On Friday, one of the most well-known members of President Donald Trump’s staff, White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer, resigned suddenly.
The press secretary job is a high-profile role. Even though it’s a difficult position, Trump had many people to choose from as Spicer’s replacement.
If you’ve dreamed of working in the White House, here’s what you should know about the role and the qualifications you need to succeed.
Sean Spicer resigns from his role as White House Press Secretary
Spicer abruptly announced he’d be leaving his role as Trump’s press secretary. While he faced criticism and many television stars made jokes at his expense — including wildly popular skits on Saturday Night Live — that isn’t why he resigned.
Instead, he left after disagreeing with Trump’s choice to appoint New York financier Anthony Scaramucci as the White House Communications Director. After offering the job to Scaramucci, Trump reportedly urged Spicer to stay on as press secretary. Spicer refused. Spicer’s resignation marks the end of his tumultuous six-month tenure in the White House.
Hiring Sean Spicer’s replacement
Without Spicer, the White House found a replacement in Sarah Huckabee Sanders. It’s a good thing they were able to fill the role so quickly; the role plays a major part in Trump’s administration and has many different responsibilities.
The White House Press Secretary ensures that the administration’s messages reach the American people. Each morning, the press secretary meets with news reporters informally to go over the President’s schedule and provide information on any breaking news.
They also handle press briefings, which are often televised and recorded to play on the radio. Briefings are a vehicle they use to announce changes or to answer reporters’ questions on the most pressing issues.
While most press secretaries could earn more money if they took a job in the private sector, the pay for the White House Press Secretary certainly isn’t stingy. Spicer reportedly earned $179,700 per year in his role.
Skills needed to become White House Press Secretary
If you dream of one day standing up at the podium with the White House emblazoned on the backdrop, here are the qualifications you need for the job:
- A degree in communications, journalism, or public relations. A bachelor’s degree in a relevant field is the bare minimum in terms of educational requirements. Many past press secretaries pursued a master’s in political science or sociology to enhance their portfolios.
- Outstanding professional reputation. To serve as the White House Press Secretary, you need years of experience working with the media. You might start out as a journalist or work for a public relations agency, and slowly move your way up the ladder.
- Experience working in politics. Political acumen is essential for success. As your career develops, one way you can build your political expertise is to volunteer for local politicians’ campaigns. With more experience, you can then shift to working for a Senator or Governor. If they pursue the presidency, you’ll be poised to fill the press secretary role.
- Excellent public speaking skills. The press secretary regularly speaks in front of large rooms. However, being comfortable speaking in public is only half the battle. You also need to handle heated questions without saying something you shouldn’t and cope with intense stress.
- Understanding of domestic and foreign matters. Spicer was roasted in the media, especially when he incorrectly quoted stats he said proved the need for the stronger voting controls. Such gaffes can destroy a press secretary’s tenure, so it’s essential to have a thorough understanding of major domestic and foreign issues.
- Willingness to work long hours. A press secretary is basically on call all the time, seven days a week. If an international incident occurs or there’s a major policy change, the press secretary will often have to do a briefing right away. It doesn’t matter if it’s late at night or early in the morning. That can cause very long days and time away from family.
Working in the White House
Sean Spicer’s resignation opened up one of the most high-profile positions in the White House. While you might not be ready for the job right now, coming up with a plan for your career can help prepare you to pursue your dreams.
Ready to start building the foundation for your career while in college? You can apply for a White House internship online.
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