Written by Dylan Reed, Coordinator – The Engalitcheff Institute on Comparative Political and Economic Systems
Can interning on a political campaign really help your career? Simply put: yes! We are here to discuss what you would be doing on a campaign and how it can benefit you down the road.
Campaigns, no matter the size, always need many people to be successful. Some responsibilities include:
- Canvassing door-to-door
- Phone banking
- Organizing broader volunteer efforts
- Helping to develop Get-Out-The-Vote (GOTV) measures
TomManatosjobs.com, a well-respected forum for insight into finding jobs on Capitol Hill, offers good a perspective into working a campaign. The site discusses that most first-time campaigners will start as canvassers, but you can play to your personal strengths. Campaigns need people to make phone calls and do stationary or door-to-door canvassing. As a stationary canvasser, you will stand in a high pedestrian traffic area, and be prepared to attract citizens with a good hook. Door-to-door efforts include developing and rallying support for your candidate in identified communities.
Since campaigns are part-time stints, how can you turn this into a full-time job? Working on a campaign is a great way to find a position in an elected official’s office. Politicians want to have trusted individuals in their office, so campaign staffers are frequently hired on full-time after a campaign concludes. Even in a losing campaign, you can make a good name for yourself by working hard and impressing the campaign staff. Proving yourself in a campaign setting could lead to a good recommendation and a job down the road.
There are many other benefits to a campaign internship. Campaigns (and you) need to be prepared to answer questions about a wide array of policy issues. Other internships are typically policy-specific, so this is a great opportunity to work in an environment with multiple issue areas. Jacqueline Ortiz Ramsay, a former campaign staffer for the 2008 Obama-Biden campaign, details the benefits and reasons for joining campaigns such as gaining hands-on experience, learning how to operate in a fast-paced setting, and having the opportunity to network with a wide group of people.
Whether you are an aspiring politico or looking for great skills to add to your resume, interning on a political campaign is a great start!