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Local and State Government
City or town management
Legislative, Executive, or Judicial Services
Departments of state government
Research your local and/or state government.
Employment opportunities in local government tend to follow population trends in terms of growth and decline in availability of positions. Check statistics on growing communities to find the most opportunities. Be prepared to relocate.
Develop a network of contacts through referrals and informational interviews.
Conduct research, (e.g., education, homelessness, etc. that could be useful to your community).
Get involved in civic organizations and events.
Complete an internship in a government agency.
Participate in local or national election campaigns.
Familiarize self with government application process.
Consider earning a graduate degree in public administration (MPA) or public policy (MPP).
Legislative, Executive, or Judicial Services
Take courses or minor in applicable interest area(s).
Seek leadership roles in relevant campus organizations such as model United Nations, student government, and cross-cultural organizations.
Write for campus publications focused on national and international affairs.
Develop skills in computers, statistics, and data analysis.
Acquire foreign language competency and travel experience for international positions.
There are a large number of specialized agencies within the federal government. Do extensive research in order to find the area that best fits your interests.
Become familiar with the government application process. Utilize applicable websites and seek assistance from your college career center.
Obtain an internship in a federal agency or department.
Participate in national campaigns.
Conduct informational interviews with government employees.
Build a strong personal network.
Nonprofit or public interest
Federal, state, and local government
Special interest groups
Universities and colleges
Legal aid societies
Nonprofit and public interest organizations (e.g., ACLU, NAACP Legal Defense Fund, Legal Services Corporation)
Other private legal services
Develop strong research skills and attention to detail.
Participate in debate teams to hone communication skills.
Choose courses or a minor to specialize in a particular area of law, (e.g., a minor in business for a career in corporate law).
Gain practical experience through an internship, part-time job or summer work in a law firm.
Shadow an attorney to learn more about the field and various specialties.
Get involved in pre-law organizations.
Plan to attend law school and earn a law degree (JD).
Maintain a high grade point average and secure strong faculty recommendations. Prepare for the LSAT (Law School Admission Test).
Obtain specialized certification for paralegal positions.
Elected or appointed leadership
Special interest advocacy
Legislative, executive, or judicial officials
National, state, or local government
Political action committees
Campaigns: national, state, or local
Industrial, educational, and public interest groups
Large business firms
Polling and consulting firms
Volunteer for national, state, or local campaigns.
Be prepared to begin a political career as a volunteer before moving to paid positions.
Many elected public officials begin careers in other fields (law, medicine, business) before campaigning for office.
Gain experience through internships with government agencies, lobbying firms, or legislatures.
Obtain leadership roles in campus organizations.
Become involved in campus political groups, student government, publications, or community service projects.
Take courses in statistics, public policy, or other specific interest areas.
Get involved with a political party/group and develop a personal network. The ability to build networks, coalitions and alliances with other associations is highly valued.
Develop excellent public relations, interpersonal, and communication skills.
Policy making and analysis
Public sector reform
Ethics and anti-corruption
Organization and management development
Media/Communication policy and practice education
Intergovernmental agencies (e.g., World Bank, United Nations, etc).
Non-governmental organizations (NGOs)
Policy and research organizations
Contracting and consulting firms
Department of State
Department of Agriculture
Department of Commerce
Department of Defense
National Security Council
Earn a double major or minor in order to gain additional skills or knowledge, (e.g., Africana studies, Asian studies, business, psychology).
Spend time studying or working abroad. Make and maintain contacts in foreign countries.
Seek cultural experiences on campus and get involved with the international student population.
Obtain internships or volunteer to gain valuable experience in areas of interest.
Participate in overseas mission trips or spend a Semester at Sea.
Research the history and culture interest areas.
Become proficient in at least one foreign language.
Learn about international travel regulations and take steps towards obtaining work or study visas for various locations.
Plan to earn a graduate degree in international affairs, foreign policy, or other specialty areas.
Consider entering the Peace Corps.
