The Guide to Becoming a Campaign Manager

Have you ever watched cable news, especially during campaign season, and thought, 'I wouldn't have told

igning” src=”http://smallbusinessowner.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/12/campaigning.jpg” alt=”” width=”380″ height=”285″ />senator to release that statement'? Have you ever questioned the motivations behind what certain politicians say or do, thought about press relations when it came to politics, or the various strategies campaigns use to reach the public, or certain demographics? The world of campaigning is a fascinating one, and a good campaign manager possesses a unique awareness of it. If you're interested in the issues that motivate people to vote, and you have a passion for helping politicians that share your views succeed, a career in campaign management could be both prestigious and rewarding. But how do you get there?

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1. Volunteer

Many people get into campaign management simply by rising through the ranks of campaigns, and this means starting out as a volunteer. Campaigns are always looking for volunteers, or your college might have access to several interesting internship options. Once you're on the ground floor, you should always work hard and get yourself noticed. This is why it's important to volunteer when it's not the middle of a big election, too – you have much more of a chance to stand out and be heard, and when permanent jobs become available, you will be at the top of the list.

2. Diversify Your Skills

Some of the biggest campaign managers in the country have a long and varied work history, which started out in grassroots organizations or voter education. If you get a permanent job working for a politician, it could be in anything – volunteer recruiting, fundraising, or general administrative work. Think of it as your chance to learn everything you can about the campaign process, and to prove you can work a demanding job. Campaign managers typically work very long hours on strict deadlines and have to juggle many different things at once. Building experience under pressure is the best way to be a great one.

3. Build Contacts

Anyone involved in politics knows that the first rule in getting ahead is being a likable person. Get familiar with everyone involved in the campaign, from the treasurer, to the press secretary, to the candidate herself. Introduce yourself and show your enthusiasm for the cause, and make sure you are readily available to help out when a member of the campaign staff needs it. Advancing in a campaign setting is just like advancing in an office. Be the person everyone wants to know and everyone knows they can rely on. Being a campaign manager is not that different from being the person campaigning. You still have to know how to deal with difficult people, naysayers, and underpaid staff who need a leader. It takes a certain kind of personality as much as it takes a certain skill set.

4. Have Ideas

Before you can work on getting them heard, you actually have to have opinions on how you think the campaign should be run. Don't be aggressive or undermine people in higher positions than you, but if you have a chance to say, 'What about doing it this way?' you should take it. Campaign managers need to have vision, and if you can show you're capable of looking at the election as a whole and developing smart strategies, it will put you ahead of the game.

Working on a campaign can be tedious and overwhelming, but if you're truly passionate about the candidate and the issues they represent, there is no job more satisfying. If you're willing to put in the work to get experience on the campaign trail, then you can become a great campaign manager. Then you won't just be watching cable news, you'll be living it.

About the Author

Amy Farnsworth is a full-time writer for higher ed blogs and journals nationwide. Several schools offer online masters in political management including George Washington and Boston University.

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