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I want to become a Political Consultant, what steps should I take to pursue that career?


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Kim’s Answer

Janell,

To become a consultant, you will have to develop a reputation for being accurate in your assessments. I think you should get involved in politics at the ground level - work on voter registration drives, join campaigns, etc., go to political functions. Much of politics is about networking. As to schooling, consultants tend to work with statistics, so I think you should gain a solid understanding of statistics. Beyond that, I'm not sure which way to go. There seems to be an element of marketing, and communications, tied to this position. I don't know if anyone offers a particular major in it. If not, you will need to design your own! Try to find successful political consultants in your area, and see if they will be willing to talk with you.

Sorry I was not of more help. Hopefully this has helped a little. Best of luck!
Kim

PS (for David)
I have not done much since retiring. I'm not truly a social person, and networking is extremely difficult for me. In my college days, I managed to get involved in party politics at the local level, getting selected to go to the senatorial convention from my local neighborhood precinct. I did block-walking and phone banks, and even painted banners for the convention (I doubt they do that anymore!) We formed a "Young Democrats" club on campus, and invited candidates to speak. We gathered signatures to help candidates get on the ballot. Once I became an officer, I used my knowledge and experience to help the police association, securing pay increases, training, and other things to improve morale and professionalism. Our little group (50 officers) went up against national unions who were trying to be the sole voice of employees. And prevailed! I really have not interacted much with consultants - I'm more of a sideline observer!

It's possible I misunderstood the question. I was thinking about campaign consultants. There is a whole different aspect, which would be more along the line of advisors. A possible position here would be the US Foreign Service, working at the embassies. It's extremely competitive to get in. The entrance exam is difficult. Somehow I failed the English section, even though I was an A/B student and did well on the ACT and GRE. If that is the direction you are going, I would strongly recommend learning grammar! It also tests your knowledge of world history, arts, culture, etc.

Whatever direction you are going, I would strongly encourage you to keep current in your technological skills and use of social media!

Kim

Hi Kim! Thank you so much for the amazing advice that you gave Janell above. I had a few additional questions I wanted to ask myself. 1. Just out of curiosity, how have you yourself networked over the years as a retired police officer? 2. If there isn't a particular major, do you know of any websites or concrete resources/websites available to help with the role? 3. Has your role in law enforcement given you any unique perspectives on how political consultants are chosen/used? Any additional info you may have would be greatly appreciated! Thanks so much! -David David Ohta COACH

David, I edited my answer, above, to incorporate most of your questions. Thanks! Kim Igleheart

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Victoria’s Answer

Janell, I'd like to share a piece of advice I got and followed that served me well and it's simple: get some political experience and work on a campaign. The reality is that there can be a disconnect between drawing conclusions from news stories and election data and actually being a part of the work of politics. Understanding how campaigns make their choices on messaging, which voters to target and how to use volunteers can mean actually volunteering or working to work phone banks and canvasses. It's not as glamorous but the work is really illuminating. Doing that work provides insight and credibility that's invaluable as your progress in your career. Good luck!

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