#1: You should always be searching and applying for Internships. ALWAYS.
Thunderbirds! Summer is just around the corner and it’s time to start your internship applications for Washington D.C.
#2: Get involved. NOW!
A little bit about me: I am a Graduate of Southern Utah University. I earned my B.S. Political Science/Business Management in 2011 and my Masters of Public Administration in 2012. I have been involved in a number of organizations on campus, have held leadership positions, and am a True T-Bird through and through.
Whether you are interested in politics or not, this was one of the greatest experience and opportunities I have had – I firmly believe that everyone should try their hands in the public sector at least once in their life.
#3: Keep your Resume FRESH. Always update. Always change. Always use the Career Coaches in the Career Café… even after you graduate! It’s a FREE resource.
I began as an intern in 2009, due to circumstances I actually worked out of the Cedar City Office. When my internship was completed after the summer, they asked me to extend for another year.
Because of my hard work and diligence I was hired as a Staff Assistant in 2011. I was the assistant to the Director of the Southern Utah offices.
#4: Sometimes you have tasks you HATE. Let’s be honest here, you are at the bottom of the totem poll. You have to work your way up, EARN IT! So get to work at do it, but HAVE FUN- this is an EXPERIENCE.
My main responsibilities were working with Constituents on cases. Meaning I worked with people who requested help from the Senator. For example, veterans who wanted help in obtaining the Purple Heart award for injuries sustained during active duty in war. This required me to work with a number of federal offices to request this medal (The Branch of Government at the Pentagon, The Board of Corrections, The Department of Veterans Affairs etc.).
I have worked as a Staff Assistant for the past 2 years. I worked with constituents, federal agencies, volunteered with the campaign, and was able to represent Senator Hatch in a number of capacities.
Aside from desk -work and creating mailing lists (with over 27,000 names I had to manually type) I was able to work in the field along side the director and even the Senator on occasion.
#5: Dress appropriately for work. Don’t ever wear giant heals.
One of my favorite experiences was going on a tour of Iron County to look at the dreaded prairie dogs. This tour included the Senator, his Chief of Staff, Southern Utah Director, Department of the Interior Ken Salazar’s head ESA Director, 3 Iron County Commissioners, The Cedar City Mayor, and myself.
We visited a number of places throughout the county that have been destroyed by these animals that are protected by the Endangered Species Act. The purpose of this tour was to show the Department of the Interior that they are not endangered and they are causing a decline in property value throughout Southern Utah.
What I didn’t know is, we would be hiking through some rough terrain. My attire included a skirt, collard shirt, and 4 inch heals.
#6: Your internship has the potential to get you a job.
If not with them specifically, this is your opportunity to build a solid foundation of reference and network base. Do your very best. Go above and beyond without them having to tell you what needs to be done. Be confident in your abilities. You’re the one they hired– show them they made a good decision.
#7: Have fun.
My personal favorite part of the job was the campaign and election events that I was able to attend. Because I was on the legislative side of the staff my involvement in the campaign was voluntary. However, I was able to attend a number of events from Conventions, to private parties, and Town Hall meetings. These were fun because I met and was able to talk to candidates, campaign staff, and people who were very passionate and knowledgeable.
Thanks for allowing me to share some of my experiences. For more information or questions please feel free to contact me directly:
Heidi Eysser is a current Staff Assistant for Senator Orrin Hatch. Additionally, Heidi is a former Student Executive Council member and recently received a Masters of Public Administration from Southern Utah University.