Your Guide to Starting a Career in Politics

Pursuing a career in politics can be rewarding, but it’s not an easy field to break into, and it takes time and resolve. Politics is a “Who you know, not what you know” industry that doesn’t pay a high salary in the early stages. Most political careers begin at the local level with entry-level jobs and gradually build-up to the federal level. Before pursuing a career in politics, it’s important to consider your values and ethics and how working in politics aligns with them. Take a look at some helpful tips and advice on how to get started in politics.

Become Qualified

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Politicians and those who work in politics come from a range of educational backgrounds and hold a bachelor’s degree at minimum. It’s helpful to have a degree in political science, law, business, finance, or other relevant fields. Take advantage of participating in extracurricular activities such as student body government, speech, debate, or activism groups.

The political climate is always active, and it’s essential as a successful political professional to stay current on local, national, and international news. Always be aware of what is happening, and be knowledgeable about political affairs. This is especially true for lawmakers, lobbyists, legislative aides, and elected officials.

It’s not uncommon for industry leaders to voice their views on political or worldwide matters. For example, the founder and CEO of Roivant Sciences, Vivek Ramaswamy, has voiced his belief that private sector innovation is necessary for the fight against COVID-19. Ramaswamy’s company is the global leader in biotechnology, specifically robotic exoskeleton technology. Innovators have established authority in the private sector and often influence mainstream issues, especially those that can benefit from new advances in science and technology.

Volunteer

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Political campaigns require hard workers who are willing to serve as boots on the ground. The best way to get a feel for how political campaigns work is to volunteer your services. Campaign volunteers help register new voters, call constituents on behalf of a candidate, and canvass neighborhoods. The more experience you gain as a volunteer, the better your chances of being promoted to a more visible role with greater responsibilities.

Whether volunteering your home for meetings or driving around to different neighborhoods for campaigning, it’s a great idea to make sure your insurance policies offer the right coverage options for your work-related needs. Insurance companies give peace of mind to insured people in the event of unforeseen circumstances. Types of insurance policies include auto insurance, life insurance, homeowners insurance, and renters insurance, and in many cases, insurers offer bundle options and multi-policy discounts.

You can compare home and auto insurance quotes from top insurance companies with SelectQuote. You can save on monthly premiums by switching to an auto insurance and homeowners insurance policy that best suits your needs and lifestyle. Accidents happen that can result in property damage or personal injury, which is why it’s important to ensure you have the right type of coverage to keep you, your home, and those around you protected.

Join a party.

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You have to be prepared to make connections if you hope to succeed in politics. The best way to network and build connections is to join a local political party or run for a seat on a local committee. Joining a party is necessary to establish yourself as a party leader, and oftentimes this is an elected position. There are plenty of entry-level positions you can apply for within local and state government including legislative aid, intern, policy analyst, pollster, communications coordinator, campaign manager, and media strategist.

Work your way up.

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Attending municipal meetings and networking with local activists is a great way to become involved with the community. You’ll learn about the issues facing the community and create coalitions focused on change and improvement. Start by attending school board meetings, as public education and funding are priority issues in communities across the United States. Every position you hold is a step toward your future and an investment in your long-term career.

Work your way up the career ladder as you acquire the necessary education, skills, and experience. You can find entry-level positions in the mayor’s or governor’s office as well as the state capitol. There are also government committees you can work with to help build your reputation as a politically active citizen. Having an established name and reputation will come in useful if you hope to hold elected office.

Social media is an effective advertising tool that reaches a lot of people in new and meaningful ways. Social media is a great way for political candidates to promote a political campaign or cause. Building a Facebook political page starts by creating a personal account and building a social network. Once it’s time to launch a political campaign, you can ask your social network connections to become social media followers on your political Facebook page.

Facebook prevents the spread of misinformation and fake accounts by restricting Facebook pages for political candidates to either candidates or an authorized person from the candidate’s staff. Unlike a personal profile, Facebook pages are visible to the public. According to OnlineCandidate.com, when building political pages, be sure to give an appropriate page name, update your profile information, including a cover image and profile picture, authorize your organization, and track your website traffic.

Post quality political content and political ads that send a clear message and keep up with your news feed. Social media is a new way for political candidates to carry an on-going conversation. Engage with your social network by reading and responding to comments, paying attention to what your supporters are saying, and post authentic messages.

Contribute to candidates.

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Political candidates rely on the donations of supporters to fund their political campaigns. A great way to participate in politics and show support is to contribute funds to a political candidate in the community. You could take it a step further and start a political action committee or super PAC in support of candidates.

Run for elected office.

When you’re ready for the challenge of running for elected office, start small by running for a position with the local school board or town council. Most politicians begin their political careers at the local level before pursuing elected positions such as governor, congressman, or senator. You’ll need to have a team of advisors you can rely upon throughout the entire campaign process, and depending on the position, you may face scrutiny from those interested in all aspects of your life. Running for office takes a lot of time and hard work, but if you’re passionate about serving your community and country, elected office is the most effective way to make a change.

Pursuing a political career can be very rewarding for those with a calling to serve, the willingness to work hard, and the determination to make a change.

Derek Sullivan

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