Lauren Watt, a blogger from our MEDIA programme has used her research skills to find out everything you need to know about pursuing a career in politics and government.
The first thing to ask yourself is why you want a job in politics and government. Because it will give you an understanding of where your skills might fit in the political eco-system and the government institution as a whole. Politics can open doors for careers in political work, social/political research, journalism, HR, and Marketing. You have to be stubborn, determined and most of all be able to take criticism in this type of career choice.
This blog will show you ways to build up your CV and what types of websites to look at to find career opportunities in this sector.
Know your subject matter
Having a degree in Politics helps, though it is not a must. If you can, take classes that help you understand the political system and what type of language and writing is used for the topic. Topics such as Business, Law and Education, for example. That’s not to say you can’t break into politics with a degree in another discipline, but keeping abreast of current affairs and have an overall knowledge of the landscape will benefit you in the long run.
Get involved in student activism
With all applications, having experience added to your CV will benefit you. It will show you have determination and skills that could help towards the job you are applying for. Being a student is the perfect time to join societies and clubs and demonstrate your activism and leadership. Queen’s offer plenty of opportunities to join political campaigns throughout your university experience. Attending events at the start of the year such as Fresher’s Fair – which starts at Queen’s in late September – will be the time to find clubs that best suit your interests.
Engage in the local community
As well as university clubs, there are plenty of events outside of University to get involved in. Use social media to find local events, clubs and societies in our community. Campaigning is a good route to get into politics. It can be a long way round but attending these types of community events helps give a broader understanding and knowledge of what is happening around you.
Use events to network, push yourself out there and get outside your comfort zone. Working on public speaking is a must when working in politics. Community events are a good platform to practice public speeches and you will constantly need to improve. So, keep practicing, and join civic organisations to gain further confidence.
With networking, gaining, and retaining relationships with others is an important aspect. In politics, you will be a part of campaigns, fundraisings and working with the media. You will need to have these contacts for support and guidance.
Seek Careers Guidance
As always, sometimes just asking the Careers Service at Queen’s can be as beneficial as researching yourself. It saves time, they can find you the best opportunities or contacts to speak to. And also, they can just make everything simpler. Constantly keep an eye out for opportunities on the University’s Careers page for anything around politics and other volunteer events.
Keep your options open
Politicians are the most known type of job in politics. And it can sometimes take years to create an opportunity in that career path, but don’t give up. It is easier to box yourself in to that one role but remember that there are multiple different opportunities in politics and government. From political to marketing. Gain information on the types of roles and find out what they look for, and if they will suit you. Not having a definite role is not a bad thing, it leaves you open to opportunities. The unexpected role might turn out to be what suits you best.
Undergrads – the SU are looking for next year’s Course Reps!
Hear all the reasons why you should volunteer from some current Course Reps, including:
- Meeting new people from your course & school
- Gaining transferable leadership, communication & teamwork skills
- Improving the experience for current & future students
Find out if there’s a role available on your course and volunteer by 9pm, Sunday 9 May at qubsu.org