Do you find yourself regularly being on the receiving end of favors?
Are you good at influencing others, making sound arguments, and—let’s put it bluntly—getting what you want?
If so, you might have lucrative career opportunities in lobbying.
Lobbyists seek to sway officials of all kinds on all matters—regarding regulations, enforcement, legislation, and more. Several industries spend big bucks on lobbying efforts, such as insurance, oil and gas, healthcare, electronics manufacturing, and many others. The pharmaceutical industry alone has spent over $4.95 billion on lobbying over the last 23 years.
Want to become a lobbyist? Keep reading to see what you need to do.
Getting Your Degree and Finding an Internship Opportunity
Lobbying is a unique career in that it doesn’t require you to have a specific degree.
Still, having one in a related field can offer several advantages to your career, especially as you begin to seek employment. There are several types of lobbying, so the area you choose to focus on should inform the type of education you get.
You might consider getting a degree in political science, psychology, business, or law. Advances degrees in specific areas of study, such as a Master’s in American History or Journalism, might also help you communicate your lobby’s needs better.
Once you’ve received the education, the next step is applying it. Seek out paid or unpaid internships, which not only help you develop your skills, but also look great on your CV.
Registering With the State and Federal Government
Next, you’ll need to register yourself as a lobbyist with the state and federal government.
Registration requirements (and their subsequent fees) vary by state. Most states ask you to fill out standard registration paperwork that includes information such as your name and address, information about your client(s), and subject matters that inform your lobbying work.
Other states require honesty pledges, an ethics committee review, the terms of compensation for your work, and more. Similarly, some states have registration fees while others do not.
Becoming Involved in Local Issues You Care About
You can’t be a lobbyist without some experience . . . lobbying. Where’s the best place to start?
Check in with your friends, family, local businesses, congressmen, neighbors, and community members to see how you can advocate on their behalf. What are the common complaints, issues, wants, and needs? Is there any way you can push movements forward, give conversations a platform, increase exposure on topics your community cares about?
Like an internship, this kind of work helps you develop the skill set necessary to become a lobbyist. To make an impact, you’ll have to show motivation, do the work, and produce results.
Later, when you apply for a lobbying position, be sure to tell them about the efforts you’ve done to help those closest to you.
Ready to Become a Lobbyist? Gaining Employment
And there you have it: a succinct guide to becoming a lobbyist.
The lobbyist career is an exciting one, but it takes much more than being a good arguer. It requires dedication, community involvement, networking, communication skills, and research. Oh yeah—and holding a degree in a related field doesn’t hurt!
If you become a lobbyist, we hope you remember the small guys like us. Wink, wink.
Come back often for more fantastic articles like this one, as well-rounded interests are also sure to help you succeed in your work!