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Think Tank Jobs - What Are They and How to Get One

What Is a Think Tank?

A think tank is an institute or organization that performs advocacy and research on one or more topics. Think tanks frequently address topics like proposed political and social policies, economic matters, use of technology, and culture. The structure and goals of a think tank often reflect its source of support, which can be anything from a non-profit to a government-, corporation-, or university-sponsored guarantee of support. Think tanks range from large and diversified groups to smaller setups focused on specific and specialized topics. Some think tanks provide help with writing legislation, finding experts on particular issues, determining what topics should be studied, or bringing people together.

What Is a Think Tank Job?

As a member of a think tank, your job is to support the organization in advancing its goals. To accomplish this, you may research a proposed policy, study the best way to advocate for or against something, look for politicians or celebrities willing to support your organization, or interview scientists and decide how to distribute grants and scholarships. Think tanks vary in what they do, so there is no guarantee of consistency even when jobs have the same title in this field. Some employees focus solely on fundraising to ensure the think tank can continue operating for another year. Before even considering applying for a think tank job, it is best to examine think tanks you are interested in working for and see what they expect from employees.

What Are the Qualifications to Get a Job in a Think Tank Company?

The primary qualifications for a think tank job vary by company but often include a bachelor's degree in a related field. Some think tanks prefer a master's degree instead. Other qualifications may include knowing another language, history as a researcher, or outstanding writing skills. Fulfilling the duties and responsibilities of this position often requires analytical skills, the ability to cooperate with other employees, and the ability to present research and propositions compellingly. Other valued traits include creativity, willingness to take the initiative, and a personal interest in the think tank's overall focus. Think tank employees sometimes work irregular hours when hosting events, so a flexible schedule is beneficial.