What Do Lobbyists Do

Alyssa OmandacCareer, Overview

A Lobbyist is an individual who attempts to influence government policies on behalf of an organization or industry. They are advocates who aim to persuade legislators to propose new legislation or amend existing legislation to produce beneficial outcomes for their employer.

For example, a Lobbyist working for a utility company or a firm that represents the utility industry may persuade lawmakers to pass legislation that benefits utility companies. Some Lobbyists represent business associations, manufacturing companies, the pharmaceutical industry, and even hospitals. However, persuading lawmakers is just one of the job duties for a Lobbyist.



Lobbyists

The main task of a Lobbyist is to influence the decisions of government officials and lawmakers. They lobby for specific changes to government policies and laws.

Salary: $114200
Education: Bachelor's degree
Personality: The Leader

What they do

The main task of a Lobbyist is to influence the decisions of government officials and lawmakers. They lobby for specific changes to government policies and laws.

Directly and indirectly lobby politicians and public support

Lobbyists spend most of their time lobbying politicians and decision-makers to gain political support for their client’s cause. Direct lobbying may involve meeting with politicians to discuss specific issues. They may meet in public or private to encourage politicians to support their client’s views on a policy or law that impacts their business.

Indirect lobbying typically involves swaying public opinion. Lobbyists may organize grassroots efforts to gather public support. This may involve calling citizens on the phone or organizing advertisements on TV or the Internet.

Some Lobbyists directly work with other organizations with similar interests. For example, a Lobbyist may attempt to form partnerships with other organizations that share similar goals to create a stronger push for changes to legislation or public policies.

Prepare news releases for the public

Lobbyists often need to influence public opinion to gain support for the goals of their clients, which typically involves the release of news material. They may prepare news releases for publication in magazines, newspapers, websites, or television ads.

Along with news releases or press releases, Lobbyists may write white papers, brochures, and other types of information literature that breaks down the goals of their clients. This may include a list of benefits of the intended policy changes or more information on the dangers of not changing policies.

Conduct research into policies or legislation

Lobbyists need to fully understand the impact of current policies or legislation and what changes are needed to achieve the goals of their client or employer. This typically requires extensive research.

For example, a Lobbyist may need to perform research to support their causes or arguments before meeting with Politicians. Research is also needed to understand public opinion on the topic. Lobbyists may need to research the latest findings from different organizations or government agencies to back up their proposals.

Track policy changes and initiatives to create detailed reports

Lobbyists typically need to present their clients or employers with detailed reports of their efforts and progress. They often track the latest developments related to the policies or legislation that they want to change and then compile the results into detailed reports.

Based on their reports, Lobbyists may also provide recommendations for achieving specific goals or developing new legislative agendas.

Establish a growing list of contacts in the government and industry

Lobbyists need to develop positive relationships with those who they plan on influencing. They often establish a growing list of contacts that can help promote their views or the views of their client. Common contacts for Lobbyists include Politicians and industry leaders.

Establishing contacts helps Lobbyists arrange meetings with decision-makers. Having a long list of contacts also allows Lobbyists to gain additional support for their proposals.

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What is it like working as one

Pros

You get to help make a difference in the world

Lobbyists influence changes to policies and legislation. Whether or not you support the changes, your work may make a difference for specific industries or populations.

You have the chance to give a voice to the minority

Lobbyists who work for nonprofit organizations or associations that support social changes help give a voice to those with limited power. You have the chance to support change for people who politicians may overlook or ignore.

You can build relationships with powerful individuals

Working as a Lobbyist often requires you to develop relationships with prominent individuals in government. The contacts that you develop may help you out in other areas, such as transitioning to a different career later in life.

You get to practice your skills of influence and persuasion

Lobbyists are often outgoing individuals and possess the ability to influence others. Most of your work revolves around conversations and getting people to agree with you.

Cons

Many people will misunderstand your job duties

Many people have a negative opinion of Lobbyists. You may need to deal with people frequently misunderstanding or undervaluing the work that you do.

Your efforts may not produce the results that you want

Your lobbying may not always result in changes to policies, which can be discouraging.


Where they work

Lobbying Firms
Trade Associations
Advocacy Groups
State and Local Governments


Large Multinational Corporations

Many Lobbyists work for lobbying firms that offer lobbying services to clients in various industries. Lobbyists may work for trade associations and advocacy groups to promote policy changes that support their employers.

Lobbyists are also employed in state and local governments. They may help state or local officials research policies, develop policy agendas, and influence the opinions of other lawmakers. Private companies may also hire Lobbyists to design initiatives that aid the operations of the company.

How to become one

Step 1: Take Government and Communications courses in High School

High school students interested in becoming Lobbyists should study government and communications as this career requires a knowledge of government processes and strong communication skills.

Step 2: Earn a Bachelor’s Degree

A Bachelor’s degree is typically the minimum educational requirement for becoming a Lobbyist. Employers may accept candidates with any type of degree. However, a degree in Public Relations, Political Science, Economics, or Communications may improve your career prospects.

Step 3: Find an internship

Aspiring Lobbyists should find internships with government officials or associations that hire lobbyists. This gives you a chance to network with politicians and other lobbyists while learning more about your future career.

Step 4: Obtain related work experience

Before becoming a full-time Lobbyist, you may need related work experience. After an internship, look for entry-level work with a consulting agency or lobbying firm. As you gain more experience and contacts, you may start looking for open job positions for junior Lobbyists.

Step 5: Register with the state or federal government

There are no licenses or certifications required for Lobbyists. However, you must register as a Lobbyist with your state government or the federal government, depending on the scope of your lobbying efforts.

Should you become one

Lobbyists need strong communication skills. Your job duties involve influencing other peoples’ opinions, which requires you to communicate the benefits and drawbacks of various policies. Lobbyists also need excellent people skills. You need to be able to read peoples’ attitudes and build rapport with people from different backgrounds.

Working as a Lobbyist also requires a passion to bring change. If you are not passionate about the policies that your client or employer wants to change, you may fail to influence others.

Take this quiz to see if being a Lobbyist is the right career for you.

Take this quiz to see if this is the right career for you.


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