When it comes to starting a career in politics, it’s not what you know as much as who you know. Breaking into the world of politics can be difficult if you aren’t familiar with its structures and nuances.
Many students and residents aspire to work in politics in order to better assist their communities. Motivated strategists, politicians, analysts, and educators can impact society through political science careers in local, state, or federal institutions. Political science majors often blur the lines between their personal and professional beliefs, aligning themselves with their favorite political party in order to get jobs.
There are a few options, and where you reside impacts your options. Whatever road you take, it’ll all come down to hustle, putting yourself out there, and being willing to shake a lot of hands while having a lot of doors slam in your face.
Here, we’ll talk about some of the most exciting and rewarding ways to launch your career in politics.
What is Politics?
Politics simply put, is the process by which people in groups decide. Politics is the process of people reaching agreements in order to live together in groupings such as tribes, towns, or countries.
Politicians such as the president, senators, and lobbyists are tasked with making judgments and enacting legislation that protects and improves our country. On Capitol Hill, many politicians work, debating bills, holding hearings, and presenting suggestions.
State lawmakers and governors are concerned with addressing the needs of their constituents and representing their views. They pay attention to voter recommendations and concerns and utilize that information to help them decide which laws to pass and which legislation to vote for. Politics has an important role in the functioning of our country at all levels.
What Is a Career in Politics Like?
Politics offers opportunities to aspiring professionals from a variety of backgrounds. Lobbying organizations, political action committees (PACs), and the executive, legislative, and judicial departments of government are all typical places to work in political science. Non-governmental organizations, think tanks, and electoral campaigns are all places where politicians can work.
If you want to learn to lobby professionally, read: How can I become a Lobbyist In 2021? Schools, Licenses
The fast-paced, high-intensity climate of lobbying and government groups appeals to many prospective politicians. Political science majors frequently generate funds for party-affiliated PACs or work as lobbyists for politicians or specific industrial interests. Administrative jobs in scheduling and helping are very popular because they give you the best chance to become an expert, especially in state and local governments.
Pursuing a Career in Politics
Political science degrees can lead to entry-level positions in government and political campaigns. The armed forces, Congress, and the Census Bureau are just a few of the hundreds of departments, agencies, and sub-departments that make up the United States government. Because a lot of government jobs have the same title, the exact department is usually more important than the title.
Political science degrees are well-suited to entry-level positions that need specialized skills. Students can adapt their political science jobs to their interests and skills by pursuing professions such as data analysts, social media strategists, or pollsters in disciplines such as research, law, or administration.
What Is the Most Effective Way to Enter Politics?
Jobs in politics require a diverse set of skills, as well as a thorough education and professional experience. Internships and networking opportunities are common among political science majors while still in school to help kick start their political careers. Aspiring politicians can get bachelor’s degrees in law, history, or economics, as well as political science.
While most institutions offer political science majors, several schools, such as Harvard, Yale, Princeton, West Point, Stanford, UCLA, and Georgetown, are noted for generating politically interested students. Members of Congress include Harvard Business School, Harvard Law School, and Yale Law School alumni.
Students in political science can get a bachelor of arts or a bachelor of science degree. Through mandatory coursework in economics, political theory, and law, both degrees prepare graduates for careers in politics. Internships are also vital for political science majors’ professional preparedness; some schools mandate students to do internships as part of their bachelor’s degrees, while others strongly urge them.
Another important aspect of preparing for a job in political science is networking. After graduation, building relationships through professional groups, student-led organizations, and political science-specific fraternities and sororities might help entry-level job seekers.
Professional networking also aids in the development of soft skills such as communication, critical thinking, and computer proficiency, all of which can help political science graduates improve their career prospects. Experience with fundraising is also a big plus, especially for individuals who want to launch political or grassroots campaigns.
How old do you have to be to start a political career?
Depending on your job, elected officials may be required to reach a specified age before running for office. The United States Constitution, for example, requires lawmakers to be at least 25 years old to serve in the House of Representatives. A candidate for the White House must be 35 years old or older.
Your qualifications, not your age, determine whether you have a successful political career. Students in the GSPM online program come from a variety of backgrounds and ages, with some starting the master’s degree right after college and others continuing their studies years later.
For launching a political career, there’s no such thing as too late. The Graduate School of Political Management can show you how to get started if you’re not sure where to start. For more information, apply now or contact a GSPM enrollment advisor. It could be the first step towards realizing your ambitions.
