Finding a Political Campaign Job - National Democratic Training Committee

Finding a political campaign job is a daunting process, especially if it’s your first time. Regardless of your background or current job, let us assure you that a rewarding career in Democratic politics is right around the corner. Now more than ever, campaigns need committed and passionate individuals to champion progressive values. 

First things first: You don’t need prior experience in politics. Campaigns thrive on diversity. They actively look for individuals who have worked outside of politics. Your transferable skills and unique experiences position you to amplify a campaign’s messaging and reach more voters. Everything that makes you stand out helps Democratic candidates connect with folks from different backgrounds. Whether in strategy or execution, you bring a distinct voice that would otherwise go unheard.  

However, in order to land that next job, you need resources and insight. And, we want you to be successful. To help launch your political career, we’ll outline exactly how you should go about finding a political campaign job. 

Find the Right Political Campaign Job for You

When we train Democrats to run for office, one of our cardinal rules is to make a plan every step of the way. This principle applies to the job-hunting process as well.  When starting your job search, ask yourself questions such as: 

  • What are your relocation and remote work preferences?
  • What do you need from an organization’s mission, vision, values and culture?
  • What’s your ideal work/life balance?
  • What type of compensation and benefits do you need to support your lifestyle?
  • What are your non-negotiables? Is there something that would automatically make you deny a job offer?

Identifying preferred places of work, leadership styles, organizational cultures, as well as causes you care about is key. While the perfect job might be hard to locate, finding a political campaign job that aligns with one’s values and career goals is achievable. Prioritize what criteria is most important and keep an open mind about each and every opportunity you come across. 

This might be hard to do if you’re new to the field and don’t yet know what’s possible. So, your immediate second step in this process involves visiting job boards and searching for jobs. In doing so, you identify roles that spark your interest and align with your current skills and experiences. Here, you begin discerning what you want and what you don’t want. 

Where To Find Political Campaign Jobs

The following organizations elect Democratic officials at the local, state, and federal levels of government. They offer a variety of positions within their organizations and can also connect you to races all over the country.

DNC – Democratic National Committee
DSCC – Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee
DCCC – Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee
DLCC – Democratic Legislative Campaign Committee
Association of State Democratic Parties
DAGA – Democratic Attorneys General Association
Democratic Governors Association
Democratic Lieutenant Governors Association
House Majority PAC

In order to understand the various levels of government and to learn more about these organizations, take NDTC’s course, Understanding the Democratic Party. 

Data analysis, fundraising, and communications serve as crucial roles on a campaign. As a result, if you search for campaign jobs matching your talents and expertise, these job sites can help:

Arena Careers
Democratic GAIN
Daybook
Campaigns and Elections
Feminist Jobs
Idealist
Indeed
Instituto
Jobs For The Left
National Nonprofit
Nonprofit Opportunities
Repro Jobs
Tom Manatos Jobs
Traverse Jobs
Work for Good

NDTC Organizational Partners: Explore open opportunities with our partners by visiting their websites. In order to expand your search, check out who our partners collaborate with regularly. 

Grow Your Political Career Through Networking

In many industries, “who you know” is just as important as “what you know.” This is true in politics as well. Many political organizations rely on connections to identify qualified individuals. Even if you’re coming into this from outside of the political realm, best practices in networking can strengthen your ties to these opportunities.

Evidence suggests the overwhelming majority of job vacancies use networking to fill them. In fact, certain estimates show that as many as 70-80% of job vacancies are never posted publicly. Networking is an essential part of the job hunt. 

In addition, waiting to network until you need a job is too late. The professional networking process is consistent, continuous, and strategic. Individuals who work at your preferred organizations likely know folks across the industry. If you’re consistent with communication, your name will come up when positions become available. 

Our course, Grow Your Political Career Through Networking, discusses how networking is essential for getting the job that you want. It shows you exactly where networking takes place while providing tools to identify and make the right connections, whether through a cold email or an informational interview.  

