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07/25/2008

Career Information

Because there is no prerequisite degree or training to become a
lobbyist, many people believe that anyone can be a lobbyist.
Technically, that is correct. There is no "entrance exam" one must
pass before beginning to work in government relations. But, in some
ways, that creates more of a barrier; because an individual cannot
produce credentials on his or her qualifications, potential employers or
clients must rely on the applicant's performance record. If a lobbyist
has no record of lobbying experience, there is little to commend him or
her for the work.

Most lobbyists are college graduates, and many have advanced
degrees. Of these advanced degrees, the most prevalent is legal
training, with other common backgrounds being communications,
teaching, public relations and journalism. Lobbyists must be able to
understand their clients' interests as well as the laws and policies they
hope to influence. They must be able to communicate effectively with
their audience, both orally and in writing. It is also necessary for them
to understand the legislative and political process.

Possibly the best training for lobbying is experience in a legislative or
congressional office. Even the most menial position in the NC General
Assembly or on Capitol Hill helps provide an understanding of the
process unlike anything in a classroom, and competence quickly leads
to increased responsibility. Professional staffers - either in personal or
committee offices - develop not only an understanding of legislative
and congressional issues but also a valuable network of congressional
contacts.

Important Note: Unfortunately, we do not have additional information
available for people trying to get into the lobbying profession. The
Association is a membership organization dedicated to helping
lobbyists perform their jobs better, rather than an employment service
of any kind. The best suggestion we can make is for individuals to use
the contacts they have through previous work or studies, seeking
informational interviews and networking as much as possible. As
indicated in the paragraph above, political or government contacts are
particularly helpful in entering the field.

Adapted from The American League of Lobbyists website.

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