How to Find a Lobbying Job

Today’s podcast is about how to find a lobbying job. Generally, my advice to prospective lobbyists is usually similar to job seekers in many other professions, but I’ll try to give some specific advice on getting a lobbying job at the state level in California.

Before you start applying for lobbying jobs there are a few things you should first consider. First, understand the types of lobbying jobs that are out there. Second, understand what you want to do in the lobbying professions. Then, target potential lobbying jobs that suit your interests and your strengths.

Let’s start by discussing the types of lobbying jobs, of which there are essentially four: contract, in house or government relations, association, or government. A contract lobbyist is someone who is contracted by one or more lobbyist employers to work on their behalf. There are over 2,500 lobbyist employers at the state level in California.

An in house or government relations positions is one in which the lobbyist is a full-time employee of a business.  An association lobbyist, similar to an in house lobbyist, is a full time employee of a trade association or union. All of the aforementioned types of lobbyists must register with the Secretary of State.

A government lobbyist is someone who fills of working as the Governor’s lobbyists. They are a full-time employee of a particular state agency and are also similar to an in house lobbyist in the private sector. The key difference, though, is that since government lobbyists are employees of the state, they do not have to register as a lobbyist with the Secretary of State.

The next thing a prospective lobbyist should consider is what they want to do in the lobbying profession. Do you want to advocate on specific bills before the Legislature or regulations at state agencies? Do you like analyzing bills and regulations, or writing policy papers and advocacy documents? More importantly, which of these roles suit your strengths? These are useful questions to ask yourself to help narrow your lobbying job search.

Some other questions to consider are what subject matter or cause most interests you? Do you have a substantive background in a particular policy area? Your answers to those questions will also help you narrow down your job search.

Once you’ve considered these questions – and some other questions that I pose in the full podcast – you’ll want to know where to look for lobbying jobs. While word of mouth is one route, and a helpful asset, you can also find jobs posted on Capitol Morning Report, The Nooner, and Capitol Daybook.