Few communication or public relations specialists ever think of becoming the press secretary of the official residence and principal workplace of the US president – the White House. This is mainly because there is only one such position, and only the president can make such an appointment.
Evidently, it is a tough ask to chase this job. But with professional expertise, the desire to serve the president and a good reputation, you can achieve it.
What does the White House press secretary do?
The primary duties of the press secretary include:
- Serving as spokesperson for the federal government, particularly with regard to policies, executive orders and the president.
- Holding regular press briefings to inform the public and the world on the administration’s reactions to various domestic and global issues.
- Responding to questions from journalists, reporters and other members of the press who are approved to cover the president, collectively known as the White House press corps.
- Setting the rules that regulate the conduct of reporters and journalists in the White House briefing room.
- Supervising assistant press secretaries and junior staff.
The White House press secretary has a regular 9am to 5pm, Monday to Friday, work schedule. However, the pressure that comes with working in the Executive Office of the President demands much more than 8 hours a day. If you land this job, expect to work late into the evening and over the weekend.
The press secretary works in a fast-paced office environment, where he compile press statements and holds meeting with other senior employees. He issues briefings from the press room.
The job may involve traveling with the president and other top leaders to domestic and foreign destinations.
How much does the White House press secretary earn annually? Find out below:
White House press secretary
Source: Whitehouse.gov (please find Earnest Joshua –Incumbent press sec).
Education and professional expertise
To become the White House press secretary, begin by earning a bachelor’s degree in any of the following fields:
- Public relations
The next step is to find a job and focus on building your professional reputation. You could start out as a journalist with a local or national media house, or establish your own public relations agency.
If you get the opportunity to become the communications director or spokesperson of a politician –especially if he or she has prospects of running for the presidency- grab it. That could be your big break.
Since this job has a political aspect, pursuing a master’s degree in political science or sociology can heighten your prospects.
Only the president has the power to appoint the press secretary. So you stand a better chance of getting the job if you build professional relationships with the country’s top leaders.
Importantly, you should be a supporter of the current administration’s governance style. The president can only appoint a person who shares in his vision and policies.
You can demonstrate your allegiance by:
- Writing op-eds (opinion editorials) on key issues
- Volunteering as a communications director in the president’s party
Finally, there can only be one White House press secretary at a time. If the position is occupied, you have to keep building your reputation as you wait for a vacancy to arise, then make an application to the Executive Office of the President for consideration.
To be a competent press secretary you need:
- Exceptional communication skills
- Strong interpersonal skills
- Good records management skills
- The ability to think on your feet and make accurate decisions quickly
- A good grasp of news management techniques
- Good skills in information analysis and interpretation
- Good problem-solving skills
- The willingness to stay current of domestic and global issues
- A high level of integrity.
Like many top federal jobs, the position of White House press secretary is difficult to achieve. You have to be patient, determined and ready to get into the murky world of politics. Once you have held that position, you can hold pretty much any press position you please. You’re CV will be get you a job anywhere.
So if you want to be the voice the White House, you now know what it takes to get there. Good luck!