Long before I started my career in public relations, I worked in many political campaigns–both volunteer and paid positions. These jobs enhanced my resume, and got the attention of Democrat and Republican hiring managers who also had played roles in political campaigns. However, don’t do what one unsuccessful applicant did. She wore a political button to her job interview with me. Like other prospective bosses, I prefer seeing political experience on resumes, not lapels.
In the U.S., you don’t have to pick sides in the current Presidential campaign in order to gain a meaningful volunteer experience. There are thousands of local elections and referenda that welcome volunteers. It’s safe to say there is an issue for everyone’s point of view.
It’s easy to get involved in U.S. Presidential campaigns of John McCain and Barack Obama. Simply go to the Republican National Committee’s Volunteer Website to volunteer for Senator McCain’s campaign, or go to Sen. Obama’s website to volunteer for his campaign.
Ideally, you can become involved in a campaign that permits you to help write press releases, phone-bank messages and other PR-related materials. But you also might find yourself doing the grut work like staffing phone banks and stuffing envelopes. Nevertheless, the experience is fun and personally rewarding. Importantly, you gain intern-quality “credit” on your resume.