are lucky enough to attend college in the nation's capital. Fortunately, many universities have semester-long exchange programs, externships, or summer opportunities. During my undergraduate years, I participated in two non-profit internships and three congressional internships. If you do not have a few years to shop around for an internship then my experiences may help you narrow your search.Capitol HillI believe that in order to fully appreciate your time in Washington D.C. every intern should spend at least 12 weeks interning for a congressional or senate office.A congressional or senate internship can be a great resume booster, teach you some professional skills, and help you network on the Hill. Most interns are given simple office tasks to complete. While the work usually isn't anything inspiring, the experience of living in D.C. makes up for the sometimes boring days in a government office.For most prospective interns, there are some practical limitations. For example, in the year and a half I spent working for three different offices I did not get paid.If I had not had school housing, I would have been out of luck. There are some programs to help students pay for the cost of living in D.C, but it is an expensive city for a student on a budget.Non-profitsNon-profit internships are great starting points for careers in public policy, digital media, journalism, and many other fields. Each non-profit is different in office culture and atmosphere, but they generally operate in similar manners.For students or recent graduates who require monetary compensation and would like an internship with a job title and specific duties, the non-profit world is often a better option. In the conservative non-profit world, there are many paid internships that provide unique benefits.Often, these organizations hire from their own intern pool, so there is added incentive to make connections and maximize your efforts. The office environments vary, but at least you don't have to go through security every day!Most non-profits allow and encourage interns to work on projects that have value and many organizations treat interns like a staff member.A potential intern should really consider the kind of experience they want and set goals, always keeping in mind their practical limitations.Reflecting on my experiences, I would encourage students or graduates who lean conservative to seriously consider non-profit internships. Don't' worry, even while working at a non-profit, if you really want to see the Capitol building, you can visit your congressmen's office on your lunch break! One of his or her interns will give you a tour.Derek Faraldo is the current Grassroots and International Programs intern at the Leadership Institute. He recently graduated from Georgetown and will be working with Teach for America in the fall. Learn more about the LI Intern Program here.>
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