Influence Policy in Washington, D.C.: Get a Federal Government Job
Federal bureaucrats are vital cogs in the policymaking machine in Washington, D.C. They write regulations, enforce the rules, and interact with all manner of public and private sector stakeholders. If Congress is for generalists, the bureaucracy is for experts.
If you work for the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, you probably won’t become an expert in terrorist networks in Southeast Asia, but you might just become the world’s preeminent expert on seafood regulations.
The standard gateway into the federal bureaucracy is the USA Jobs website, which lists open positions across the myriad departments and agencies. However, some special organizations, like the U.S. Foreign Service and the CIA, have their own unique hiring process that candidates must go through to be considered for employment.
If you’re after one of the prized political appointments, you’d better start thumbing through your copy of the Plum Book (officially, the United States Government Policy and Supporting Positions, lists 9,000 jobs that may be filled outside of the government’s normal competitive service jobs) and get your administration contacts on the phone. Better yet, start working for a presidential campaign.