During a visit to Washington, D.C. last week, I met a number of public relations professionals who are engaged in a variety of exciting jobs related to the political process. They love what they’re doing–ranging from agency public affairs jobs to lobbyists and Capitol Hill staffers.
Like the late Tim Russert and Tony Snow whose careers were launched by doing PR for Washington politicos, several of the people I met began working for their congressmen or hometown officials. Russert and Snow moved from politics to media, and Snow moved back to politics when he became press secretary to the President after a highly successful stint as the first anchor of Fox News Sunday. They helped popularize politics and demonstrated that good people, indeed, are involved on both sides of the political aisle.
During this election year, many volunteer or low-paying positions are opening in local, state, and national campaigns. These jobs lead to bigger opportunities. Five years ago, my son was introduced to the chief of staff for an Illinois congressman which turned into an unpaid internship that eventually lead to an excellent, paid staff position that he loves. Getting involved can be as easy as walking into a campaign headquarters, but it is even better if a politically involved friend or relative makes the introduction.
To find the name and contact information for your congressman and local officials, I recommend an easy-to-navigate website: www.congress.org
Don’t limit yourself to your own congressman. If you have passion for a particular cause or issue, spend some Google time determining the names of officials who share your point of view. Local political headquarters also offer walk-on job opportunities–both paid and unpaid–that help build a strong resume.