How To Start A Career In Politics

Politics is often seen as a calling more than a profession. People who become politicians feel that they are called to serve their constituents and their country.

However, whatever even the most evangelical and visionary politician might say, politics is still a career and a profession. It is not simply a calling. 

However, if you want a career in politics, you might be wondering – where on earth do you start? How do you become involved in a career that might seem out of place with your upbringing or life? 

This article will answer exactly how to start a career in politics and what steps you need to take in order to achieve your goal. 

How To Start A Career In Politics – Start Early

One of the favorite aphorisms of US President John F Kennedy when asked about how to get started in politics was to say – start early. 

What he meant by this was that if you want to succeed in political life you need to get involved as soon as possible, whether it be for a competitive election or merely for getting involved with a local political group or party. 

If you want to become an elected representative, then you need to get involved as soon as possible because to get noticed in politics you need to have a proven record even from an early age. 

You might be wondering how you can do this if you have no one in your family who has any experience of politics or is getting on in politics.

The answer is simple – in this internet age, starting early means getting involved in local political action groups; joining online forums and groups to meet people who have similar political beliefs or opinions to you.

It means leafleting for local candidates and getting involved in both national and regional campaigns. Of course, whilst these activities are great, they don’t actually get you into the corridors of power.

The next step once you feel comfortable in being active in different political groups is to try and get some experience of the cut and thrust of a political career – ideally through an internship. 

Getting Yourself An Internship 

Internships are excellent ways to get yourself started on being a politician.

Senators and Representatives, both state and local, are often keenly looking out for young people to join their staff to become involved in the political process. 

Getting an internship can be tough and seem like it is almost impossible.

However, if you work hard at getting contacts through engaging with other members of your party on a local level you should be able to have a good chance of getting an internship. 

If you get an internship interview and are successful then you may have to work either for free or on a part time basis.

This is because the budgets for employing staff are often constrained not only by how much money a campaign gains but also how much can be realistically spent on employing staff without it affecting other business that the Congressperson or Senator might be involved with. 

Yet by getting an internship you will get an insight into the very heart of the political system and soon be able to navigate your way through it with ease.

Politics is often just as much about who you know as it is about what you know.

Once you have served an internship in a political office with other people who are as interested in politics as you, then you will be certain to have gained a further step forward in becoming a true politician. 

However, getting yourself an internship is only the start – then the next thing you need to do is to get a fulltime job involved with the political process or at least adjacent to it. 

Getting A Full-Time Political Job 

After you’ve had an internship (or even if you don’t as some people don’t get internships but do get full time political work) it is important that your next step is to get good credentials in a full-time political job.

Now some politicians prefer to do jobs such as lawyers or doctors before they enter politics, however those are often people who are somewhat undecided about their future. 

If you are certain you want to become a politician, it is best that you get involved as soon as you can.

Now the best ways to get a full-time political job are to either become a full-time staffer, work in a think tank or be employed by a lobbying group. 

All of these types of jobs are excellent means of gaining further contacts and political experience which will help when you eventually want to stand for your party’s nomination in an election.

The best job to get is of course that of a full-time staffer, however if you aren’t able to get that then working for a think tank or a lobbying group are equally effective. 

Getting Elected 

If you want to have a career as a politician, sooner or later you need to get elected. Elections can be tricky, particularly if you have never been a candidate before.

However, by working hard by getting an internship then working as a staffer or at a think tank or lobbying firm then you will be much more prepared for the rough and tumble world of political discourse. 

Getting elected might seem like only the beginning of your career, depending on which office you are standing for election.

However, it is also the end of your journey to start your career in politics and one which you should feel proud of achieving. 

Why It Is Important To Know How To Get Started In Politics 

Politics is, at the end of the day, a very tricky business. You can feel at times as if events are overtaking you or that you are not in control of your own actions or the actions of your party. 

However, it is ultimately a very rewarding profession which allows you to properly serve your constituents and to represent your area and country. 


So hopefully the article will have shown you that it is possible to start a career in politics regardless of your background and that if you want to become a politician you should start your journey to elected office straight away.

Jamie Willis
Career Specialist at BecomeopediaHi, my name is Jamie Willis, and I have been helping students find their perfect internships and education paths for the last ten years. It is a passion of mine, and there really is nothing better than seeing students of mine succeed with further studies.

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