Staff Assistant, Fairfax, VA
Located half an hour from Capitol Hill, George Mason University is the ideal place for anyone pursuing a career in politics. Being so close to Washington D.C. is a special advantage when it comes to political analysis; interns at GMU have the ability to attend major political events and create outstanding networks. Their Center for Politics and Foreign Relations is a relatively new branch of the university, established in 2014, but it’s the perfect place to feel the pulse in the heart of American politics.
What it’s actually like
As an intern, you’ll do everything from working political events to writing up articles for the Center. You’ll become a veritable jack-of-all-trades of political research, analysis and publication. “I worked at events, making sure everything went on time. Afterwards I moved into social coordinating, contacting attendees and following up with them. I also spent time writing articles,” said Devlin Murphy, a summer 2015 intern.
Cool stuff you get to do
You’ll get to attend all kinds of sweet political events. On top of that, you’ll interact with a bunch of politicians (current and former) and other politically-involved individuals. “I got to speak with retired General David Petraeus, Secretary of Commerce Penny Pritzker, Trade Representative Michael Froman, two former governors and many think tank heads,” Murphy said.
What you’ll learn
You’ll learn how to chat formally and casually with many current and former politicians. Your communication skills will also improve from all of the emailing, calling and personal meetings that will be required. If you’re lucky, you might even get to know a little something about web page design, too. “I got a lot more comfortable emailing people, seeing where they were at on a project, going forward creating events and following up with them,” Murphy said.
How to prepare for your application
Tailor your resume and cover letter to the politically-centric nature of the Center. Take a look at the Center’s webpage and see what topics they’re currently focused on, be it upcoming elections, major controversies or important foreign talks. “I looked at some of the past articles that had been done on the website. I showed my interest in the subject in my cover letter and highlighted certain relevant experiences I’d had to make myself look like a well-rounded candidate,” Murphy said.
Skills that impress them
Writing is huge; make sure you display your awesome writing skills in your cover letter and resume. Good communication skills are also a huge plus. Communicate clearly with the staff, whether it’s over the phone or email. Webpage design is another desired trait, albeit not required.
As previously mentioned, you’ll get to meet and mingle with influential politicians and their associates. Exposure is another bonus of this already impressive internship. Your name will be on the bylines of official articles for the center, so you’ll be getting your name out there early. Beyond that, the center is relatively small, which means you’ll have more responsibilities and hands-on experience. The hours are also flexible. “I could just talk to my boss if there were events I wanted to get into,” Murphy said.
35-40 hours per week, unpaid
There’s only one spot presently available for this internship, so apply early and stand out.
Were you a Center for Politics and Foreign Relations intern? Share your internship experience in the comments below.
Submit your internship opportunity here.
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