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So You Want to Work in Public Affairs?

So often, people around the country feel trapped in jobs that aren’t fulfilling, don’t align with their principles or don’t have the greater impact they hoped they would. For those people, it’s probably time to seek a new career–if you’re one of those people, you might want to consider a career in public affairs.

Finding a career that truly makes a difference can be difficult, but public affairs might be the answer. There are a variety of positions and departments within the public affairs umbrella–each of which requires different set of skills, but all of which can have tangible and direct influences on you and those around you.

What is Public Affairs?

For a more in-depth answer to this question, visit our blog post “Public Affairs 101,” and give it a read. It covers most of the ins and outs of what public affairs is and what goes into the practice. In a sentence, public affairs can be summed up thusly: the building and development of relationships between organizations or individuals and the public, usually as they relate to issues affecting the public like legislation or public administration.

What Does Employment in Public Affairs Look Like?

No two public affairs roles will be identical in nature, nor will any titles obtained by someone in the field. Unlike the highly regulated job titles in law–attorney, lawyer, counsel,  associate, etc.–public affairs practitioners can take on almost limitless monikers including (and certainly not limited to) public affairs practitioner, political advisor, lobbyist, corporate communications or external relations management, and so on.

Employment in public affairs, much like employment in public relations can take numerous forms. Public affairs firms are groups of professionals that organizations or individuals can hire to work with a number of clients simultaneously. In-house public affairs work refers to those who work within a company solely on that organization’s public affairs efforts. Others still work in freelance capacities or serve as advisors to a particular politician or government body.

What Do Public Affairs Practitioners Do?

Work within the field of public affairs cannot be summed up in one sentence. While many practitioners specialize in certain areas, most are expected to be a jack of all trades to some degree. Regular requirements and duties in public affairs involve working in lobbying, media monitoring and engagement, event planning, political marketing and contact-building, to name a few. For more in-depth examples of each of these, visit PublicAffairsNetworking.com.

The job market in public affairs has been growing and improving for years, making jobs in the field not overwhelmingly hard to come by. If you’d like to make a real difference in your community and influence the legislation and regulations and platforms important to you, a career in public affairs might be a great fit.

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