Looking for a job?

Oct 11th, 2011 | By | Category: Career advice

If you are unemployed and are looking for work you may consider volunteering to work for one of the presidential candidates. Almost everyone who volunteers is accepted, and it is a great way to build out your professional network with well connected and influential contacts.

The political campaign for the next US President, like a train leaving the station, is on the move and picking up steam. Although it is not too soon to volunteer to work for a candidate, it may be premature to know if the candidate you choose will be running in the November 2012 Presidential Election.

Even if you do not have any strong political convictions, working for a presidential candidate can pay big dividends, especially if your candidate is elected. There is a long list of federal jobs turned over when a president is elected. Even when a president is reelected, there is turn over, albeit to lesser degree.

Published once every four years, the Plum Book (its full name is United States Policy and Supporting Positions) puts in circulation every political job in the outgoing administration, including the name of the office holder and salary. The important thing to keep in mind about the Plum Book is that one-third of the 8,000 or so jobs listed are strictly political appointments — that is, patronage jobs that will go largely to the winning party. (Washington Post – http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2008/11/06/AR2008110602519.html.

A political appointee is named by the elected administration to fill the positions held by the political appointees of the previous administration. Often when a president is reelected many of the political appointees will remain in their jobs, but with most presidential election there are changes in the incumbent administration, which results in switching out political appointees.

Although there is some screening to determine if a political appointee can handle the job, there are no real qualifications, and there is a complete staff of career government workers who guide the new boss until they learn the ropes. This is a real spoils system, and these jobs go to key campaign workers and contributors. Although most volunteers don’t end up with “plum jobs” the new political appointees are in charge of hiring and staffing their departments, agencies, offices, and bureaus. There are jobs that range from secretary to chief of staff that need to be filled. So there are jobs for all skill and experience levels.

In addition to working to position yourself to get a federal job, you also meet people who are connected at the local, state, and regional level. It is easy an easy environment to make friends, and establish contacts. If you are lucky enough to get invited to some of the fundraisers and parties, you may get the opportunity to meet celebrities and business elite. One never knows when an opportunity will arise. Like most things, it is easiest to find opportunities where they are plentiful.

Working as a political campaign volunteer also can add skills and experience to your resume. If nothing else, you will learn to be a telemarketer. Making phone calls and reaching out to voters is one of most highly visible jobs for campaign volunteers, but a campaign has all the same types of jobs you find industry. President Obama introduced the use of the Internet, tweeting, and social networking as campaign tools. The 2012 campaign will be very high tech, using not only computers and Internet, but also Smart Phone technology to reach voters. Volunteers will be needed to work at all level of the campaign, so there are plenty of opportunities to demonstrate your skills or acquire new ones.

Even if you are not interested in politics, looking for a job, or wanting to acquire new job skills and experiences, volunteering to work on a presidential campaign can give you a new insight, personal experiences, and a chance to meet some very interesting people.

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