Build a Powerful Political Job Application

Your job search? Commenced. Networking? In full swing. And the list of jobs you want to apply for is growing. Now, let’s get ready to apply! But before you apply, you’ll have to refine your resume. 

Did you know that you should have multiple versions of your resume? Tailoring your resume to different positions is crucial to getting the job you want. Always highlight the skills, experience, and other attributes that align with the job posting. Leave off anything that is not directly or adjacently relevant to the job description.  

Several studies estimate the average time an employer reviews a resume is roughly seven seconds. Therefore, your resume must be concise, quickly conveying the most important information to a hiring manager. You only have a limited amount of time to grab their attention. When describing each role, show the tangible, measurable impact you made in previous positions. The importance of the results you earned throughout your career cannot be understated. 

Our course, Build a Powerful Political Job Application, dives deeper into this subject matter with resume templates, example cover letters, and more. By taking the course, you’ll gain a more in-depth understanding of the materials requested for consideration. 

NDTC’s Chief of Staff, Allyson Raines, recommends remaining open to potential opportunities and applying to as many jobs as you can early on.

“Honestly, a good way to think about searching for a campaign job is treating it like an internship hunt for a college student. Basically, apply to absolutely anything you can find related to political campaigns. Send your résumé everywhere and see if something sticks.”

Preparing for Successful Interviews and Political Job Offers

The application is submitted. Now, we wait. In the meantime, let’s prepare to ace the interview we know you’re going to get. The key is interviewing with confidence. Providing thoughtful responses to common questions and learning how to tell a story are just a couple of ways to showcase confidence in front of hiring managers. 

Prior preparation can help avoid common pitfalls, so do your research. Some questions to think about to jumpstart this process are: 

  • What’s the company’s mission, vision, and values?
  • Who are you interviewing with and what’s their background?  
  • Has the organization launched any new initiatives that you’re excited about? 

You want to be able to talk about your skills and experience in the context of the role. While doing so, you also want to integrate your knowledge of the organization in your answers. Review the Campaign Staff Interview Questions Guide for examples of questions that show up in staffer interviews. While you’re at it, feel free to make a copy of that guide to inform your interview prep.

If you want to really ace the interview, be sure to take our full course! Preparing for Successful Interviews and Political Job Offers helps you gain a comprehensive understanding of the final stages in getting the job. 

Believe In Yourself

Many job seekers don’t apply to jobs because the description asks for skills they don’t have yet. Don’t let this be an obstacle. Campaigns often hire folks without certain skills because they’re able to showcase passion, confidence, and a willingness to learn. Plus, many skills are meant to be learned on the job.

If you need inspiration, NDTC staff members Jaime Swank and Chris Pearcey both experienced this similar feeling. Read their stories. Learn from their journeys. 

And, if you need certain skills in the political area, NDTC’s Staff Academy is your one-way ticket to level up. It’s an intensive ten-week training program which provides the tools, knowledge, and connections needed to jumpstart your career as a Democratic campaign staffer.

Anyone can apply for this free program! All we ask is that you are passionate about Democratic politics and committed to finding a paid political campaign job upon completion of the program. Read about the experiences of alumni here!

NDTC Staff Academy prioritizes the recruitment of leaders who are women, people of color, and trans/transgender and non-binary. Sign up here to learn more!

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Dale Dorlin

Dale Dorlin joins NDTC as the Content Manager. Dale plays a strategic role in NDTC’s overall brand integrity and digital communications and is responsible for the growth and development of internal marketing operations, learner engagement, and creative direction. After managing events for small nonprofits throughout undergrad, Dale has earned nearly 15 years of experience in marketing, public relations, and community engagement. He also holds an MFA in Management from Wayne State University and is an Americorps Alumnus. In 2017, he entered the world of crisis communications and public relations where he’s managed everything from racial justice cases to executive leadership and organizational change. In addition to his impressive resume, Dale graduated from NDTC’s inaugural Staff Academy Cohort in 2019, going on to work in principal operations for Pete for America in the 2020 Presidential Election Cycle. In his free time, Dale is an avid runner, enjoys wellness activities, and is always down for a good Netflix binge.