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Politicians function at every level of government. We elect these officials to represent us, to govern, to address issues that affect us and to apply our laws at local, state and national levels. The charisma to woo the public and the leadership skills to get things done are necessary to work in this field. While there isn’t a specific track to becoming a politician, working as a legislative aide or an attorney are common pathways.
Since millions of voices screaming opinions get us nowhere, politicians are elected to be the voice of their government. Whether this position is in city council, the state legislature or Congress, the main job of politicians is to add a voice to public concerns and demands. They pass laws or directives that may deal with public needs, including budgeting and funding allocation. To be a politician, you must stay current on issues affecting your community, as well as the nation.
The daily tasks of a politician vary based on the specific title. However, politicians at all levels represent their constituents by hearing testimony from the public, commission members and representatives about proposals, and making unbiased, balanced decisions based on this testimony and investigative research. Specific job duties include responding to public inquires, conferring with colleagues, making public appearances, serving on committees, attending public or private meetings based on set schedules and formulating strategies about pending issues. For example, a state legislator may meet with colleagues to propose or suggest a modification to a current law based on information from constituents or current events happening in the country. However, the proposal has to pass through the legislature and be signed by the governor before being put into law.
Diplomacy and professional ethics are necessary to carry out policies and keep your head held high under intense scrutiny from the media. The charisma to stand out among the crowd and a persuasive voice to make your opinion heard help budding politicians. Climbing the government ladder takes strong leadership skills and deep understanding of public policy, government and laws. Since this is a public position, you must be willing to lose some of your privacy and be able to converse easily among large crowds and with diverse groups of people.
Get the Right Education
The road to becoming a politician is a long and arduous process that can be affected by education, wealth and family connections. According to O*Net Online, most politicians have at least a bachelor’s degree in a government or a business-related field, like law, public policy or business administration. Additionally, several years of on-the-job training and work experience are usually necessary. For example, politicians may enter the field by working as a full-time aide for an established politician, building networks and gathering information on current events and issues. Law is another jumping-off point for politicians, since lawyers work with political parties and various interest groups and are in the public eye. Regardless of how you land your first political position, you may have to work your way up through the ranks to become a legislator by establishing yourself as a local representative.
Michigan-based Jennifer Betts has been writing and editing education and career articles since 2009. Her articles have appeared on several educational training websites and blogs. She graduated from Saginaw Valley State University with a Bachelor of Arts in graphic design and a minor in English. Betts’ first writing job was working as a ghostwriter creating list articles for blogs.
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