With the inauguration of a Democratic
president and such huge wins for Democrats in the last election, it would seem
that there should be an over-abundance of jobs for Democrats. However, that is
not necessarily the case. For both Democrats coming off the campaign trail and
newbies looking to break into Democratic politics, it can be a tough job
It is important to
understand which job searcher category you fall into and to design a resume
fitting of that category. There
are, primarily, three types of Democratic politics job searchers right now:
Seasoned Democratic Campaign Veterans, Entry-Level Democratic Campaign
Staffers, and Democratic Politics Newbies.
Democratic Campaign Veteran is the job-seeker most familiar with
dealing with the pitfalls of odd years – a.k.a. the years with few campaigns.
This job-seeker has two or more election cycles under their belt and has just
finished working in a senior staff role on one of the many 2008 or later
For this job-seeker,
the trick is to reformat that campaign resume and make it more friendly for
legislative, advocacy, and nonprofit employers. The skills are similar, but
what you emphasize will be different. You want to focus on your issue
persuasion and policy skills, research and writing skills, coalition-building
skills, communications and media skills, and fundraising skills. While field
experience is still relevant and important, your next job likely won’t involve
managing a large team of field organizers, meeting high volunteer recruitment
goals, or playing with targeting spreadsheets and precinct maps. Don’t be
afraid to deviate from a chronological resume and don’t let your job titles
define you. You may find the need to have multiple resumes – a legislative
resume, an advocacy resume, a communications resume, etc.
for a Seasoned Democratic Campaign Veteran include:
Program Director for a nonprofit
or advocacy organization.
Legislative Assistant for a member
Outreach Director for a member of
Congress’s district office
Consultant for a political
External Organizing Director for a
The Entry-Level Democratic Campaign Staffer is either someone who graduated from college in 2007/2008 and worked in an entry-level position on a 2008/2012/2016/2020 campaign, or is someone experienced in another career field who transitioned to an entry-level campaign position in this past election cycle.
This job-seeker is
perhaps in the best position when it comes to quickly landing another
Democratic political job. They likely have experience besides just working on
campaigns and won’t be boxed into the “irrelevant campaign staff”
category sometimes applied the seasoned campaign applicants by prospective
employers that are political in nature but not a campaign. For this
job-seeker’s resume, you want to be sure to include all relevant political
experience, including internships, volunteer activities (i.e. Volunteer for
Sierra Club), and organizational memberships (i.e. Member of College
Democrats). And just like with the Seasoned Democratic Campaign Veteran, you
want to be sure to emphasize the appropriate skills. For the entry-level
campaigner that made the jump from another career field, you are better off
with a skills-based resume. For the recent grad entry-level campaigner, you
should stick to one resume, one page, and a chronological listing of
for an Entry-Level Democratic Campaign Staffer are:
Program Assistant for a nonprofit
or advocacy organization
Legislative Correspondent or Staff
Assistant for a member of Congress
Organizer or Research Assistant
for a labor union
Politics Newbie is someone who has never been paid staff for anything
political, but is looking to make a career change and join the ranks of those
earning a living by working in Democratic politics.
This job-seeker must
first evaluate their relevant and translatable skills and then create a strong,
skills-based resume. Figure out what category where your skills are strongest
and most relatable – organizing, communications, web/IT, finance, etc. – and
build your resume and job search around those marketable skills. It is
especially important to include any and all political-oriented volunteer
activities (i.e. Neighborhood Organizer for Obama) and memberships (Member of
Henderson Democratic Club). Additionally, you must conduct your job search with
the understanding and realization that you might have to take a couple of steps
down from the positions you held in your other career field.
Tips for all
Be patient. The commonly heard
phrase right now is: “Hurry up and wait.”
Network, network, network. Many
political positions never get posted on job sites.
Don’t inflate or change your job
Know your references and make sure
they have good things to say about you.
Do list skills – computer and
language (if applicable) – on your resume.
Make your position descriptions
Objectives are old-fashioned and
Do not put “references
available upon request” or list your references on your resume.
Always bring a copy of your
references on a separate sheet of paper with you to an interview.
You want your resume layout to be
as attractive as your skills.
Always bring at least two copies
of your resume to an interview.
What you do in your spare time has
no place on your resume.
Use an email address that includes
Spell check, spell check, spell
Save your resume using a title
that includes your first name, last name, and “resume”.
Always, always, always include
a cover letter when submitting your resume.
When submitting a resume via
email, the body of the email is your cover letter.
Spend time crafting a tailored
cover letter for each position to which you are applying.
Always, always, always send a
thank you letter after an interview.
Job search sites:
Democratic GAIN –
Jobs That Are LEFT –
Union Jobs Clearinghouse –
National Organizer’s Alliance –
New Organizing Institute –
NOI Jobs –
Emily’s List –
Brad Traverse Group –
RC Jobs – www.rcjobs.com
Hill Zoo – www.hillzoo.com
Opportunity Knocks –
Nonprofit Career Network –
Care 2 –
Taegan Goddard’s Political Wire –
Craig’s List (search the nonprofit
job category) – www.craigslist.org