Why Your Campaign Skills Make You an Asset

December 5, 2016 | By Ben Woodward

The campaign is over. It’s been a tough few months, and now you have a moment to breathe. 

I hope you have taken time to enjoy your victories -- or for those not as lucky, commiserate your defeats.  But it is important to remember that life moves on and the time to think about your next career move is now. 

Whether you are looking for a job in the administration, think tanks, non-profits, or on the Hill, seize the moment. The current opportunities in the conservative movement are boundless. Following the election, hundreds of vacancies are opening up as people change jobs. 

If you’re coming off a campaign, you may have gained skills which will make you an asset. The following skills you have learned could carry you to your dream job:

Fundraising:  During the campaign, you learned how to sell your candidate. You learned what to say in order to convince donors to help keep the campaign afloat.  You probably accumulated these donors into a network you could rely on.  To do this you may have planned events, written direct communications, created social media campaigns, and more. 

A development role in most movement organizations will require these skills.  They will need you to be able to sell what they offer and convince donors why giving to their organizations will advance the movement and produce tangible results. 

Event Management:  One of the toughest elements of a campaign is event management.  This is your opportunity to reward your donors and volunteers, raise publicity, and raise money.  You have booked venues and entertainment, managed a budget, and procured caterers.  To do this you may have had a small team to run, you had to keep an eye on the details, and your organizational skills were pushed to the limit.

Use these skills to your advantage.  All organizations run events of some kind, and there is a high demand for competent event staff.

Using Digital:   Marketing in the private sector, organizations are constantly seeking new ways to sell their brands and identify new customers.  The competition to remain at the forefront of digital marketing is intense. Campaigns are no different.  During the campaign you used social media initiatives to target supporters and boost posts; you may have used Facebook Live for example.  You may have used Photoshop software, mass emails, and explored your creative gifts.

For conservative organizations to compete with the left, they have to hire talented, creative, and tech savvy candidates.  That’s where you come in.

Planning: To fail to plan is to plan to fail.  Working on a campaign means you planned how to use time, people, and money effectively.   Planning ahead means you anticipate mistakes, you research, and most importantly you manage a budget accordingly.

These skills are universally valued, and they will aid you in all aspects of your life.

Communications & Marketing:  Campaigns are a fierce battle between rivals who are not just selling themselves but discrediting their opponents.  Learning to deliver your message effectively so that people identify your candidate with the right policies is essential.  Learning how to handle negative information is also a requirement.  You have to know when to discredit attacks, when to apologize for them, and when to ignore them. 

Learning to identify the target market of an organization, deliver your message, and manage negative information will make you an asset in the job market.

Managing people:  Management is tough; you have to be a leader, be able to give clear direction, and know your staff well enough to identify their strengths and weaknesses.  A campaign is a team effort; and without a motivated army of committed activists, it will fail.

Organizations in and out of the movement are no different.  Success depends upon good leaders who get the best out of their teams.  Personnel is Policy.

GOTV:  Getting out the vote is not so different from persuading clients and supporters of organizations to invest, purchase, donate, and volunteer.  During the campaign, if you knew there were individuals who were likely to vote for your candidate, it was your job to make sure they voted.

Many conservative organizations require those skills to motivate people to attend their events, sign up for correspondence, and actively participate in their campaigns.

Remember, if you have worked on a campaign, you are a uniquely skilled individual!  Some or all of these skills, and no doubt many more, will apply to you.  Use them, be proud of them, and most importantly, use them to get a job!

Ben Woodward works with the Leadership Institute's ConservativeJobs.com.  He provides jobseekers with career advice and helps them find jobs in the conservative movement.