Last week we talked about how to make and be news. This week we’ll talk about something that can make or break your campaign—your resume. If you have never run for office, voters will judge your qualifications by what you have done with your life, your achievements, your service to community.

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Reporters will ask to see your resume, you’ll be posting one on your website, passing it around to campaign contributors and others whose support you need.

There is one other person who will be taking great interest in your biography. Your opponent.

He or she will be looking for holes in your work history, embellishments, exaggerations, and checking to make sure you really earned the degrees you say you did. Which is why you need to scrub it—and make sure everything is dead on accurate. If your bio is not clean, it will come back to haunt you, because when your opponent finds a falsehood, they will make you eat it.


As you prepare your run for office, make that scrubbing your resume is one of the first things you do. Never claim degrees you didn’t earn, accomplishments that are not your own, or membership in organizations you never served.

The second task is make sure that you burnish your resume, and include important accomplishments that matter to voters.

Have you raised children? Served in the military? Managed a business, written a book or held an important position in a business or charitable organization? If so, what did you accomplish?

Have you ever volunteered to help with a charitable cause? Been involved with a community group like the Lions Club, the Chamber of Commerce, United Way, or Rotary? A civic organization or foundation? A church? Did you hold a leadership position? Have you ever won any honors or awards for your professional volunteer work?

During your service to those groups, did you ever feed the hungry, shelter the homeless, send care packages to veterans, help people get health care, build homes, serve the poor or register people to vote?

Have you ever helped advance a cause like securing more money for schools, helping children learn to read, raising money for a library or better serving the elderly in your community?

If yes, be sure to include them.

If your entire life history includes none of these, look around your community for a cause to serve and do it before your campaign gets underway so that you can include it on your resume.

You will be asking voters to trust your judgment, and your commitment to the people you want to serve. It’s up to you to prove that they can.

Next week, I’ll be back with some thoughts about your clothes, and a delicious story about a candidate for Judge who blew an election because of what he wore to a picnic.

running for office

Political consultant Jay Townsend works with smart, passionate candidates who want to run for office, win elections and make a difference. He has successfully helped candidates learn how to run for the U.S. Senate, how to run for Congress, how to run for Mayor and develop a winning campaign marketing strategy.

How to win an election:

Running for office and knowing how to win an election is a challenge, especially for first time political candidates just learning how to run for office. Discerning the fine points of how to campaign, raise political contributions, and execute a political campaign strategy often requires the help of someone who has served as a political strategist or who has experience as a political consultant.

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