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Government & International

The information below provides an overview of the government and public policy industries and job functions, and can be used as a step-by-step guide for starting a career in government and public policy. You will also find resources and strategies for international careers.

View or print our industry calendar to see a full list of industry-specific programs and events, general workshops, and helpful tips!

Government & International Calendar

Government

What is Government & Public Policy?
Government is one of the most important areas of our society with matters of defense, crime prevention, the administration of justice, the conservation of the environment, education, fair labor practices, family law, the registry of property transfers, the purity of food and drugs, agricultural prices, the soundness of the currency, flood control, responsible banking practices, immigration, zoning, taxation, foreign trade policies, and many more concerns of daily life. When beginning your job or internship search it is important to start to distinguish where your interests are so that you can better target your job or internship search. Pursuing work for a Federal or Local Government organization indicates that you want to be part of an agency that is responsible for the oversight and administration of specific functions, such as an intelligence agency. Day to day activities are affected by the issues of the day: current needs concerning public safety, terrorism, environmental protection, internet security, and cultural diversity are becoming more urgent. There is a notable variety of agency types. However, pursing internships or jobs in Public Policy can mean working on Capitol Hill in Washington, D.C., in local politics, for a particular political party, for a lobbying organization, a politically-affiliated nonprofit, or a think tank. (Vault, 2015)

Skill Set
You will need a bachelor degree and critical thinking skills to succeed in government roles. All majors are accepted, however focusing on American Studies, International Business, History, International Studies, Political Science, or Philosophy Politics Economics and Law (PPEL) can provide a strong basis for a career in government and public policy.

Internships
Gaining intern and/or volunteer experience in government related organizations and political campaigns will help you build the skills and qualifications needed in the industry. Deadlines for summer internships are in the fall and early spring. Take advantage of opportunities to volunteer with organizations related to your governmental area of interest.

Entry Level Full-Time Opportunities
Entry level positions can vary. Consider positions with city, state, and federal offices including Foreign Services, U.S. Congress, state legislatures, lobbyists, think tanks, and political science departments of colleges and universities. Positions can include campaign staff, and government office staff. Be sure to become familiar with the usajobs.gov website, the online database for all government jobs. Most government positions require extensive background checks, so prepare for a long application and hiring process.

Salary Expectations
Your salary may vary depending on the sector, the organization, the geographic region, and your skills and experience level. Click here to view the National Association of Colleges and Employers salary resources. There is not much room for salary negotiation at the entry-point of any career path, and most organizations have benchmarked salaries with their competitors.

Hiring Process
For Federal positions, start with the Frequently Asked Questions Page by the Partnership for Public Service. The Partnership for Public Service is a non-profit organization with the best and most up-to-date information about applying to positions with the federal government. READ it in detail before attempting to apply to positions on The Federal Government’s Official Jobs Site.

Government positions often require applications and resumes—especially if there is a criminal background check involved. Applications often require the following information: list of past jobs (no matter how short a time you held it), supervisor names, phone numbers, dates of employment, beginning and ending salary, past residences, and all school information including high school. RESUMES FOR FEDERAL POSITIONS CAN BE MORE THAN ONE PAGE. Read the job announcement carefully, highlighting key words or phrases describing the position responsibilities so you remember to address those points in your resume or in answer to application questions.

Start applying 6-8 months before you want to work. Within two months of applying you should know whether you will be interviewed for the position, then if they are interested in you and the position requires a background check that can take 4-6 months or more. An agency will not do a background check for employment unless you are a serious candidate.
Government Job Dos and Dont's

  • A clean record—no felony convictions, no DUIs
  • No illegal drugs or abuse of prescription or over the counter drugs
  • Good credit history is a good idea—no defaults of student loan (insured by the U.S. Government)
  • A urinalysis drug test must be passed
  • Register with the Selective Service System (Males over 18 http://www.sss.gov/regist.htm)
  • Criminal background checks for high security positions are performed once you are selected as a candidate for an interview—applicants must provide work history from 18 on up—DO NOT LEAVE ANY JOB OUT, even if you only had it for an hour.
  • Lying will keep you from being hired, you will take a polygraph and may continue for the rest of your career in a security clearance profession.
  • No illegal downloading of music For local government positions go to their respective webpages and read in detail how to apply to positions.

For local government positions go to their respective webpages and read in detail how to apply to positions.

Campus Resources for a Career in Government & Public Policy

*Some resources have eligibility requirements.  Review program websites or contact the program directly for details.

