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Career profile: Public affairs consultant

Career profile: Public affairs consultantInterested in politics and great at communicating? If so, you could be in demand as a public affairs consultant.

A what?

A public affairs consultant makes the link between companies or independent organisations and the government. They use their knowledge of political processes to give advice to their clients.

On the job

Public affairs consultants are required to keep up-to-date with current trends in politics, and read about policy decisions as and when they happen. They are responsible for communicating this information to their clients. They have to be able to react quickly in any situation to build strategies for influencing public figures.

The job may involve a lot of writing (composing press releases or newsletters) as well as emailing clients to keep them informed. It may also require some travelling to conferences and political events to build networks.

Course entry requirements

To become a public affairs consultant you will be expected to have a degree, as well as three good A-levels or equivalent Scottish Highers. Although it is not strictly necessary, a specific degree such as politics, social policy, business or law is useful. Many public affairs consultants also have a Masters degree (a one year course full-time or two years part-time) in politics or a similar subject.

What is the training like?

Most of the larger public affairs organisations offer internships and on the job training for graduates. Graduate schemes usually consist of a year working for a public affairs company, where you will have the chance to experience various different aspects of the job, as well as the opportunity to meet and work with some of the clients.

Competition for graduate schemes is fierce, so to give yourself a head start, try applying for one of the summer internships. These offer valuable training and experience, although they are often unpaid.

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