Five political jobs (and how to get them)
Considering a career in politics?
Do you want a hand in the decisions made by local and national governments? Do you want to make your community a better place? Then consider using your skills to shape a career in politics.
Whether you have a politics degree or have transferable skills that you feel make you a strong candidate, here are five political jobs to consider (and our advice on how to get them):
What they do: An aide, sometimes referred to as a political assistant, offers administrative support to an elected politician. The responsibilities of an aide will vary mainly depending on which constituency you’re based in, but may include responding to enquiries from constituents, managing the politician’s diary, scheduling meetings and appointments, writing press releases and assisting with campaigns during the election season.
What you need to do the job: While you don’t necessarily need to be a graduate to become an aide, some employers will prioritise applications from candidates who have a degree in a subject like politics, law or economics. Previous experience in an administrative role, such as a secretary or an administrative assistant, will also help your application stand out.
Perfect for: People who want to assist their community.
Our advice: An interest in politics is essential if you want to become an aide. Either studying politics at college or university or gaining a qualification will help you in your chosen political career path. However, make sure you’re up-to-speed on the latest news and developments too – both for your chosen party, and for the wider political landscape.
What they do: An executive assistant, often abbreviated as EA, provides key administrative support to a politician or a senior manager who works in a political setting. An executive assistant has more responsibility than an aide or an administrator. While the specific tasks of an executive assistant may vary depending on who they work with, they may be responsible for arranging travel, preparing memos, attending meetings, making notes and managing budgets.
What you need to do the job: Many executive assistants start their career in an administrative role like an administrative assistant and work their way up. This enables them to develop a range of soft skills that employers value, like great written and verbal communication, good time management and the ability to make decisions autonomously.
Perfect for: People who love to keep things organised.
Our advice: To help you decide if an executive assistant is the career path you want to choose, consider gaining experience in a similar role or through volunteering with a political group or a charitable organisation. Not only will this help you decide if it’s the right job for you, but the experience will also look great on your CV as well.
What they do: A political risk analyst examines a range of data (e.g., economic data, crime levels, government stability, etc.) using different modeling tools and techniques to calculate risk scores and to make recommendations. Political risk analysts work for a range of organisations, including private-firms, government bodies and NGOs (Non Government Organisations).
What you need to do the job: To become a political risk analyst, you’ll need a degree in a subject like economics, politics or international relations. A Master’s degree will give you a competitive advantage over other candidates and could also help you progress your career faster.
Perfect for: People who like to plan for the future.
Our advice: Working as a political risk analyst is a niche role, and finding a job isn’t just about what you know but also who you know. Find out who the key-decision makers are in the organisations or institutions that you want to work for and connect with them on professional networking sites like LinkedIn. If you studied politics, ask your tutors if they can introduce you to people who may be able to help you get a job or find work experience.
What they do: Overall, the responsibility of a communications manager is to create and maintain a positive image of the political party they work for. Communication is a varied role and tasks will differ from job to job but may include building relationships with the political press, writing press releases and memos, creating a comprehensive communications strategy and organising press launches and events.
What you need to do the job: Some employers will specify that candidates need a degree in marketing, communications or something related. If you don’t have a degree, you can still become a communications manager if you have experience in a similar job such as a journalist, a press officer or if you’ve worked or volunteered in a communications role.
Perfect for: People who like to get the right message across.
Our advice: Employers will be impressed by candidates who can provide examples of communication strategies they’ve created in the past, and press coverage they’ve secured for previous employers. An easy way to show this is with a printed or digital portfolio that contains relevant examples of your work.
What they do: An MP (Member of Parliament) represents the needs and concerns of their constituents (people who live in the area that the MP covers) in parliament. An MP may meet with their constituents to discuss issues they want to be mentioned or debated in parliament. An MP may also organise meetings with other MPs, ask questions at PMQs (Prime Minister’s Questions) and lobby organisations and individuals on behalf of their constituents.
What you need to do the job: No formal qualifications are required to become an MP but you have to be over 18 years old and be a British citizen. Plus, dedication to the party you’re representing and a strong belief in its policies is essential. Personal attributes needed to become an MP include empathy, good listening and communications skills as you may take part in debates. You’ll also need determination and persistence (not to mention actually be voted in).
Perfect for: People who you want to make a positive change.
Our advice: Being an MP isn’t a 9 to 5 job. You’ll probably work long hours and you may have to work on weekends as well. So, you’ll need to decide if this suits your lifestyle. To be positive that being an MP is the career path you want to take, consider volunteering for your chosen political party to get a taste of what being an MP involves.
Ready to love Mondays? Find your perfect politics job now.