Freshman

Sophomore

Junior

Senior

Explore

Amnesty International

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College Republicans

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Mock Trial

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Model United Nations Society

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Phi Alpha Delta

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Pi Sigma Alpha

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Roosevelt Institute

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Student Government Associations

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UR Debate Council

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UR ONE

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UR Young Democrats

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Young Americans for Liberty

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Alumni Informational Interviews

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Wellness 090: Career Exploration

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Prepare

Resume Review Workshop

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Mock Interview/Interview Workshop

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Internship/Externship

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Evening of Etiquette

 

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Company/Organization Information Sessions

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Wellness 090: Life & Career After UR

 

 

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Connect

On-Campus Interviews

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Spiders for the Common Good

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Government & Nonprofit Expo

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UR Career Expos

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Campus Resources for a Career in Government & Public Policy-Defined

Alumni Informational Interviews
Most UR alumni are willing to talk with you and share insights about their industry and career path via informational interviews.  After meeting alumni at career and networking events, you can reach out to them directly to schedule a 30 minute informational interview. You can also meet alumni via the Alumni Informational Interview Program.  The program is designed to invite a group of University of Richmond alumni to share the Richmond experience with applicants in target cities throughout the country.

Amnesty International
Amnesty International is the world's largest grassroots organization. Our purpose is to protect people wherever justice, freedom, truth and dignity are denied. We investigate and expose abuses, educate and mobilize the public, and help transform societies to create a safer world. Our vision is of a world in which every person - regardless of race, religion, gender, or ethnicity - enjoys all human rights.

College Republicans
The URCRs is a club for conservative undergraduate and graduate students at the University of Richmond.

Company/Organization Information Sessions
Many of UR’s partner organizations provide Company Information Sessions on campus.  In these sessions, company representatives will provide an overview of their organization and describe internships and jobs for students and recent graduates.  These sessions are a great way for you to learn about a company, job function, and industry and allow you the opportunity to ask questions and network with professionals. 

Government & Nonprofit Expo
The Office of Alumni and Career Services invites students and employers to register for the upcoming Government & Nonprofit Networking Reception and Expo in Washington, D.C. Students will have the opportunity to network with alumni living in Washington, D.C., who work in the Government and Nonprofit sectors. 

Internship/Externship
Internships are opportunities for you to gain hands-on experience in an occupation or profession of interest to you.  Internships are usually 8-10 week experiences during the summer of your junior year, and can be paid or unpaid.  Externships are often shorter term experiences during the summer of your sophomore year where you may be learning about an organization or industry. Both experiences are a good way for you to try out different industries and job functions.

Mock Interview/Interview Workshops
Prepare for the interview process by attending a Career Services sponsored interviewing workshop, where you will hear about the interview process and learn tactics for excelling in a behavioral interview. Schedule a one-on-one mock interview with a career advisor to practice your interview skills. 

Mock Trial
Mock Trial is a competitive program where teams prepare and argue court cases against teams from other colleges across the nation. Mock Trial is a program which tends to attract those on the Pre-Law track, but also gains members from every academic department. We prepare entire legal cases for competitions, including witness examinations, objections, speeches, characters roles, and the like. Then, from August to April, we spend the year competing at tournaments all over the country.

Model United Nations (UN) Society: Model United Nations is an academic student organization which focuses on educating members about current events on a global scale, topics and controversies relating to international relations, and the value of diplomacy by simulating the United Nations assembly and agenda.

On-Campus Interviews (Recruiting)
Many of UR’s partner organizations conduct interviews for externships, internships, and full-time jobs on campus via Career Services. These opportunities are posted by the employers on SpiderConnect, where you will apply for the job, and if selected, schedule an interview. 

Phi Alpha Delta
Phi Alpha Delta's Pre-Law Fraternity is an academic fraternity for students who share a common interest in the law and political science. All majors are welcome to apply.

Pi Sigma Alpha 
The purpose of the organization is to recognize excellence in academic achievement by undergraduate and graduate students in the fields of political science, government, international and public affairs; to stimulate scholarship and interest in political science; to promote worthwhile curricular and extracurricular activities related to political science; to promote civil dialog; and to engage in any other activities that further these purposes. Additionally the goal of this organization is to unite political science students in an effort to provide them with the opportunity to discuss common concerns, exchange ideas and information both on the formal and informal level.

Resume Review Workshops
UR Career Services holds workshops where you can learn about the basics of resume writing and get your resumes reviewed by peer advisors and career advisers.

Roosevelt Institute
The Roosevelt Institute seeks to generate bold progressive ideas, develop the next generation of progressive leadership, and promote the Roosevelt legacy. The Institute's Four Freedoms Center is designed to promote a rigorous debate about progressive policies and values and to deploy their strongest proponents in the public sphere.

Spiders for the Common Good
This trip allowed students to travel to Washington, D.C. and Richmond, Va. to explore the nonprofit and government industries and get the latest info on career opportunities from professionals in the field. 

