Become a Political Campaign Manager: Step-by-Step Career Guide

Find out how to become a political campaign manager. Research the education requirements and learn about the experience you need to advance your career as a political campaign manager.

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Do I Want to Be a Political Campaign Manager?

Political campaign managers oversee politicians' bids for public office. They provide a variety of services, including political consultation, marketing, fundraising and public relations. People in this position often hire, train and coordinate the activities of staff members and volunteers in all aspects of a campaign.

Like many public relations and fundraising managers, political campaign managers often work in an office atmosphere, but nearly half have to work more than 40 hours a week, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS). They might have the rewarding experience of helping a political candidate win an election, but they also have to deal with the stress of such responsibility. The BLS also stated that all public relations and fundraising managers earned over $95,000 in May 2012.

Job Requirements

Managers typically possess a bachelor's degree or higher and many years of experience with political campaigns. The following table outlines the main requirements for political campaign managers according to October 2012 online job postings:

Common Requirements
Degree Level Bachelor's degree
Degree Fields Campaign management, political science or a related field
Experience Several years of experience on political campaigns
Key Skills Excellent written and oral communication skills, ability to manage stressful situations, organization, ability to multi-task and work within a team
Additional Requirements Ability to work long hours, nights and weekends

Step 1: Earn a Bachelor's Degree

Aspiring political campaign managers can pursue a degree in political science, campaign management or related field. Classes in these programs give students vital insight into the inner workings of the American political systems and will cover political parties, political analysis and politics in the media. Advanced political science or campaign management courses might teach students how to interpret voter behavior, decipher polls and execute campaign strategies.

Success Tips:

  • Become a campus leader. By heading a student organization, aspiring campaign managers can develop their leadership skills and learn about delegating tasks, operating a budget and communicating with outside groups.
  • Consider postgraduate courses. Postgraduate programs in political campaign management are also available. Courses typically focus on skills specific to the role, such as running a campaign office, advertising for candidates and understanding legislative affairs.

Step 2: Participate in an Internship or Volunteer

While some degree programs may offer internships in a campaign office, all students can start their career by volunteering for a campaign. Volunteers and interns may contact voters, assist with fundraising and conduct office duties. These jobs can help students find paid positions, build their skills and make political contacts.

Step 3: Gain Work Experience

Political campaigns typically have several entry-level positions available, such as volunteer coordinator, fundraiser or scheduler. Campaign workers who demonstrate an ability to handle demanding assignments may be promoted to supervisory or consultant positions, eventually advancing to the role of campaign manager.

Success Tip:

  • Join a professional organization. Groups like the American Association of Political Consultants provide networking opportunities, continuing education, award programs and other services for political workers.
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