By: Madison Job
This past Friday, I had the opportunity to attend a Government Affairs and Lobbying panel at the Capital Building. I was showered with enticing information on what it’s like to work in the Government Relations field from a group of professional lobbyists in the Lansing area. Recently changing my major from Kinesiology to Journalism with a minor in Public Relations, I have been curious as to what this profession entails.
What is Lobbying?
This is a form of advocacy meant to influence a decision being made at a federal, state, or local level. Within government affairs, lobbyists, (the people doing the pursuing) may attempt to sway a legislative official’s opinion one way or another.
How is this done?
Here is the best advice the professionals provided in order to be successful in the career:
- Sell yourself (what’s better than a personable display of character?)
- DO YOUR RESEARCH- present palatable information to display a depth of understanding on the topic
- Don’t advocate for something you don’t believe in— if you want the change, you can make the change
- Constantly be “on the ball”— making yourself available to your client’s needs highlights your aptitude for the job (and yes, you are the best there is for it!)
- Own it— confidence is key
What are the pros of this career?
- Lucrative business— if you do well, it pays well
- 24 – hour job (both a pro and con)
- Opportunity to network is everywhere— each of the six professionals have at one point worked with one another
- Some businesses offer the choice to travel frequently
- Rewarding— a job well done is something to celebrate!
What are the cons of this career?
- 24 – hour job
- You don’t see your kids as often as you like (if you have any)
- Making yourself available to your client more than your family
- High stress levels
What if I want to pursue a career in this field?
- EXPERIENCE EXPERIENCE EXPERIENCE— the professionals could not stress that enough
- Internship on a legislative level— many began on a campaign at the Capital building (right down the road!)
- Build communications skills— yes, learn how to answer a phone
Overall, a career in Government Affairs absolutely is appealing to me as I continue my endeavor to a future career. I have the utmost respect for the daily accomplishments of our government and it would be an honor to one day work in such a respectable environment.
Who attended the panel? Click the links to learn more!
Michigan Infrastructure & Transportation Association (or MITA)
Governmental Consultant Services, Inc.
Creative Many Michigan
Sparrow Health System
Michigan Restaurant Association