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Political Aspirations: How to Start a Career in Politics

Estimated reading time: 4 mins

You want to be a politician? Start here first.

In the United States, there are 542 federal offices and thousands of positions in politics. With so many positions out there, it can be challenging to navigate the complexities of political office.

But the real question is, how to become a politician?

For those interested in a career in politics, check out this comprehensive guide on how to start a career in politics.

Read on to learn more.

Obtain a Bachelor’s Degree

If you want to be competitive in politics, it’s very important to obtain a Bachelor’s degree. Many successful politicians on the state and federal level choose to major in fields such as:

  • Economics
  • Business
  • International relations
  • Communications
  • Public administration

Some choose to pursue higher education such as Master’s programs or Law School for further schooling. Remember, there is no right degree to major in. All backgrounds of education can be beneficial. Choose something that you’re passionate about.

Take Dennis Bonnen speaker of the house candidate for example, who got a degree in political science.

Check out additional training courses, like public speaking seminars, to better pave your way into a political career. Be sure to learn about the legislative process and familiarize yourself with the congressional system.

Foster skills related to politics such as written and verbal communication. Don’t forget you’ll need a working knowledge of data analysis and computer skills.

Involve Yourself in Local Politics

The majority of politicians begin their careers at the local political level. Consider volunteering in local politics to immerse yourself in on-the-job experience. You’ll learn imperative skills such as:

  • Legal knowledge
  • Understanding of culture and society
  • Active listening
  • Uses of logic and reasoning
  • Attention to detail

Check out opportunities to volunteer for a local committee or campaign. Try to sit in on town hall meetings and get involved in local initiatives. This helps demonstrate your passion and dedication to political affairs and create network opportunities.

Don’t forget to stay connected to all the people you meet during this time! Take the initiative and get their contact information or connect on professional social media sites like LinkedIn.

Consider taking a tour of your state’s capital building or road tripping to Washington D.C. Ask as many questions as you can. Look for internships and seasonal opportunities. Utilize your college career center and advisor to locate the best opportunities.

Network With Political Leaders

When starting a career in politics, it is essential to network with current political leaders. By creating relationships with local political members, you gain insight and knowledge as to how a politician obtains success.

Networking is also a great opportunity to learn about the ins and outs of a profession in politics and acquire support for your own political ambitions.

Remember networking with your community is just as important as networking with political leaders. Listen to the needs of the community members and visit local leadership to better understand how you can be of more effective service.

Don’t forget to consider factors such as:

  • Perceived needs
  • Expressed needs
  • Absolute needs

Listening to constituents is a large part of a career as a politician and it is important to start this early on in your political career. Identify assets and needs in your area.

Learn about all the different political career opportunities and paths. Check out positions like campaign staffers, field representatives, and legislative aides to work closely alongside existing politicians.

Begin a Campaign

Once you’ve determined your political aspirations and gaged the need of your community, begin a campaign. Prioritize needs in your areas, develop, and prioritize strategies. Create a community action plan.

Choose a political position at the local level that interests you. Consider running for the school board or for the town council. Try to reach as many platforms as possible throughout the duration of your campaign.

Establish a Team

One of the best strategies for working in politics is establishing a team. Identify a diverse group of people and develop a team strategy. Remember to ask challenging questions to cover a large need base in your area.

Determine how you’ll obtain data collection methods and identify key informants to contact during your campaign. From there, establish your action plan.

Campaigning often takes lots of time, effort, and resources to be most effective. Remember to be resilient and dedicated throughout your quest for political office.

Launch Your Campaign

The final step in how to work in politics is to launch your campaign. Critically think about which position you would like to run for based on your goals.

This phase requires getting your platform to the public through initiatives such as:

  • Speeches
  • Meetings
  • Interviews

The objective is to get your platform to as many voters as possible. It requires several skills such as:

  • Public-speaking skills
  • Negotiation skills
  • Emotional intelligence

Remember, not every voter will agree with you. During your campaign, don’t forget to encourage an open dialogue with community members and foster a safe space to share needs and opinions.

Consider expanding your platform to social media for more exposure. Try places like twitter to stay relevant and interactive with younger voters.

Remember to look over your personal social media and be aware of unappealing posts you may be connected to.

How to Start a Career in Politics

If you love politics or have political aspirations, you may want to work in politics. It’s important to know how to start a career in politics and begin research early on to be most prepared.

You’ve got this!

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About the author /


Simon is a creative and passionate business leader dedicated to having fun in the pursuit of high performance and personal development. He is co-founder of Applied Change, a Business Change consultancy based in the UK. Simon is also an Ambassador for Gloucestershire business. Simon is an Associate Member of the Chartered Institute of Professional Development.

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