If you want to be in politics, working on the campaign of a mayoral candidate can be a career-defining opportunity. However, the competition can be fierce for any up-close-and-personal time with the candidate, particularly in big cities. Even a meeting with a staff member can be a coup. So if you’re lucky enough to land an interview, make certain you’re prepared to answer the kinds of questions you’ll be asked and be ready to ask a few of your own.
Why This Candidate
At some point in any interview, you likely will be asked why you want to work for a particular company. On a mayoral campaign, the focus is even more specific -- why do you want to work for the candidate? You should be prepared to offer up the candidate's platform and some real-world examples of how you agree with his stance on issues. Stress the areas where you are like-minded to the candidate. And it wouldn’t hurt if you're a registered member of the candidate's party.
There are some majors and work experiences that are a natural fit for campaigns. You may be asked about your college major or what you’ve learned from jobs you’ve held. Majors like political science, government, history, communications and marketing are a natural fit to campaign work but what you actually learned is more important than the title it was given. Be willing to demonstrate what you can bring to the campaign and why you'd be a valuable asset.
Even volunteer positions sometimes require previous related experience. After all, a candidate’s staff, workers and volunteers are reflections of him in some way. The better you look on paper, the better you may make him look. Even if you haven’t worked on a political campaign, you can demonstrate your abilities by other experiences you may have had in college or your career. Emphasize your good work ethic and organizational skills and be ready to give examples from previous positions.
The City You Love
If you choose to support a mayoral candidate, it’s likely that you care about the city she will be governing. Be ready to highlight all the things you love about the city, but don’t be afraid to point out areas where the current administration should be doing a better job. The more knowledgeable you appear, the more likely you’ll have the listening ear of the staff -- and maybe even the candidate. And your willingness to entrust your city to this candidate points to your potential loyalty and a long-term relationship with a newly elected mayor.