1. Take a position: Figure out where you fall on the spectrum of political parties (or if you don’t find a good fit, sign on as an independent and craft your own platform). In order to find your place in the political world you need to know where you stand on the most pertinent issues of this election. We like CNN’s Election Center for a good place to start looking into key issues. Do your research and take a stance.
2. Get your best look: Remember when your mom would tell you that it doesn’t matter what you wear because you will always be beautiful? Okay, that’s obviously true…but when it comes to getting your political career started you need to put your best foot forward. It’s important to present yourself in a polished and professional manner at all times, so get out those black pumps and other workwear basics (and remember: “professional” doesn’t have to be “stuffy” — a pretty necklace worn under that tailored blazer can go a long way to looking sharp and feminine).
3. Get involved: Go to town hall meetings and familiarize yourself with your party’s leadership through emails, phone calls, and coffee dates. And don’t forget the opposition: a good politician will make a point to meet leaders on both sides of the aisle. Attend conventions at the state and local level so you’re sure to maintain perspective on the issues at hand on many scales. Politics is all about who you know…so get to know more people!
4. Get the body language down: Every politician has that quintessential handshake and eye contact that inspires voters and instills confidence in her constituency. Make sure you develop these skills before you start your political career; practice on your friends, your family…and hey, even your dog can get in on a good handshake! Check out these tips for some real power moves.
5. Keep up with current events: To be on your political game you’ve gotta stay on top of what’s happening in the world, to-the-minute. Download a news app and change your homepage to a popular news site. Be sure to read news and websites with different slants (conservative, liberal, etc) to see what each side is talking about. It’s important for an up-and-coming politician to know what is going on in the world, not just your hometown and your party.
6. Always vote: Every politician knows that her past can always come back to haunt her. So, um, not voting is something that can be a huge dealbreaker for those thinking about a future in politics. Be an active and engaged citizen, not just a political talker!
7. Watch “The West Wing”: The show The West Wing is for future politicians what Grey’s Anatomy is for future doctors. Yes, at times it does seem unrealistic; however, there are also many moments that do portray the lifestyle of a politician accurately: the hectic schedule, compromise, and ethical dilemmas. So bust out the DVR and microwave popcorn because we give you full permission to watch this juicy piece of political drama, and take notes!