By Joe Armer, BA Modern Languages Student
This summer I was lucky enough to work for Hillary Clinton’s Presidential Campaign as an Organising Fellow in Dayton, Ohio, one of the key battlegrounds in the election.
As an organising fellow, I was, in essence, a trainee organiser on the Ohio Democratic Party Co-ordinated Campaign, responsible for electing Democrats up and down the ballot.
Unsure what I was going to do with the summer after my Year Abroad in France and Spain, I started applying to jobs, internships and work experience over the Easter Holidays. Working on a campaign is something I’ve always wanted to do but British election campaigns always seemed to clash with exam season so I was never able to do more than the occasional bit of volunteering.
With the American election already dominating the headlines, I started to look at what I could do in relation to the election.
Not sure really where to start looking, I took to Linkedin and started looking at the work histories of senior Hillary Clinton campaign staffers. I wanted to see where they started their careers and if that gave me any hints. At the same time, I’d also changed my Linkedin headline to saying I was looking for campaign or politics related work experience. A Deputy Organising Director from the Clinton campaign in Ohio got in touch after seeing that I’d looked at her profile. I was encouraged to apply for the fellowship scheme and to send my “résumé” or CV to her personally. After a period of a few weeks, I was asked to do a Skype interview by my future Manager and days later I was invited to join the campaign as soon as I could. The process was pretty smooth and easy, campaigns are well adapted to being fast, flexible and using technology.
As is quite common in the world of work, it is not always what you know but who you know. So I’d definitely recommend that you search out work experience by getting in touch with people in your chosen field, even if you don’t know them! Just make sure that before you do that your LinkedIn is up to date and filled out! Check out Linkedin’s page here for some useful tips to make the most of your profile.
Whilst the role was unpaid (Foreigners can’t be paid campaign staffers by law in America) I was provided with accommodation in a volunteer’s home. Most of the full-time American fellows on the campaign would end up being recruited as organisers by the end of the campaign. If I had applied with more time, I would have definitely applied to Careers’ Networks work experience bursaries to help with the price of flights and other living expenses whilst I was out there.