Capitol Hill is not an easy place to get along, but it can be done with the right attitude and encouragement! As an experienced lawyer, Samuel Dewey has spent a lot of professional time on Capitol Hill and has learned a few tips and tricks for succeeding.
Here are his top recommendations for getting ahead on Capitol Hill, which is just as relevant for interns as seasoned managers.
Build and Maintain Strong Professional Relationships
You never know who is going to end up being your savior in a jam! Start networking early on to ensure you have a solid group of supporters who will offer advice, words of wisdom, and advocate on your behalf. Always be genuine, and don’t let partisan politics get in the way of forming a well-rounded network. If anything, this may work to help you in the long run! Try to have face-to-face interactions often: nonverbal communication cues are critical for how your information is perceived and reveal how your data is being received.
From your attire to your smile, everything paints a picture to others of who you are as a person. The old saying “Dress for the job you want, not the job you have” holds.
Extend common courtesies and try to listen to people instead of just waiting for your turn to speak, even if you disagree with what they’re saying. Please and thank you go a long way, especially when it comes to others who may be lower down on the professional totem pole than you: kindness matters.
Be the Leader People Want to Follow
Take pride in completing all your projects with consistent exceptionalism, even the small stuff. Take on additional responsibilities once you’ve conquered the old ones and ensure you’re adding value by asking your team what you could do to contribute more positively to the team.
Set yourself up to be someone people can rely on but know your worth: learn how to prevent yourself from being overworked and ask for a raise when you feel you’ve earned one. The information flow from Congress can be intense, so hone your time-management strategies so that you can be performing at your best every day. On that note, make sure you respect other people’s time as much as your own: never forget that your poor planning should not become an emergency that others should have to suffer for.
Own up to your mistakes—even if it’s a mistake that someone else made that you signed off on. Share information, lessons learned, and opportunities openly with your team to show that you’re in this together. Never use your position to justify avoiding performing seemingly menial but necessary tasks or to get your way with others.
About Samuel Dewey
Samuel Dewey is a successful lawyer and former Senior Counsel to the U.S. House of Representatives Financial Services Committee and Chief Investigator and Counsel to the U.S. Senate Special Committee on Aging. Mr. Dewey specializes in: (1) white-collar investigations, compliance, and litigation; (2) regulatory compliance and litigation; and (3) complex public policy matters. Within these fields, Mr. Dewey is considered an expert in Congressional investigations and attendant matters. Mr. Dewey has a B.A. in Political Science, a J.D. from Harvard, and is admitted to practice law in Washington, D.C., and Maryland.