My Education: BA, Political Science & Communication Studies, UCLA MSc, Politics and Communication, London School of Economics
My Prior Experience: This is my first full-time job. I previously worked as a research associate for professors in London and Los Angeles, and worked as a student journalist for several daily newspapers.
My Company: I work at a ballot measure consulting firm that specializes in ballot measures, initiatives, referenda and other communication issues.
Job/Career Overview: Being a political consultant is challenging and stressful, but it's also a highly rewarding career.
One of my core responsibilities is keeping up with local and national news stories. Every morning when I wake up and every night before I go to bed, I search news clippings to make sure that there haven't been any major developments in the political arena that my boss doesn't already know about. I also have to routinely check government databases for things like campaign finance filings, court rulings, and public record releases. Staying informed and on top of the issues is absolutely critical in this industry.
My job also requires a lot of writing and editing. My boss will give presentations or send memos to clients and potential clients, and I'll help write and edit the final versions.
My office becomes most exciting during campaign season. Despite the 10 (or even 13) hour days, I get to help write TV or social media advertisements that will be seen by millions of people.
I rate this career 8 out of 10.
The best part of my career is knowing that I am shaping public policy issues and laws that will probably impact my children and my children's children. It's also a very interesting, fast-paced job that allows me to learn about a diverse range of issues that interest me.
Some of the downsides of my career include the long hours and the stressful work environment. It also lacks some dependability -- if our firm doesn't get any campaigns for an extended period, my job could be in jeopardy.
Read newspapers, magazines or blogs every day to know what's happening where you live and around the world.
Refine your writing skills. The ability to write well is critical in this industry. In addition to English classes, a journalism class or two will help you write in a concise, informative way.
Consider interning for a political leader, political organization or public policy think tank. This experience is a great way to meet people and get your foot in the door. It will also look great on your resume.