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Interview with Andy Bechhoefer

Posted By Nikki Enfield, Wednesday, May 27, 2009
Andy Bechhoefer currently serves as the targeting director at Grassroots Solutions

Out of college Andy started working for the National Committee for an Effective Congress on their targeting. After that he worked for the DCCC and the Bradley for President campaign before joining Grassroots Solutions.

1.  Describe your current job
I am the targeting director for Grassroots Solutions, a field consulting and grassroots organizing firm. I take a set of parameters (vote goal, budget, polling targets) and help a campaign or organization design a plan to reach that goal.

2. How would you describe your career path? How did you get started in progressive politics?
Like most people in this business I started volunteering and interning on local campaigns. I got a break during the Mondale Presidential campaign when they thought my computer skills would be helpful to NCEC, a PAC that was also responsible for their targeting.

The last 10 years have been spent applying those targeting skills to various campaigns. With the DCCC over various cycles I have helped them target which races to spend money on and help individual candidates design voter contact programs.

At Grassroots Solutions we use some kind of targeting in most of our programs. This includes non-campaign clients as well as campaign clients. Recently we have spent much of our time applying the latest microtargeting data to voter contact programs. Targeting is about efficiency. Our job is sometimes to make the voter contact 5%-10% more efficient. When many voter contact programs cost hundreds of thousands of dollars (and up), this efficiency can save them lots of money.

3. What are the three most important skills for success in politics?
  • Planning - Never lose sight of the big picture
  • Computer skills - whether it is database programming, web design, or Excel and Powerpoint, computer skills are important
  • Writing - One would be surprised how few people in this business can write well 
4. When you're hiring, is there anything in particular on a resume that makes you pick up the phone to schedule an interview? Is there anything that gets the resume tossed into the circular file post-haste?
Keep the resume short and focused on the types of jobs you are interested in. One page resumes are a plus, since we never look at the 2nd page anyway. The resume does not need to list every campaign job if there are dozens. The most recent jobs and the ones where you worked the longest are the most important. A good set of references is also important, as many people are hired on recommendations from people they know.

5. What would be your first next step if you were looking for a job in the progressive political world today?
Don't be afraid to go out on a campaign, even a smaller race. There is no substitute for a variety of experience. Campaigns offer a much broader experience than some DC jobs. Small races also offer the chance to get lots of responsibility at a young age.






Tags:  career advice  job tips 

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