If you want to work in politics, there are a number of things you can do to make it happen.
Join a Bowdoin organization and get involved in campaigning and advocacy work here on campus or here in Maine. Specific experience researching issues, getting out the vote, and managing the operational responsibilities associated with a campaign, an issue, a party, or a candidate will be very important on your resume. (Here how this worked for Chris Averill ’06 in this short video.)
Use your summers and your winter breaks.
From your local city council to your Senator, there is a chance to connect with a politician in your home district. College student volunteers can help those officials with a variety of work — anything from answering phone calls or correspondence from voters to using Facebook or Twitter to publicize issues and messages to researching and drafting position statements. And, yes, getting coffee and making photocopies, too. (Here’s how to find the elected officials who represent you here in Maine).
Reach out to alumni in jobs that interest you.
This has a double impact: you will learn more about the nature of the work, the hiring cycle, and the kinds of people who succeed. And the alum will keep his or her eyes open on your behalf, and will be likely to forward job openings they hear about to you. Learn how to connect with alumni here.
DC political jobs often hire quickly, which means you should spend senior year networking with alums in the area and organizations that interest you. You can research and apply for jobs all year, but get ready to get very busy in April and May.
Maine’s congressional delegates from both political parties and their staffers know Bowdoin well. Congressman Patrick Meehan (R, PA) is a Bowdoin alum. Use LinkedIn to search for alums in DC, or who have worked for a political cause or figure you admire, and begin your inquiry there.
- Democratic GAIN (a daily email listing of job openings, generally for Democratic candidates or issues)
- Senate Employment Bulletin
- DC Public Affairs & Communications Jobs
- Don’t forget Craigslist, or the individual websites of the people or organizations you most want to work for.
- State politics, in Maine or in your home state, can be a way to learn about campaigns and take on more responsibility, in smaller races, than in national races.