Offices and Positions
Staff Assistant: This is a great place to get your foot in the door to a job on Capitol Hill. Because a lot of offices hire from within, staff assistant positions are the jobs most often available as those SAs get promoted up the ranks. This position entails sitting at the front desk and answering constituent phone calls, facilitating White House/Capitol tour requests, monitoring call traffic to the back office, greeting visitors. Offices generally prefer to hire people from the state/district as there is a high level of interaction with constituents.
Legislative Correspondent: A House office may or may not have Legislative Correspondents (LCs) and Senate offices will generally have anywhere from 3-5, depending on the amount of mail the Member gets. An LC is primarily responsible for research legislation and drafting letters back to constituents who write their Represenatative. LCs are generally responsible for a set of related issues. Depending on the office, LCs may also take constituent meetings, assist in the preparation of hearing materials, track legislation related to their issues, or else assist their Legislative Assistant in a variety of other ways. It is important to note that not all LC positions are equal - some LCs have graduate degrees and perform more substantive junior policy work, while others are recent college graduates.
Legislative Assistant: Like LCs, Legislative Assistants (LAs) perform a range of duties that varies between offices. Generally, LAs serve as the senior policy advisor to the Member regarding a specific issue area (note that LAs have more specialized knowledge of issues on the Senate side and in both chambers, frequently have graduate degrees and significant work experience). Duties include briefing the member on relavant legislation, seeking bill sponsorship opportunities, serving as liaison with other offices or committees, drafting legislative memos, meeting with constituent groups, and staffing the Member at events.
Legislative Director: The Legislative Director, or LD, oversees the entire Legislative shop in an office. LDs usually rise through the ranks, having served as an LA for a particular issue area, usually one the Member is very active on. The LD plans and implements legislative strategy while managing the LAs and LCs beneath him/her.
Scheduler/Executive Assistant: Depending on the size of this office, 1 or as many as 3 people may fill these administrative positions. These people have some of the most notoriously challenging positions on the hill, expected to work exceptionally well in high-pressure, high-paced environments. These staffers collect and process scheduling requests for the Member, compile materials for events, organize logistics, and interact with other administrative staff to keep the Member's day running smoothly.
Press Assistant/Press Secretary/Communications Director: The press shop in an office varies (like everything else) from office to office. A Senator from a big state with numerous media markets will have a much more robust press operation than a Representative from a rural area. Junior staffers in a press shop compile press clips (often requiring early morning arrival), set up logistics of media interviews and outreach, and provide general support to the communications team. The Press Secretary or Communications Director pitches stories to the media, facilitates media coverage for the Member, and oftentimes writes remarks in conjunction with the Legislative staff.
Chief of Staff/Deputy Chief of Staff: Chief of Staff oversees the entire office (including state/district staff) while operating the political end as well, coordinating with important VIPs and experts in specific policy areas to advance the Members' agenda. Deputy Chief of Staff usually is more involved in managing the day-to-day operations of the office, including the scheduling and press work.