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Discovering Your Motivation to Work on the Hill - What If You’re Not Qualified to Apply?

Updated: Jun 2, 2023

It’s easy to see the appeal of working on Capitol Hill. Not only is there always the chance to rub elbows with people making the policies that affect our lives, but we also aspire to be a part of that policy-making ourselves. But when you’re looking for a job on the Hill, knowing your motivation helps. Are you wanting to say that you have the experience or do you really want to be part of research, politics, and legislation?

As stated, there’s a lot of appeal to working on the Hill. It inherently comes with prestige and influence. However, if this is your sole motivation, you may find yourself frustrated if you have little impact where you would like. If you’re going for a job on the Hill, be prepared for long work hours and overcoming bureaucracy as you meet the Members of Congress and their staff.

Now, in applying for a job on the Hill, or anywhere else for that matter, it’s important that you have the required qualifications. But, what if you don’t? Can you still go ahead and apply for jobs that seem just out of your reach? Here are a couple of tips if you find yourself in that situation.

Restructure your résumé. If you’re looking at a job description and you are missing some of the required skills, make a chart comparing what they’re looking for with what you do bring to the table. Then, start to restructure your résumé to point out the experience and qualifications that are in the same ballpark as the job description. For example, if they are asking for three years of sales experience and you’ve worked six years as a customer service representative, designate any accomplishments that were sales related when you were talking to these customers and highlight those points on your résumé.

Highlight your unique skills. While you may not have the exact qualifications an employer is looking for, you could possess something else they don’t even know they need. A good example of this is if you are applying for an entry-level journalism position but you have worked previously in accounting. In your cover letter, explain all of the analytical charts and profit and loss statements for the department you can provide as part of your role. The smaller the office the more likely your diverse skill set will be appealing because there may be tasks left behind because no one can do them.

Bottom line, it’s important to know your motivations and qualifications so that you can work within and around them as you seek to work on Capitol Hill or anywhere else. Also, be ready to share these points with anyone you may run into who can help lead you to a job. Something like motivation is key to understand as part of landing a great job that is well suited for you. If your qualifications are lacking at the moment, while you’re working on your résumé and interview skills, also consider what extra training you do to bump up your skill set.



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