Salute to Spouses Blog

We're excited to be blogging about the latest topics in military life. We want to keep you informed on topics such as current events, education, career advice, etc. Feel free to post comments or questions to any of our entries.
Unemployed? Hit the Campaign Trail

As presidential candidates step forward in the coming months, state and local politicians will be preparing for elections too. Rather than following the races via media, participating as a campaign volunteer  can be a great way to not only gain work skills, but also use your newfound expertise to secure a permanent position.  

Since campaigns have such a broad range of positions and budgets, you can focus on one particular area of skills working with many others in a national or state campaign, or, in local campaigns where there may be fewer volunteers. You also may be able to work  in several different areas of the campaign, picking up multiple skills to add to your resume.

“A national campaign is a great way to gain experience, but when you get into local campaign work, the budgets aren’t nearly as big, sometimes non-existent. This where your creativity really has to shine, “ said Ted Hughes, former County Commissioner. “A local campaign usually has a smaller staff, so you may be writing marketing or mailing pieces one minute and making phone calls the next. You can wear many different hats.”

Hughes, a longtime cattle farmer and former Navy sailor, also mentioned passion as a valuable tool you can gain from volunteer work in politics.

“It’s one thing to just work for a campaign, but to work towards electing someone you truly believe in and give them your time and energy, because you’re not getting paid, is something you may already have when you begin to volunteer but can also pick up from those around you. Really believing in that person not only helps you get the job done, but makes you more marketable potential future employee” Hughes said.

Campaign volunteering can also get you out of your comfort zone. Besides meeting and connecting with other volunteers who are working toward the same goal, you will encounter meetings, rallies, and forums, which are just a few of the great opportunities to talk with others, highlighting the advantages of voting for your candidate. You can also learn how to persuade others to become involved, as well as get some experience working as a team member.

Each of these scenarios will help to develop skills you can add to your resume.

“People skills are so important," Hughes said.

Organization is another important job skill you can acquire on the campaign trail. The grueling work of making phone calls to potential voters is one likely job you will do, but you may also schedule the candidates' appearances, interviews and photo sessions. This type of calendar juggling can prepare you for a variety of future positions. You may even get the chance to delegate chores during those long hours of preparing mailers, posting signs and poring over registered voter lists.  

In times of higher unemployment rates, the job market has become increasingly more competitive. Just doing some volunteer work can really give you the extra boost your resume may need to put you at the top of an employer’s list.

“These days, there are always multiple candidates for a job,” Hughes said. “Anyone who has the desire and the skill to be successful in campaign work would be able to convert their energy and skill into most any job. And the skills learned from this type of volunteer work could very well be the type of person an employer would choose over other candidates for the position. Organizational skills, the ability to work as a team member, the ability to express your opinion to others in a manner that causes them to consider supporting your candidate, honing your writing skills and the ability to persuade people to get involved in government and civic endeavors ... these are all things that would be valuable to an employer. These could increase anyone’s chance of finding a job, or even moving a few steps up the ladder of success at their current job.”

Even though there’s no extra money to be made, some political volunteer hours in the next few months may give you the competitive edge you need to enhance your resume, and maybe even make a change for the better in your job situation.

For Military Spouses
Apply for the Salute to Spouses scholarship today and begin your education! You’ll be on the way to your dream career.

Salute to Spouses Scholarship Recipients