The vast number of women who ran — and won — races for public office this election year has inspired countless other ladies to consider careers in politics. The fresh interest, and confidence, to pursue a path in government is without-a-doubt a step in the right direction, as studies have repeatedly shown that women improve the way our branches govern. But just because someone is interested in serving their community and creating political change, doesn’t necessarily mean they want to run for office. For some, the profession is simply too time-consuming, expensive or just not of interest to them, and that’s OK, because political jobs extend far beyond elected positions.
Here, non-elected careers in politics that Latinas should consider — because our brilliance, talents, perspectives and voices are needed if we are going to see real progress in local, state and federal politics.
1. Chief of Staff
A chief of staff is an assistant to the president or legislator. This is the elected official’s right hand wo-man, acting as a top adviser and overseeing hiring, office management, budgeting, administration and operation. To make it to this top-level position, though, you usually have to start from the bottom.
2. Legislative Aide
Behind members of Congress are legislative staff, a group of smart individuals who aid the elected officials on the issues, from gun control and immigration to education, reproductive health and more. This entry-level job includes a lot of research, writing, briefing and tracking of legislation. Basically, you really have to know your ish!
3. Policy Analyst
The job of a policy analyst is also filled with tons of research, but most of the time these are more issue-specific experts who conduct the work, like research, surveying data, analyzing existing and proposed policies and reporting information to a legislator or candidate that’ll allow them to better identify, create and implement policy.
Most candidates and politicos don’t write their own speeches. For that, they usually hire someone, or a team, with A-1 writing and persuasion skills. In this competitive, and more-difficult-than-you-might-think, gig, the speechwriter must be able to pen talks that are at once optimistic, noncontroversial, eloquent and engaging, newsworthy and still understandable to someone with a middle school reading level.
5. Communications Coordinator
There are many different positions and levels to a communications team, but this area is reserved for those with impeccable writing, editing and communication capabilities. These are the folk who write a candidate’s or elected official’s press releases and newsletters, who speak with and coordinate interviews with the press, who implement communications strategies, lead event communications and are also putting in the multifaceted social media work.
6. Campaign Manager
For those with excellent administrative and operational skills who are more interested in helping get qualified candidates into office, a job as a campaign manager could be your calling. These are the folk behind a candidate’s campaign and are necessary for individuals running at all levels of government. Broadly, they develop, plan and implement a political campaign, which requires them hiring and managing staff, budgeting, logistics, technology and help to get out the vote.
7. Fundraising Director
If your a money’s gal, there’s a candidate out there in need of your brain. A fundraising director helps those running for elected office raise dinero, developing and implementing a money-raising plan through growing the candidate’s web of donors, setting up fundraisers and managing their database.
8. Field Organizers
If your background is in grassroots organizing, a start-off gig as a field organizer may be an easy transition. These individuals are the face of a political campaign for a community. Field organizers unite people around a common goal and work to make it a reality by finding, training and scheduling volunteers and sometimes overseeing workers within a region or state.
9. Elections Manager
If you’re more interested in protecting citizens’ voting rights in your community than working with a candidate or holder of elected office, you might be gripped by a position as an elections manager. On this gig, you ensure the voting process runs smoothly and lawfully. To do this, you’d likely oversee who works at your county’s voting centers, ensure privacy and comfortability for voters and get results in efficiently.
10. Diplomatic service officer
Prefer foreign affairs over local and domestic issues? Diplomatic service officers live in other countries, where they represent the interests of the U.S. and its citizens as well as provide advice to ministers developing foreign policy. For this job, great communication skills, language proficiency and cultural sensitivity are a must.