Product and service organizations
Print and electronic media
Real estate companies
Property management firms
Other business corporations
Develop strong analytical, verbal, writing, and leadership skills.
Earn a minor/double major in business or supplement curriculum with business courses.
Gain relevant experience in an area of interest through internships or other employment.
Obtain leadership roles in campus organizations
Demonstrate excellent interpersonal skills.
Hone computer skills and learn software packages such as databases, spreadsheets and presentations.
Become knowledgeable about corporate social responsibility.
Local and national nonprofit agencies
Trade or professional associations
Special interest groups
Historic sites/historical societies
Research organizations and think tanks
Gain practical experience through volunteering or completing an internship with a nonprofit organization of interest.
Earn a minor or supplement curriculum with courses in business, psychology, sociology, or social work.
Obtain leadership roles in relevant campus and community organizations.
Develop strong communication and research skills.
Learn grant writing skills.
Demonstrate knowledge and experience in a specialty area, (e.g., public health, environment, urban issues).
Research organizations’ values to find a good fit for you. It is critical that you are knowledgeable about and committed to the work you’re going to do.
Investigate term of service or service corps positions as a way to gain entry into the field, (e.g. AmeriCorps, Peach Corps, VISTA)
Consider earning a graduate degree for more job opportunities and advancement.
Newspapers: national, local, or trade
Political action committees
Broadcast media companies: television, radio, and the movie industry
Public, cable, and private television stations
National, state, or regional radio networks
Independent radio syndications
Video production companies
Obtain an internship or work experience with a newspaper, magazine, radio station, or television station.
Become proficient in desktop publishing and photography.
Develop a professional network and become aware of various social medias.
Learn HTML and other computer programs to prepare for online work.
Develop excellent verbal and written communication skills through communications courses or other writing intensive coursework.
Join the college newspaper, yearbook, or other publication staff.
Become a student member of professional associations.
Create a portfolio of published writing samples.
Obtain experience in and knowledge of a specialty area of interest. Experience in government is usually required for specialized reporting positions.
Develop professional image for television or other visual media positions.
Volunteer to announce local or campus sporting events.
Become involved in drama (e.g., direct, act, or work with technical crew).
Teaching, research, administration, student affairs, information/library services
K-12 schools, public and private
Boards of education
Four-year colleges and universities
Two-year and community colleges
Medical and professional schools
Complete a teacher preparation program to teach in the public school system.
Obtain teaching certificate/license for desired subject area and/or grade level. Requirements for certification/licensure vary by state. Seek multiple certifications to increase employability.
Private schools may not require certification or licensure but may prefer candidates with graduate degrees in subject areas.
Seek experiences with youth through summer jobs at camps or other community organizations.
A doctoral degree is required to teach and research at four-year institutions or to enter the highest levels of university administration. A master’s or Ph.D. degree is required to teach at two-year schools.
Earn a master’s degree in student personnel, student development, counseling, or library/information sciences for student affairs and librarian positions.
Gain related experience on campus through student leadership opportunities such as Peer Mentors, Resident Assistants, or Orientation Leaders.
An undergraduate degree in political science is good preparation for graduate or professional study in areas such as political science, public administration, foreign policy, law, business, and more. Carefully research programs in order to choose specializations or concentrations of interest.
Maintain a high grade point average to ensure admission into a graduate or law program and/or a position within the government.
Expect keen competition for federal positions. Prepare yourself with a strong academic background and good experience. Many government jobs have strict guidelines and want to carefully match candidates’ knowledge, skills, and abilities to the job description. Research this first and seek the classes and experiences that will best prepare you.
Explore application to Administrative Careers with America (ACWA) and the Outstanding Scholar Program for federal positions.
Develop strong leadership skills; run for office in clubs and organizations in school or community. Volunteer to organize or lead an event or project.
Join related social and/or professional organizations.
Build a strong personal network through informal contacts.
Consider military experience and training as an entryway into government jobs and public service. The Peace Corps is also a good way to enter a career in government.