For the vast majority of careers, there is plenty of advice on how to pursue your chosen option– but there is one career that doesn’t get anywhere near as much attention. If your main goal in life is to work in politics, as a councillor or a higher representative, then your career advice is scant.
Some of this is born from the simple fact that the best politicians tend to work in other careers prior to making their entrance into politics. In fact, the phrase “career politician” tends to unleash much scorn and doubt from voters. If you shouldn’t target your career at working in government, then it makes sense that there’s not much career advice.
Politics is a viable career option, whether you have established a career already or want to make politics your sole occupation. There is a need for advice, which is why we’re going to focus in this area today.
There is no way of guaranteeing an entrance into politics; it’s not like many other fields, where you can study and then automatically qualify. Politics is far more obtuse, meaning that you can glean valuable information from a diverse spectrum of subjects and experience.
If you’re tempted by a political career — now or in the future — then one thing is for sure: your education matters. However, this does not mean that you have to study politics; in fact, it might be better if you don’t. Being able to present yourself as a well-rounded candidate is essential, and studying politics can make it appear as if you have been too laser-focused, too close to the “career politicians” we’re all meant to dislike.
So if you’re not going to study politics, what subjects could be useful for your future in politics? We’ve got the answers, and how they can help your political career, below…
#1 – History
As a famous quote points out: those who do not understand history are doomed to repeat it. History is therefore an incredibly useful subject for those with political aspirations, as their current and future beliefs can be shaped by a knowledge of the past.
Studying history comes in many forms, with both ancient history and modern history available at degree and post-graduate level. As a general rule, you are best to study modern history, as it is more likely to have an influence on the modern world. It’s nice to know what civilisation was like in ancient Egypt, and plenty interesting, but it’s unlikely you will be able to draw lines and comparisons that show an influence on the world as it is today.
History will also teach you the importance of research, and how to know whether or not a source can be relied on. The latter is particularly important given the “fake news” problem that is dominating modern politics.
#2 – Marketing
Marketing may sound like an odd subject to study, but it makes more sense when you dig into the details. There is a real necessity for good marketing in politics, and you can be ahead of the game with direct experience of the subject.
In some ways, politics is all about marketing. It’s about selling yourself, making sure your ideas are heard, and promoting things that people should care about. If a politician can market themselves well, make something brandable and uniquely “theirs”, then they have far more of a chance of being listened to by voters. If you learn the insider tricks of marketing, you will have far more of an insight into how to make yourself memory to your voters and constituents.
Marketing is also about ensuring you have an ability to reach out to a wide variety of people, which is an incredibly useful skill to learn when you’re going to be trying to connect with an entire electorate in the future. Marketing experience can help you hone your language usage, reach out to those who may be disaffected, and unsure that you never go unnoticed.
#3 – Psychology
Would you know why a constituent might be furious with you, as their representative, over a relatively minor matter? Would you be able to connect with someone and make them feel that you take their issues seriously, and want to help remedy them? Could you understand why voters vote the way they do, and know which buttons to press to try and convince them to change their mind?
If you’ve answered “no” to any of these questions, then studying psychology will be incredibly useful for you. The way that people tick, how their minds work, and how to talk to anyone that you meet are all crucial skills that any politician needs to master. Psychology can give you that insight, and make you a better politician as a result.
#4 – Sociology
Finally, sociology is an excellent subject to study if you have political aspirations. Sociology teaches lessons that are directly related to the societal issues you, as a politician, will be required to address. Sociology can give you access to unique methods of understanding not just individual voters, but an entire community– and as a result, you can learn how to address their needs and desires.
Sociology will teach you valuable skills in interpreting data, which can be vital if you find yourself in a tight election race. It will also give you a real insight into how you can fix systemic issues, from knowledge that is based in actual fact rather than just your perception. Politicians are often accused of being out of touch with ordinary voters, but a knowledge of sociology can ensure you are never guilty of this.
A career in politics is never going to be easy. You are always at the whim of the electorate, and you may find yourself having to cultivate a tough skin just to make it through. However, it’s also an incredibly rewarding job, where you can make a real difference to people’s lives. If you want to make sure your political career is a success, then studying one of these subjects will set you on the right path to your future as a public figure.