A lobbyist is paid to represent a person or group’s interests in government. Lobbyists can work at any level of the government chain, from local to national. The job of a lobbyist is to try to influence members of the government to keep things as they are or change them in favor of their group’s interests. In order to be a good lobbyist, you should have some interest in politics.
Though not always required, having a degree in political science or communication will make your chances of being hired much greater. Without a college education, you may have to take a cut in pay for several years before proving yourself with experience. Having a degree in the field you expect to lobby for is an alternative to political science and communication.
Many lobbyists begin by working in the public relations field. Working in the area you plan to lobby for is also a great way to gain experience. You can contact a group or person if you’re familiar with their interests and goals and offer to be a lobbyist for them. Without education or prior experience, you may work for free or very cheap until you’ve proven yourself. The more experience you have, even if it’s just working within the field you’re interested in, the more likely you are to be hired as a lobbyist.
Lobbyists are expected to have a certain skill set. After all, the object is to smoothly influence politicians. Lobbyists must have very strong written and verbal communication skills. Lobbyists must be patient, persuasive, charismatic and resilient.
No matter what your experience or education, you may be required to register with the government in order to work as a lobbyist. This gives you the right to attend events and governmental buildings while lobbying for a person or group. Exact requirements vary by city and state. On a national level, any lobbyist working more than fifty hours for the same group in a six month period must register. If you earn more than $6,000 during a six month period, you must also register.
Lobbyists can look for work at all government levels, including every state and even many cities and towns. The largest cities to find work include Washington D.C., New York City and Sacramento. If you’re just starting out, consider working at the local or state level to gain experience. Always research and study any person or group’s interest before offering to become their lobbyist. Once you’ve gained experience, you may be contacted and offered the position of lobbyist.
As a lobbyist, you may change groups and interests frequently. If you don’t believe in a cause, don’t lobby for it. You’ll be a more effective lobbyist if you truly believe in a cause or interest. If the interest doesn’t matter to you either way, then lobby for the money. Though education, experience and a special skill set are recommended for success, a person or group may provide you with bribe money to help you persuade politicians to vote your way.