If you’re googling ‘how to start a career in politics’ then you probably fancy making a difference to the world. Or you’re a budding despot. Either way, you want a career in politics.
In that case, join a political party! In as much as it may seem straightforward, it’s not.
Politics involves much more. You have to get some solid support for your candidacy, do lots of networking, campaign, and hopefully get elected. Does it look that simple now? It depends. How much do you want it?
How to Start a Career in Politics Now
Politics just never stops. You have to do lots of leafleting, canvassing, volunteering, just to get your name known. When it comes to climbing the hierarchical ladder, it may boil down to whom you know and not necessarily what you know. So start knowing people.
Does that mean that if you are not a member of the Bush dynasty or Kennedy clan, it might be challenging to get into the career? Yes. But since most of us are not from these political clans or families, we can use other paths to politics. So is there a distinct path to a political career? I believe so.
It involves building connections from the bottom and working your way up the political class. Remember, whichever path you select, it’s all about hard work. Be ready to get many doors slammed in your face. You may have to shake several hands in your journey to politics. The following are useful tips to get you on track in politics.
Before and while you’re on this quest of how to start a career in politics, why not read some of the top books on the game:
- Prisoners of Geography – 10 maps that tell you everything you need to know about global politics
- Fire and Fury – A Story of Trump’s White House
- Putin’s People | How the KGB took back Russia and took on the West
How to Start a Career in Politics – The 5 Steps to World Domination
1. Be Ready to Learn through Volunteering
Look at this as an internship. If you want to learn about politics, you need to surround yourself with politicians. It doesn’t matter which stage it is. It could be your local school board, congress, presidential campaign. These campaigns will gladly take in any volunteers since there is much work to be done on the ground.
This is quite simple. Just walk into any political party headquarters and ask to be a volunteer. There is a high chance they will take you. Although you may start doing menial jobs like making phone calls, or crusading around the neighborhood, do your job well, and you may get more responsibilities.
Canvassing is a core skill of any budding politician. Knocking on people’s doors and being told to Foxtrot Oscar, it’s certainly going to build you a thick skin and at least learn how to think on your feet. Get some comfortable shoes and a gum-shield maybe.
2. Join a political party
This may look like a short cut to knowing essential people. And yes, it is. Politics is all about connections. You can accelerate this by running for a position on your local party board. This could be a third party, Republicans, or Democrats. Just get a seat at the party.
Depending on the state, garnering for a party seat may require you to be elected. Whether you get the position or not, this is a learning process. If you get to become a political party leader, this is an important milestone in your political journey. In some cases, you may be required to vet nominees for primaries, elections, and maybe screen candidates for the party.
3. Develop Political Skills
This aspect is critical, especially if your political ambitions start early. These skills include public speaking, research, and communication skills. Possessing excellent communication skills, both written and oral, is significant in your political journey. This is because you will be required to read the legislation, press releases, draft proposals, and more.
Honing these skills early, especially on campus, is essential. Joining public speaking classes or forums can help you convince people to vote as you sell your agenda. I also advocate for people with political ambitions to learn research skills. Why? It enables you to understand the political landscape you are seeking office.
For instance, analyzing research information can guide you in areas you need to focus on. These could be counties that you have the lowest rating? Identifying the core issues that residents want to be addressed? And more. Do you see how the ability to analyze such information would be beneficial to a politician? So you can start polishing these skills now to be a more efficient politician.
4. Contribute money to political causes
Have you heard of the saying money can buy access? Now you know. So if you have plenty of funds, why not use this strategy?
It’s an open secret the most prominent donors have access to political candidates. In politics, this is the law. The more you give to a politician, the more you can influence policy.
How to start a career in politics though if you don’t have funds? Relax, you can start with little. The politician may notice your contribution and make you an ally.
Also, you can begin political action groups to support your favourite candidates. And that’s another way to make political connections. You don’t need to be George Soros or Big Tobacco to build bridges.
5. Run for office
You can start small. This can be the local town council or school board. There is a saying that “all politics is local.” By checking the statistics, you will notice most politicians in big offices started their politics at the local level. Starting small is an excellent way to kick start your political journey while learning.
I know when you googled, “How to start a career in politics” we would aim straight for the Oval Office, but you’ve got to take it in manageable chunks.
Consider the position you want to run for, depending on your political goals. For instance, if you are passionate about education reforms, a seat that influences that sector would be a good start. This way, if you deliver, it can be a plus in your political resume.
Similarly, depending on the position, ensure you prepare adequately. This aspect could entail conducting fundraising early. This is because campaigns can be costly in terms of both time and money. Before starting your campaigns, make sure to clean up any damaging things that may ruin your reputation.
This includes social media. Remove anything that may be used against you by your competitors or upset potential voters. This ties in quite nicely with another how-to we have here – how to start a new life.
Get rid of any minor infractions; otherwise, they may creep up in competitive campaigns. Or just do like these guys…
The Bottom Line of how to start a career in politics
Politics is a demanding job. So be prepared to sacrifice a lot of time and money. Remember, it’s a long road. If you want a paid position, it will most likely go to the person who volunteers during the campaigns. Also, if you want to rise the hierarchy fast, you need to show passion for the people as well as politics.