I Want to Work in … Politics
Becoming a politician is far from being the only way into a career in politics. There are many opportunities related to politics, and many of them do not require a politics degree.
What you will need is an interest in politics and (for work with a political party and for public affairs consultancy) some grassroots involvement in local or student politics.
Types of work involving politics usually involve one or (often) more of the following:
- Fast Stream (including House of Commons/Lords Clerk)
Local Government administrator
See the Prospects Sector Briefing: Local, Regional and National Government for background to these employers and the roles they offer www.prospects.ac.uk/links/GovernmentSB
You may also find our more general page “I Want to Work in the Public Sector”www.kent.ac.uk/careers/sitesgov.htm useful
- Civil Service research posts – only arise occasionally; you are likely to need a postgraduate degree.
- House of Commons Library Clerk – These are not librarians! They provide an information and research service to MPs
- Academic teaching and research – you will definitely need a postgraduate degree
- MP’s researcher
- Party research departments
- Trades unions
PROFILE: Political Researcher
INVOLVES: Monitoring the press, Hansard etc. Researching background to political issues & campaigns, Writing reports. Assisting with constituency business. General gofering.
Communication and persuasion
- Civil Service: the Government Communication Network www.comms.gov.uk is responsible for public and media relations, linking communications staff in all Government departments. Relevant experience is usually required to apply for posts with the GCN.
- Political party agent - organising and supporting a party at constituency level and promoting the party and its representatives. The largest parties occasionally recruit graduates as trainee party organisers/agents.
- Public affairs consultant ( Lobbyist) See the Prospects Occupational Profile on this career at www.prospects.ac.uk/links/AffConsult
See the Prospects Occupational Profiles on this career at www.prospects.ac.uk/links/PubJournal
Unlikely to be a graduate’s first career post and one that usually lacks any job security!
How to Become an MP
- Electoral Comission www.electoralcommission.org.uk/faq/candidates/how-do-i-find-out-about-standing-as-a-candidate
- Mirror Newspapers www.mirror.co.uk/news/top-stories/2009/05/21/how-to-become-an-mp-115875-21376281/
- Independent MP http://theindependentmp.org.uk/how_to_become_an_mp.html
- Conservative Women's Organisation www.conservativewomen.org.uk/howto_candidate.asp
- Operation Black Votewww.obv.org.uk runs a scheme for Black and minority ethnic graduates to shadow MPs. The site carries reports from this year’s “shadows”.
Many jobs combine two or more of these elements. Most of them recruit from any degree subject .... although an interest in and enthusiasm for politics will help
Other information resources
- Books – all available from the Careers Service Reception Desk
- Directory of political lobbying (Justin Johnson, Politico’s Publishing, 2002) – list of political consultancies, their staff and clients
- Politico’s Guide to Careers in Politics & Government (Sally Gillman, Politico’s Publishing, 2001). Covers all the areas mentioned above plus a few more – including actually being a politician
- Politico’s Guide to Political Lobbying (Charles Miller, Politico’s Publishing, 2000). Background to “the dark arts of lobbying”
- What can I do with my degree in Politics? www.kent.ac.uk/careers/Politics.htm
- PPS Group www.ppsgroup.co.uk public affairs consultancy (with a graduate training programme) whose website has an excellent links section
- University of Keele www.psr.keele.ac.uk/area/uk.htm their Area Studies page for the UK gives over 1000 links to political parties, local councils, the Houses of Parliament, Scottish Parliament, Welsh Assembly and their members
- The British Politics Page www.ukpolitics.org.uk
- He can compress the most words into the smallest idea of any man I know - Abraham Lincoln
- He has all the virtues I dislike and none of the vices I admire - Winston Churchill
- A modest little person, with much to be modest about - Winston Churchill
- He has sat on the fence so long that the iron has entered his soul - David Lloyd George
- Working for a MP www.w4mp.org Advice and job adverts. Also includes think tanks, lobby groups etc.
- The House magazine www.housemag.co.uk Features on politics and policy, and occasional job adverts. You need to subscribe to read the articles online but the magazine is available in the Templeman Library
- Political Studies Association www.psa.ac.uk
- Electus Start www.electus-start.com "the essential guide to a career in politics and public affairs in the UK and European Union", offering information and advice about careers, job vacancies, courses and CV/interview technique.
- The Interns’ Network – a guide to working in politics www.internsnetwork.org.uk
- Interns Anonymous http://internsanonymous.co.uk forum for interns to share their experiences and discuss the ethics of unpaid employment
- UK Parliament www.parliament.gov.uk - information and factsheets
- Political Jobs www.politicaljobs.net - jobs in political parties, political consultancies, parliaments and senates worldwide and political campaigning jobs (you need to subscribe to access most of these). Also links to think-tanks worldwide.
- Policy Jobs www.policyjobs.net - job advertising website specialising in public policy jobs and internships worldwide. Covers research, policy making, and academic jobs in many fields including: foreign policy, economics, social policy, family policy, legal affairs and fiscal policy.
- PubAffairs www.pubaffairs.org Network for public affairs practitioners. Includes a guide to working in public affairs and a list of consultancies that may recruit graduates
- Public Affairs Links www.publicaffairslinks.co.uk information on careers working with the government in public affairs/lobbying, plus a regularly updated vacancy list.
Last fully updated 2011