One of the best ways to prepare yourself for eventually contesting a nomination or becoming a candidate is to work for a candidate or a political party. This will provide you with invaluable information on how a campaign unfolds, put you in contact with people who can help you to pursue a political career, demonstrate your skills and help raise your profile.
Also, by becoming a member of a political party, you can participate in party conventions and maybe have the opportunity to influence policy by introducing a resolution or supporting one.
Look at how some women politicians started their career this way. For example, here is how Barbara McDougall first became involved in politics and then went on to hold several cabinet posts, including that of Minister of External Affairs and Defence:
“When I returned to Toronto [from Vancouver], I wanted to get involved in politics in a big way. I began to build a relationship with the Rosedale Progressive Conservative Association just as David Crombie was heading into his first federal by-election. I wanted very badly to have a voice in policy and campaign
strategy. But David didn’t know me.
So I introduced myself to Bill Saunderson, David’s campaign
manager, and told him I’d like to help. Then I went home and
wrote a letter outlining what I’d like to do and how I’d like to
do it. Days later Bill phones and sets up a meeting for the
three of us.
I went through a series of responsible positions in the party
so that by early 1984 I was ready with my own political power
base in place, and I sought the Tory nominations in St. Paul’s.
The rest as they say is history.”