How to Become a Politician
One of the most difficult aspects of establishing a career in politics is determining where to begin. Here are some concrete measures you may take to become more involved in politics:
- Educate yourself
You must first determine whether you are qualified to pursue a political career. Politicians and political employees come from a variety of educational backgrounds, but the majority are expected to hold a bachelor’s degree. Political staff may benefit from degrees in political science, law, business, finance, or other relevant subjects. Extracurricular activities like student body government, speech and debate, and activism associations are common at four-year schools and may interest prospective politicians.
- Join a Network
Even if you don’t want to be an elected person, picking a political party can help you achieve your career goals. Politicians prefer to hire people who share their political party affiliations, and the professional network that comes with adopting a political party is extremely valuable to entry-level employees.
- Participate in local politics
You can start looking for a job in politics if you have the relevant education, experience, and abilities. Getting engaged in your local government is one of the simplest ways to do this. Look for entry-level positions at the mayor’s or governor’s offices, as well as at the state capitol. You can also help with seasonal activities like voter registration or serve on government committees. When you work with the local government, you can become known as a politically active citizen and build your name in the community.
- Keep yourself up to date
One of the most important aspects of being a successful political professional is staying up to date on local, national, and international news. Throughout your political career, you will need to be constantly aware of what is going on in the world. All people who work in law, like lobbyists, legislative aides, and elected politicians, need to know a lot about politics.
If you succeed in politics, you’ll almost certainly be offered possibilities for progression, such as a promotion, a pay boost, or the chance to compete for a higher elected post. As your career progresses, you’ll need to be on the lookout for new methods to improve your talents, expand your knowledge, and grow professionally. For anyone who wants to work in politics for a long time, staying relevant, interested, and knowledgeable is very important.
- Give some of your time to help others.
Campaigns require volunteers at all levels of government. Volunteering in a local contest, a statewide race, or even a presidential campaign allows you to meet new people. Those that run campaigns or local offices in larger contests may be able to open doors after the election.
Those may be very modest doors in a local race, but it’s a start. Working hard and volunteering are two ways to rise in the ranks. To accomplish this, you must be willing to take on any responsibility that comes your way. That’s the same strategy for winning any ideal job, but political campaigns provide a lot of opportunities to stand out.
Because necessary tasks such as door-to-door canvassing, phone banking, and other activities take place after regular business hours and on weekends, a willingness to work as needed can lead to opportunities. It may also result in face-to-face meetings with the candidate, paid staff, and elected officials.
Further reading: Volunteer Work Abroad | 10 Sure Opportunities
- Work on someone else’s campaign
This will give you another great opportunity to network with other political activists, as well as practice your skills. By doing the grunt work in someone else’s campaign, you will develop an understanding of all of the activities that go into running a political campaign. This will better prepare you for running your own campaign.
By doing the grunt work yourself, you also is more relatable to voters. This will help you to develop an appreciation for all the people who may one day work on your campaign.
- You should run for office yourself.
Even in a large city, there are frequently elected seats where a newcomer has a chance to win. In smaller towns and cities, there are frequently multiple positions with little or no competition.
The tiny New England town where I grew up, for example, had an elected town meeting. That means a few hundred individuals compete for a seat in Congress, which is essentially a small-town body. These town meeting members are chosen, and then they go to a multi-night meeting where each budget line item is talked about and voted on.
Typically, there are only a few more people vying for seats than there are available. So, if a newcomer campaigns, even if it is someone who has recently arrived in town, he or she has a possibility of gaining a seat. Running for a small office does not cause raising funds, purchasing advertisements, or even getting yard signs. Instead, it’s about meeting potential voters face-to-face, attending neighborhood activities, and going door-to-door.
The same argument holds true for lesser-known elected seats in larger cities (or ones that have less quaint forms of government). In certain circumstances, the difference between winning and losing comes down to voter familiarity with the candidates.
Even if you lose, they will put the time you spent meeting individuals to good use in future elections. Furthermore, if you lose and yet earn some attention, the number of individuals who know you will almost certainly increase. That should make future political opportunities easier to come by, whether you run on your own or work for someone else.
A politician is a person active in party politics or a person holding or seeking an elected office in government.
Political analysts require advanced academic writing and research skills.
Some universities will identify subjects that they recommend students study before applying for a politics degree.
Politics is broadly seen as the study of government, institutions, and decision-making processes that govern the world we live in.
A political science degree usually takes three years to study. However, many universities will give the option of a foundation year or a professional placement, which will increase the course to four years.
Many, if not most, paid jobs in politics go to people who worked on the campaign of the person elected. Most times, even working on a losing campaign may put you on the radar of city or state party officials who may influence hiring for candidates who did win (or for paid campaign jobs during the next election cycle).
While there are exceptions there’s no shortcut to a career in politics. Do the work, put in the time, and impress the people who could someday hire you.