For your first job in politics, it’s important to persevere
I can’t remember how many jobs and internships I applied for before I got my foot on the ladder. Make sure you have something concrete to demonstrate your interest in politics and justify a career. For example, volunteer with your local MP or charity – they always need help. We get lots of CVs from people who want to work in politics, but don’t have anything on their CV that qualifies that.
Chris Fairbank, senior political consultant at Dods Monitoring
2. Remember your interviewer may have different political views to your own
Unless you’re interviewing for a role with a particular party, always bear this in mind. I have heard of Tory colleagues who met interviewees telling them how evil their party is, which didn’t sit well. When talking about politics in these sorts of interviews, try to think more like a BBC journalist, offering a fair assessment rather than partisan attack.
Wil Barber, consultant for Hanover Communications
3. Make sure you don’t just apply for anything and everything
Tailor your applications to what your CV is showing – apply for jobs with MPs whose interests are closely aligned with your own and where you can really show you will bring value. In terms of standing out – I’d say the more experience (unpaid or paid) you can demonstrate in this area, the better.
Louise Thompson, lecturer in British politics at the University of Surrey
4. Further education vs work experience
For working in politics, unless you want to be an academic I’m not convinced getting another degree is better than getting work experience. To find relevant work experience think about where you would like to end up professionally and do some research about who is working in that field – then contact them asking for information and work experience.
Ed Davie, councillor in the London Borough of Lambeth
5. Don’t send out blanket CVs and cover letters
Try to personalise your CV to the job role you are applying to and tell them why you want to work for them. If a recruiter reads a generic CV they can tell instantly, so try to make it relevant to the role.
Hayley Stovold, head of content for CV app and career site Jobulo
6. Remember it often takes years to develop a full-time career in politics
This is especially true if you are thinking at a national level. Many prospective candidates spend several elections in unsuccessful seats until they are given the nod for something attainable. Working for an MP is a great way to be in with a party and if this is not something you enjoy, then working in public affairs would be your best next option – many of our candidates have stood for election at some point in some capacity (local, national, European).
Joshua Clements, managing consultant at Electus
7. For jobs in local politics, get involved in as many community events as you can
Speak to local councillors or political groups and ask if they would like help or support on a particular local matter. This is a good way to build a local politics network. Every local area has a solid core of strong community groups that work for the good of their area and they are always a good place to start if you want to make changes in your community.
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