So, you want to work in Washington?

Bryce McDevitt

A three-part series titled “So You Want to Work in Washington: What You Need to Know” began on April 3, providing a presentation for all Villanova students interested in pursuing a job in politics in the nation’s capital. Honorary John C. Gartland, who worked in the nation’s capital for 40 years, primarily with the Republican Party, gave a presentation to begin the series.

Gartland developed the idea for the series as a result of his personal experience in politics.

In the past, Villanova students who were interested in working in Washington were referred to Gartland, and he discovered that they really had no idea what they wanted to do.

Based on this experience, he said he began to generate the idea for a seminar that would teach students the basics of getting a job in Washington.

“Young Villanovans would come down and not know what they wanted to do,” Gartland said. “They had no idea what jobs a graduating senior at Villanova could get.”

In the seminar, Gartland stressed that in Washington, it’s all about networking.

The seminar was broken down into three sections.

The first discussed Congress, focusing on employment hierarchy in the office, the specific roles of each person in the office and which jobs are available.

Additionally, Gartland spoke about the general layout of the city and gave several comments on living and working in Washington.

The second part on April 8 concerned the executive branch, introducing students to the organization and staff of the White House and the office of the president, as well as various departments, agencies and other groups that offer career or volunteer opportunities.

Gartland also talked about the crossing of politics and a career choice, stating that students need to choose a side eventually.

“Washington is political, so sooner or later you have to decide what you are,” Gartland said.

In addition, Gartland discussed the Senate, the organization of its offices and the various duties of the staff.

Furthermore, he handed out several booklets, allowing students to gather information about Senate officials.

The final edition of “So You Want to Work in Washington,” on April 9, focused on the physical process of getting a job in the capital.

Gartland gave an overview of employment possibilities and provided the audience with a “guidebook” of Washington, complete with a list of activities and entertainment possibilities.

In addition, Gartland covered the basics of writing a resumé and other successful practices for getting a job, stressing that, like any employment opportunity, the interviewee needs to know the company, in this case congressman, what they stand for, what they do and what they are looking for.

This series was the first for Gartland, who said he wishes to gauge the outcome and decide whether this series is a venture worth continuing.

“It was definitely helpful and informative, especially in terms of helping us figure out what exactly we want to do in Washington but also a little negative in that he totally has me thinking it’s next to impossible to get a job there,” sophomore Ali Flukes said.

Gartland graduated from Villanova in 1963 with a degree in accounting.

He was a member of the Naval ROTC program and served in the United States Navy for four years following graduation.

Gartland began his political career as manager for the “Nixon for President Committee,” a fundraising group in Washington D.C. committed to putting Nixon in the White House.

Following Nixon’s election, Gartland accepted a job with the Nixon administration and remained in politics until 2004 as a member of the “Get-Out-the-Vote Campaign.”