A lobbyist specializes in public relations and is usually employed by public relation firms, trade organizations, unions, and public interest groups. The major responsibility of a lobbyist is to persuade legislators to vote on public policy in line with their clients' interests.
Lobbyist Job Description
Lobbyists generally need to perform the following tasks:
Develop a deep understanding of their clients' interests in legislation
Strengthen their clients' position on the issues at hand
Gain a working knowledge of competitor interest groups
Prepare press releases, informational literature, and represent their clients at news conferences
Schedule and facilitate meetings with legislators on behalf of their clients
Respond to legislator inquiries and be a witness at public hearings
How to Become a Lobbyist
Lobbyists do not have any particular educational requirements, but most lobbyists have a college degree in political science, communication, or public relations. Since lobbyists require a vast knowledge and a deep understanding of various concepts, a college degree is essential in their career. Online education is an option students are now choosing to earn a degree, and it is a convenient and flexible way to acquire education because it saves time, allows students to work at their own pace, and may be cost effective.
Skills and Experience
Lobbyists require experience in public relations and a network of contacts with policy makers and members of public offices. They should also possess the following skills in order to be successful:
Strong communication and analytical skills
Awareness of current news events and legislative activities
Ability to maintain a highly organized work environment
Strong persuasion and negotiation skills
Stress tolerance and ability to meet critical deadlines
Creativity, excellent judgment, and ability to take initiative
Work Settings And Conditions
Lobbyists usually work full time, but some only perform partial functions of an entire project. Initially, lobbyists get the chance to meet legislators by participating as representative of an industry or a group. Once they have started to make their own contacts, they may then work as a lobbyist independently. Lobbyists may be present in various industries such as oil, automotive, and banking. They also work with advocacy groups and groups promoting non-profit causes, such as those advocating for civil rights or stricter environmental laws. Sometimes lobbyists are not employed but they perform their duty voluntarily based on the cause which they consider important.
Salary And Career Outlook
Salary and career outlook of lobbyists are subject to change. There are a number of factors that determine the salary of a lobbyist. These factors include the type of expertise, relevant experience, and if the lobbying is done with federal, state, or local lawmakers. The career opportunities for lobbyists keep varying with the changing political scenario. The salary of a lobbyist is decided on the bases of supply and demand, and also depends on the political situation. If a particular party is in power, the lobbyists who have strong political ties with that particular political party will be more in demand compared to others, and their salaries will be higher.