5 ways of gaining experience in politics

Thinking about working in politics? Want to get some first had experience of what its like to work in the world of politics? Here are 5 ways to get involved:

Become an intern

Many political organisations recruit interns for a fixed period; this is an ideal way to gain practical knowledge, skills and training in your chosen field. Completing an internship looks great on your CV and is often a useful ‘foot in the door’ to gaining full time employment in the organisation you are interning for. Internships can be paid or unpaid and usually last between 3 and 12 months. Most unpaid internships provide allowances for travel and lunch. Good places to look for political internships include the Parliament website, YouElect jobs Pages and W4MP.

Most internship placements receive a large number of applications so it’s really important that your CV is as up to date and as detailed as possible and that your application explains clearly and persuasively why you want to work in politics. You can find more information about writing a good application on the Guardian Careers website

Start your own campaign

Starting your own campaign might sound like a challenge but it will help you to develop many of the skills needed to be successful in the world of politics whilst giving you the opportunity to work towards something you feel passionate about. When running a campaign you will need to think about the best ways to promote your cause, from public events to social media. Gaining momentum for your campaign will involve talking to people on all levels, including members of the public and your local MP. You could start your campaign by setting up a social media page or by starting a petition.

More details about how to deliver a successful campaign can be found here.

Volunteer for a political party

Being part of a political party will help you to gain experience at a grass roots level and will open up opportunities for you to get involved in a variety of different aspects of political work, from rallying support for local party candidates to promoting party work and policies on social media. Volunteering for a political party is a great way of meeting other like-minded people and networking with others who are more established in their political careers. Many MPs start their political careers in this way.

If you are interested in getting more involved with a local branch of your preferred political party, details of how to volunteer are available on party websites.

Join your university politics society

Most university politics or debating societies host talks and workshops on a variety of political issues many are led by big name speakers in the world of politics. Being part of a university society is a good starting point for engaging in key political debates and developing your understanding of the political process. It’s also an easy way of meeting new people and a great booster for your CV.

Contact your university politics or debating society for more details about how to get involved.

Attend a parliament debate

The majority of debates and committee meetings held in Parliament are open to the general public. Going to parliament events will not only help you to gain first hand understanding of the decision making process at the very top level, it will also help you to keep up with the most current issues in politics, from the economy, to crime and the environment. You could even start blogging about what you hear and let others know about your political opinions and the issues you care about the most. Visit the Parliament website to find out about the latest parliament events.