- Who is eligible to apply to the Initiative?
We welcome resumes from any African-American U.S. citizen who seeks a position in the legislative branch of the U.S. government. We welcome professionals with a wide range of backgrounds and interests, ranging from junior, mid-level, and senior professionals. Women, people of color, people with disabilities, veterans, LGBT, and individuals with diverse backgrounds are encouraged to apply.
What should I prepare before starting the application?
- The most important thing you need to begin the application is your resume and cover letter in Microsoft Word (.doc) format. We encourage you to submit these documents as soon as possible so that, as positions become available, we can reach out to you if your experience is a good fit. Please review our resume tips below.
Please also ensure that enough time is set aside to complete the application in one sitting. You will be asked to answer questions about your party affiliation, political activism in 2016, citizenship status, gender, ethnicity, areas of expertise, and level of experience.
- Upload your resume as a Microsoft Word (.doc), Rich Text Format (.rtf), or PDF file and answer the required questions.
- You can update your resume at any time by sending it to firstname.lastname@example.org.
- List your professional experiences in reverse chronological order, starting with the most recent.
- Provide bullet lists for each experience that highlight specific skills, inputs and outcomes with quantifiable metrics.
- If applicable, include the size of your budget and the number of staff for which you were directly responsible for managing.
- If applicable, be sure to include public service at the local, state, or federal level as well as volunteer service with non-profits.
- Do not include references or salary information, and do not include a “References available upon request” statement. Generally, purpose or objective statements should not be included.
- Junior and mid-level professionals should strive to condense their resumes to one page. Where resumes consist of more than one page, ensure that the page footer includes your name and page number.
- Keep formatting as simple as possible and focus on content over style. Avoid unusual fonts or formatting. Use tabs rather than spaces to left/center/right-align content on the same line (see: Set margins, indents, and tabs at microsoft.com).
- What kinds of positions are available?
Members of Congress hire thousands of staff for the majority and minority leadership offices, personal offices, and committee offices (e.g., Chief of Staff, Legislative Director, Legislative Assistant, Counsel, Committee Staff Director, Communications Director, Press Secretary). We work with Members of Congress to find top candidates for these positions.
- Who will review applicants and how?
The Black Talent Initiative staff collects, organizes and categorizes all resumes it receives.
- When will applicants know whether or not they are being recommended to a congressional office?
The Initiative will make its best effort to contact applicants before recommending them for a particular position. Due to the sheer volume of applicants and the urgency of some vacancies, this is not always possible.
- When will applicants know whether or not they are being considered by a congressional office?
Any applicant under consideration for employment will be contacted directly by the congressional office or, at times, by the Black Talent Initiative. Please make an effort to inform the Black Talent Initiative if a congressional office has been in contact with you. Depending on the situation, we may be able to provide additional counsel and support.
- Does submitting a resume to the Initiative boost an individual’s chances of getting hired by an office?
The Black Talent Initiative has no official role with respect to hiring any personnel. Participation does not mean that the Black Talent Initiative will recommend anyone for any position or that applicants will in any way be advantaged in the process for any such position.
- Should I apply directly to congressional offices?
In addition to applying to the Initiative, applicants should apply directly to the congressional office. If you feel you do not have a strong understanding of the hiring process or a clear direction for the type of position you would be interested in, you are encouraged to apply to the Initiative for guidance prior to applying.
- Special Thanks.
We appreciate the support of the Gay & Lesbian Victory Institute and the Latino Victory Project for providing many of the insights above and for other support in establishing the Black Talent Initiative. We encourage Black LGBT and Afro-Latino prospective appointees to visit those sites and use them as resources.