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How to Become a Lobbyist

Two Methods:Determining If You Are a Good FitBecoming a Lobbyist

There are several ways to become a lobbyist, as well as several kinds of lobbyists. Candidates must be gifted in the art of persuasion and have an amiable personality. While lobbyists come from all manner of different backgrounds, their common denominator is their ability to get policymakers to adopt certain policy changes, ideally in a way that makes most parties involved happy. Read on for a discussion of how to become a lobbyist.

Method 1
Determining If You Are a Good Fit

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    Determine whether you are naturally sociable and influential. Lobbyists try to influence policy in a couple different ways. At the end of the day, their job boils down to being sociable and influential. Are you:
    • Adept at getting your way, even when significant challenges present themselves?
    • Good at meeting new people, maintaining connections, and growing your network?
    • Skilled in doing favors for other people?
    • Experienced in explaining complex issues to people in simple, direct terms?
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    Know that no educational requirements exist for becoming a lobbyist. You don't need a college degree in order to become a lobbyist; nor do you need to pass a certification requirement. All you need is the ability to make meaningful connections with politicians in important places, and the ability to sway them along the way. On the other hand, most people who become lobbyists do have at least Bachelor's degrees. The only things that matter when it comes to education as a lobbyist are:
    • Your ability to analyze information and develop a coherent political strategy.
    • Your ability to stay informed and up to date on global and political issues.
    • Your ability to predict which issues will stay important, which issues will fade from importance, and which issues will become important in the future.
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    Gauge your ability to move quickly and deal results. Are you fast-paced and action-oriented? Your ability to succeed as a lobbyist may depend on these qualities. Lobbyists get paid to produce results, which means that if circumstances intervene and keep you from getting your desired results, you'll have to pivot quickly and find another way to get the job done.

Method 2
Becoming a Lobbyist

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    Decide on what type of lobbying you would like to pursue as early as possible. Lobbying jobs can differ greatly from each other, but lobbyists work hand in hand with legislators to achieve certain political goals.
    • Paid lobbying vs. free lobbying. Most lobbying happens when a business or professional organization hires someone to represent their interests in Washington. Some lobbyists, however, do decide to work pro bono, in the interest of a special (usually non-profit) cause, or simply because they are already retired. Choosing pro bono representation could help convince others of your refusal to be swayed by money.
    • Single-issue vs. multi-issue lobbying. Decide whether you want to lobby for a single issue or cause, or whether you want your cause to be broader, encompassing a wider swath of issues. Those who work for the interests of corporations tend to be single-issue lobbyists, while those who work for the interests of unions tend to be multi-illuse lobbyists.
    • Inside vs. outside lobbying. Inside (or "direct") lobbying is when a representative tries to influence policy by directly contacting legislators. Indirect lobbying is when a representative tries to influence policy by mobilizing a community of people outside Washington, usually by grassroots organization, public relation, and advertising.
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    Achieve at least a Bachelor's degree, preferably in political science, law, economics or a field related. Lobbyists have to be experts on issues they work on, so its important to start learning about political issues and policies as early as possible. While there are no education requirements in place for becoming a lobbyist, it never hurts to be informed and knowledgeable about political issues in general, as well as specific interests you may be lobbying for.
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    Seek out lobbying internships while in college. Internships in state legislatures or interning as a congressional aide provide valuable experience and boost your lobbying resume.
    • Interns primarily complete research, attend and take notes at hearings, answer phone calls and send out emails, read mail, and learn about issues that are at the heart of your constituency. These positions are usually unpaid and are available throughout the school year and summer months.
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    Try to meet as many lobbyists or otherwise related professionals during your internship. Often, who you know is just as helpful as your qualifications in getting your first job. Much of your job as a lobbyists is forming relationships with key people who can help you achieve your goal. Learning to lobby other lobbyists is a uniquely essential skill.
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    Learn the art of persuasion. As a lobbyists, your most basic job is to persuade a congressperson or a group of people that a particular idea holds traction or that a particular policy deserves attention. In order to do this, you must be charming, persistent, and persuasive.
    • Start building relationships with the appropriate policymakers. Lobbyists can sit down with a policymaker and help draft legislation that both serves the policy maker's constituency and fulfills the lobbyist's policy goals. In order to do this, you need to both personable and persuasive.
    • Learn how to fundraise. While it's improper, illegal, and frowned upon to grease the palms of politicians in order to make gears move, it's key for a lobbyist to be able to fundraise for a politician.[1]
    • Get social. Lobbyists can and do throw cocktail parties and dinners in order to rub shoulders with other lobbyists and policymakers in a less intense and adversarial atmosphere. These are great opportunities for you learn information, sell ideas, and make connections. Don't underestimate them.
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    Get involved with local issues. You can often accomplish some grassroots lobbying on the local level. Grassroots lobbyists focus on getting the community involved by making phone calls or writing letters to their legislators to sway policy. Grassroots lobbying could provide a welcome break from the intensely gridlocked, closed-room negotiations of direct lobbying.
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    Get used to really long hours. Being a lobbyist is not a walk in the park. According to some sources, lobbyists regularly work between 40 and 80 hours per week, with all-nighters becoming the norm right before a bill is up for vote.[1] The silver lining is that a lot of the grueling work you'll be doing is networking, meaning that you won't necessarily be perched behind a desk for early mornings and long nights.


  • Your primary role as a lobbyist will be swaying legislation. Charm and charisma are required for the job. Lobbyists often host dinner or cocktail parties for politicians.
  • Work experience and extensive knowledge are the most important factors when a candidate is being considered for a lobbying position.
  • Law and Public Relations are excellent job choices while trying to gain more experience.


  • Lobbyists have shaky relationships with the public's trust. You will most likely encounter people who will assume you are corrupt just because you are a lobbyist.
  • As a lobbyist, you will always be working on lobbying for another organization's interests. There will always be the possibility of working for a cause that you don't believe in.

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