Breaking into the political sphere can be attractive for quite a few reasons. Many budding politicians want to make the world a better place.
Others feel as though it can be financially rewarding at the same time. When you see the likes of AOC net worth, it’s hard not to argue with that.
Regardless of your motivations, you’ll need to know how to start a political career. That’s often more difficult than expected.
It’s typically not as simple as running for office. You’ll need to take several steps ahead of this to maximize your chances of success when you eventually run for office.
There are more than a few things to keep in mind with that.
What’s A Career In Politics Like?
A career in politics can be quite varied. No two roles are identical and can evolve over time. That constant evolution can be attractive to more than a few people.
That variety is also driven by the breadth of companies and agencies that aspiring political workers can aspire to. Alongside traditional politicians – those that hold office – you could consider careers in political action committees, lobbying organizations, and more.
The three main branches of government are all open to you. Then there are the non-governmental organizations and think thanks that you could work for.
As a result, a career in politics can be difficult to outline. The specifics can change depending on where you work, who you work with, and even where in the country you work.
Many of the generalities remain the same, however. Political aspirants work in a fast-paced environment and must keep up-to-date with relevant information on the fly.
More than a few skills are needed for this. These go beyond the core skills you’d learn in a political science career. You’ll also need to be adept at:
- Analyzing Information
- Solving Problems
Alongside these, you should be patient and good with people. Should you be armed with these and be ready for a fast-paced and intense career, you’ll need to know how to start a political career.
You’ll need to take a few steps to do this.
How To Start A Political Career: 6 Steps To Take
1. Get Qualified
While you don’t technically need any degrees or similar qualifications to hold political office – some famous leaders are examples of this – you may need them for other roles. You’ll need to figure out whether or not you need to obtain this.
If not, then you can simply start earning some political experience and starting your career. Should you need them, however, then you’ll need to go about obtaining it.
That doesn’t need to be difficult. You’ll typically need a bachelor’s degree in a particular area. Some of the more notable of these include:
- Political Science
When you’re pursuing your degree, it’s worth engaging in as many politics-focused extracurricular activities. These can help you pad out your resume once you start your career properly.
Getting involved in the student government and activism associations can be recommended options for this.
As essential as qualifications are, they mightn’t mean much if you don’t have any experience. Since you’re trying to enter the field, you wouldn’t have much of this.
It can be difficult, if not impossible, to get experience in the position you most want to get. With political offices, that’s especially true. You’ll have ways around this.
Perhaps the most effective is volunteering for political campaigns and local organizations. You’d be surprised by the number of volunteer opportunities that are available.
In the lead-up to an election – even a state one – these can skyrocket. While these may be unpaid, they’re an effective way of getting the experience you need to kickstart your political career.
There could also be paid internship opportunities available. It’s worth researching what’s on offer in your local area.
Getting these done during your college years can be recommended.
3. Join A Party
Politics in every country is divided into multiple parties. While these all wish to protect and benefit their country, they’ll have contrasting and often opposing views.
You’ll need to determine which of this is the right one to join. Doing so means getting a support system throughout your political career. You’ll also have a platform from which to grow from.
You should focus on choosing the party with the closest viewpoints to you. That means thoroughly researching each of the main political parties.
Even if you’re not interested in holding a political office, it’s still worth joining a party. Doing so could open future career opportunities while letting you network with people who hold similar viewpoints to you.
You may even receive advice about how to improve and grow your political campaign. See it as a means of networking, at a minimum.
4. Get Involved In Local Governance
When you’re considering how to start a political career, you’re likely thinking of becoming president or another high-level position. That’s an attractive aspiration.
It’s rare for someone new to politics to get to this without experience in the area. The most recommended way of doing this is by being involved in local governance.
There are more than a few entry-level positions that you could consider. Working in the mayor’s office or governor’s office could be recommended.
You could also consider political action groups and lobbying organizations, especially if they have any low-level positions advertised. Though these may not be your ideal role, they can be a stepping stone to achieving it.
Determining what your dream political position is and figuring out the best path toward this is recommended. While it could take time, it helps you gain the necessary experience and skills needed for your ideal role.
5. Run For Office
Once you’re established in the political community, you’ve built yourself a foundation to build your career. You can consider running for office.
There are countless positions that you could run for, spread across all levels of government. These include:
- State Representative
- City Board Member
It could be worth starting at a local level before increasing your aspirations over time. When you run for office, you’ll need help.
That entails hiring a campaign manager, among others. You’ll also need to raise funds for your campaign, organize it, and oversee everything.
At the local level, this will be more manageable, although it becomes increasingly difficult at national levels.
6. Stay Informed
One of the most important aspects of a political career is staying up-to-date with local, state, and national news. You’ll also need to pay attention to international news.
That doesn’t stop once you’ve gotten into office. You’ll need to continually stay informed, particularly about news that affects your constituents or organization.
You’ll need to do this regardless of what your role is or which political agency you work with.
You’ll also have to focus on the skills you need. These can change over time. There could be new ways to communicate with voters, for example, or spread your lobbying group’s message.
Keeping informed of these and staying up-to-date with all of the skills you need is vital. The same can be said for the tools and resources that you have at your disposal.
How To Start A Political Career: Entry-Level Jobs You Could Consider
Once you know how to start a political career, it’s time to get started on it. You likely wouldn’t be able to jump straight to the top, however.
You’ll have to start with an entry-level role, particularly if you’ve recently graduated from college. There are more than a few of these to choose from, including:
- Social Media Strategists
- Political Scientists
- Data Analysts
- Staff Assistants
Which one you should pick depends on your personal preferences and skill sets. Each entry-level political role can be recommended for a wealth of reasons.
It’s worth spending time debating the pros and cons of each for your specific political career.
What To Keep In Mind When Starting A Political Career
Now that you know how to start a political career, you may be keen to get started. You shouldn’t simply dive straight in, however. You’ll need to keep a few things in mind.
Some of the more notable of these include:
- It’ll be a long and intensive process, especially if you work on campaigns.
- You’ll need to network and find opportunities for yourself.
- Your life could revolve around it, especially during campaign seasons.
- You’ll need to be transparent and hold yourself accountable to employees and voters.
By keeping the above in mind, alongside the steps needed to start a political career, you shouldn’t have a problem breaking into the field.
How To Start A Political Career: Wrapping Up
Figuring out how to start a political career can be complicated. There’s often more to it than expected.
Coupled with the steps to launching a political career, you’ll need to have multiple skills and character traits. Politics isn’t for everyone; you’ll need to be sure that it’s right for you.
If it is, then it can be a rewarding career. There shouldn’t be anything stopping you from getting more involved in politics.