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Professional Confessional

A blog providing tips and resources for life after college

Diary of an Intern: Rachel’s Projects / The People / The Skills

Rachel LordIn my internship, I am exposed to a variety of different tasks and people with whom I work. When I come into the office in the morning, I work on daily press clips and send them to the press department for circulation. I work with the tour coordinator when I am scheduled to lead constituents on tours of the Capitol Building. As well as staff in the main office, I work with Legislative Correspondents and Legislative Assistants when writing letters to constituents and researching pertinent legislation.

As I improve my skills in the office, I notice two different types of skill sets that I use: research and writing skills, as well as interpersonal skills.

When writing constituent letters, I research pieces of legislation and answer pertinent questions. I then draft a letter which needs to be clear and concise so the recipient can understand a particular policy and how it affects him or her. I not only draft letters, but I produce memos with information from Senate hearings. With this task I prioritize the information and present it in an organized manner so the legislative assistant can quickly absorb the material.

When interacting with constituents, I use my interpersonal skills to connect with them and help them in any way I can. Many North Carolinians who call the office have a concern or a question that I can address or answer. Depending on policy deliberations in the Senate, constituents will call when they are emotional or upset. For those days, I have responded to a fast paced and highly stressful environment. I use my communication skills to understand their perspective, calm them down, and explain Senator Burr’s position on the issue.

I also use my interpersonal skills outside of the office when giving tours of the Capitol Building. I meet with constituents and make a personal connection so their tour is engaging and interesting. If someone has a particular interest, such as the Civil War, I include more detail and relate the information to their experience.

While we are in recess, I am using my initiative to find projects. Recess is known for being slow, but it is only a slow day if I allow it. I am asking for research assignments from those in the office and using the Congressional Research Service to inform myself on current legislative issues. Even on my day off, I have met D.C. professionals for informational interviews and worked on my independent study so I can graduate in December.

Until next time,

~Rachel Lord, ’13 – Politics and International Affairs Major and History and Entrepreneurship Minors

Intern at the office of Senator Richard Burr

Category: Professional Development

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