How to get an Internship in Politics! | The Intern Queen
How to Be a Political Intern
For young individuals interested in pursuing a career in politics, an internship at any level of government, or volunteer work on a political campaign, can be an interesting and informative experience and résumé booster. Read on to find out how to excel in a position like this.
Get the position.Write to local politicians that you admire and see if they have any internships or volunteer positions available. Even if you're only in high school, prepare a simple résumé with your extracurricular activities, any prior work or volunteer experiences, etc. Keep it simple to avoid looking pompous or overzealous, unless you feel the situation calls for something more thorough and formal.
- If you have a connection of any sort, this is a great time to make use of it! If your uncle was a major booster to this politician during his or her last campaign, have him send the official a call or email about how great of an addition you'd be. It can really work wonders.
- Ensure that you clearly lay out the amount of work you'd be able to put in. If volunteers are sparse at the office, they'd likely appreciate any efforts you can put in, even if they're only after school, during days off, and during breaks. If there is actually competitive selection of interns, though, then you don't wish to surprise your boss by announcing you'd only be able to work a quarter of the time that they expected.
Interview, if need be.Lower-level offices (say, for state representatives in the United States) will often be chomping at the bit for volunteers and interns and thus will schedule an interview to check that you're all there and that you're committed to the cause (if they schedule one at all). Higher-level offices, though, may have more stringent and difficult interviews that you'd have to sit through before joining the team.
- If you don't succeed at this step, don't worry. Brush up on your interviewing skills, and contact another local government official. If you do succeed, though, carry on with the following steps.
Get close to those around you in the office.You may be dismayed to learn that in many larger political offices, you're not likely to see the person you're working for very much at all- as they'll typically be tending to various tasks. If you can manage to meet them enough to establish a rapport with them, that's superb. Otherwise, befriend the other individuals in your office, interns or otherwise. Not only will this make your time more bearable, but it will also help you to make meaningful connections that will help you if you pursue a career in politics.
- You'll need to ensure you gain trust early on. This means no jokes about writing tell-all memoirs about your time at the office or quips about leaking a story to the press.
Work to establish yourself as an individual willing to take on all tasks.Never say no to a reasonable job given to you, whether it be filing, computer work, answering phones, or anything else.
Be curious within reason, but remember that listening is much more useful than talking as an intern.Unless the individuals who you work with are particularly stern, don't be afraid to ask a clarifying question or two when sensitive political information is being discussed. Remember, though, to be careful with the information you find out- to ensure trust is maintained it should never leave the office.
Get to local events, if you can.Interns will often have the opportunity to march in parades and participate in similar events on weekends and holidays. Though you're likely to be holding a sign or banner with your boss's name on it, gatherings like these can serve as exciting opportunities to rub elbows with community leaders.
Make connections.Though being haughty is not a quality of a good political intern, don't be afraid to tell people you meet (even important politicians) your name and who you intern for. A well-made connection can turn out to be an endorsement in a campaign of yours ten or twenty years down the line.
- Be cognizant of the political stances of local officials when considering who you'd wish to work for. You may not in good faith be able to work for a social conservative if you consider yourself a staunch liberal.
- Take projects home, if you can. Completing spreadsheet work is something you can do during the school year without even having to actually go into the office. Additionally, this will help to demonstrate that you're a committed volunteer who's always willing to help.
- Seriously, don't get haughty. Save that for when you're actually elected to something.
- Being the intern that doesn't say "no" to anything can only be taken to a certain logical endpoint.If you are being harassed, sexually or otherwise, or higher-ups are attempting to coerce you into any forms of behavior you're uncomfortable with, you have the right to say no, and to cease your volunteer work and notify proper authorities if you feel sufficiently uncomfortable.
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