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If you love politics and working on political campaigns and have a strong record of success in helping candidates get elected, you might have what it takes to become a political handler. There is no set career path or educational requirement for this field, but you will need excellent marketing skills. Much of the job requires being media-savvy and having a knack for promoting political candidates so they appear both likable and credible to the public. The duties of a political handler can vary, however, depending on the needs of the politician and the roles of other people involved in a campaign.
One of the best ways to become a political handler is to work on campaigns at the local level and then move into campaigns with a larger scope. To start, you might be working as a volunteer. As your expertise grows, you could be asked to be a paid staff member for a politician or a political party.
Anything that shows you can bring results will increase your value to a candidate and help you in your quest to become a political handler. Campaigners often measure their success through how much fundraising they do. The main goal, however, is to help a candidate get elected. If you can show success in these two areas, you will be in a good position to become a political handler.
Dealing with the media and helping a candidate project a positive image are additional skills you need to become a political handler. When a candidate is too outspoken or insensitive, it can generate negative media coverage. You might even be required to handle some of the backlash, which can include fielding complaints from irate people. Ultimately, your job as a political handler is to prevent this from happening by coaching a candidate on what to say and how to behave.
Political handlers are often expected to come up with story ideas to present to the media. These stories may contain news, but they primarily are designed to cast the candidate in a positive light. Getting media coverage is a good way to get a candidate’s name and platform circulating before the public.
You might want to consider a bachelor’s degree in political science or public relations if you want to become a political handler. Either of these degrees can give you a foundation in the skills you will need. Just remember you also will need a combination of luck, good networking skills and being in the right place at the right time to advance your career.
Being successful in this field also requires stamina and persistence. You can expect to work long, hectic hours. There is generally no set schedule, and weekend and evening work is usually required.