White House aides and other administration officials looking to switch careers to lobbying will have a hard time on K Street. This will be especially true for younger aides with little experience on their resumes.
“The folks in this administration, especially the folks without a previous career to fall back on, are going to have to figure out a way to reinvent themselves – do something different or go somewhere different,” said Julian Ha, a partner at the executive search firm, Heidrick & Struggles.
K Street in Washington DC is lined with lobbying and advocacy groups. This isn’t the first time that staffers under a controversial administration have had trouble looking for work. According to Charlie Black, a former George H.W. Bush aide, working for a one-term president can make job hunting harder. Black, a chairman of Prime Policy Group, says it takes a while to find work.
“After President George H.W. Bush’s administration, some staffers went home, some took corporate jobs, It took some people a long time if they wanted to stay around DC,” said Black.
Job-seekers with diverse backgrounds are most likely to find employment. Job-seekers with a background in policy instead of politics are likely to fare better, said Ivan Adler, president of Ivan Adler Associates.
Finding work after working in the Trump administration has been easy for some. Former White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer went on to compete on Dancing With The Stars and now hosts a political show on Newsmax TV. Former associate director of legislative affairs at the Office of Management and Budget, Johnathan Slemrod, is a partner at Harbinger Strategies, and Len Wolfson, former assistant secretary for congressional and intergovernmental relations at the Department of Housing and Urban Development, works as a partner at Federal Hall Policy Advisors.
Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez supports a group called Trump Accountability Project that believes people who worked under Trump should not be able to profit from their experience. A lot of firms are concerned about their reputation.
A top job recruiter who didn’t want their identity disclosed told Buzz Feed News that it will be more challenging than ever before for folks coming out of the White House. “There seems to be more of a visceral reaction — there’s no question that’s true,” said the recruiter.
The future for Trump staffers seems bleak, and accountability is daunting.
“There are some people who have built a career in Washington, and the Trump stink can be washed off, but if your only resume item is working for Trump, I think you’re basically un-hirable,” said a former George W. Bush aide to The Hill.
“This is not an A team of talent. There is a lot less experience than other administrations,” said an undisclosed recruiter.