Student Government Associations
WCGA- The Westhampton College Government Association serves the University of Richmond by representing student opinions, developing university-wide programming, maintaining traditions and providing students with an opportunity to be leaders.

RCSGA- The RCSGA is the overarching body of student governance for Richmond College. The association includes the Richmond College Senate, Honor Council, and Judicial Council and works with the Richmond College class cabinets. The members of this group are charged with representing their fellow students' concerns and opinions and serving as liaisons between students and administration, faculty, and staff.

Student Government Association (SGA) is made up of members of the School of Professional & Continuing Studies student body, supervised by an administrative board that meets regularly. The mission of SGA is to promote and organize events and activities throughout the academic year designed to engage SPCS students with each other as well as with the campus community.

UR Career Expo
The Spider Career Expos allow students and alumni to connect with full-time and internship opportunities. Approximately 50 organizations and more than 300 students attend annually. The expos are open to students in all majors and class years.

UR Debate Council
The UR Debate Council promotes critical assessment of current and past global issues through Parliamentary Debate Tournaments and outreach within the University Community.

UR ONE
UR ONE is dedicated to raising awareness of issues such as global poverty and preventable disease. Through meetings, documentary screenings, and letter signing campaigns we work together to teach hands-on the UR community about these crises, and to impact policy decisions regarding those less fortunate.

UR Young Democrats
We, the members of UR Young Democrats, in order to further the ideals and principles of the Democratic Party, work to improve our society through peaceful reform and effective government, and serve those in need in our community.

Wellness 090: Career Exploration
Students who complete Career Exploration will:  Learn about and practice using Career Services resources, in person and online; Develop self-awareness through use of personality and values assessment tools; Gain the skills necessary to create well-written resumes and cover letters; Learn the basics of using LinkedIn; Complete an informational interview with a professional working in an industry of interest; Develop strategies for considering and selecting a major(s).

Wellness 090: Life & Career After UR
Students who complete Life and Careers will: Learn about and practice using Career Services tools and resources, in person and online; Increase self-awareness through occupational and values assessment exercises; Obtain the skills necessary to create tailored, well-written resumes and cover letters; Learn strategies for maximizing use of LinkedIn to manage a professional network; Complete an out-of-class career development exercise relevant to career goals and needs.

Young Americans for Liberty
Young Americans for Liberty promotes freedom through activism events, speakers, and more. YAL connects small-government activists with like-minded students at UR, and with hundreds of thousands of members across the country.

Online Career Resources

Federal Government
The Partnership for Public Service
The Federal Government’s Official Jobs Site 

Local
State and Local Government on the Net
Council of State Governments
National Association of Counties
International City/County Management Association
National League of Cities 

Policy
U.S. House of Representatives
U.S. Senate
National Conference of State Legislatures
The Home Page of Capitol Hill Professionals, Staffers, Interns, and Washington DC positions
A Political and Public Affairs Staffing Agency
Washington Networking Group
General Listing of DC positions
Think Tanks

International

Interested in studying, interning, volunteering or working abroad? Before you begin, focus your search by targeting specific industries, job functions, graduate schools and countries. Resources that are targeted to your search in some way (by country or industry, for example) will usually be more effective than general resources. The following resources and strategies are designed to help you start your search, whether you are an international student or someone looking to work outside the United States. In addition to using these resources, think long term: even after you've made the most of your study abroad program or interned and volunteered internationally, consider applying to multinational companies in the U.S., which might bring the potential to transfer to many other locations across the world.

International Alumni Contacts
Just as with any job search, networking with fellow Spider alumni can be a powerful tool. Start by reaching out to these International Spider Alumni contacts: http://alumni.richmond.edu/regional-groups/international-groups/index.html 

LinkedIn is another valuable networking tool. To find UR alumni living in the countries you are interested in, hover on the “My Network” tab on the navigation bar and then select “Find Alumni.” This will give you access to all UR alumni who are on LinkedIn and you can search through the listings by location, industry, company, major, skills, and relationship to you. 

Additional Resources

Goinglobal:
The country guides on Goinglobal (which can be accessed through SpiderConnect) include top companies, job search resources, cultural advice, résumé guidelines, and employment trends specific to that country.

Global Professional Search:
The University of Richmond is partnering with Global Professional Search (GPS) to get your language and culture to work. GPS connects global-ready talent – candidates with language and overseas experience – to jobs that require global skills. Students who are interested in working with international organizations, either in the U.S. or abroad, can create a profile on GPS. If you are matched with an opportunity, GPS will contact you to connect you with the employer. You can access GPS under "Career Resources" after you log in to SpiderConnect.  

Career Search

Foreign Affairs Job Board

iAgora

International Career Employment Weekly

Lat Pro

NYU's Work Abroad Resources

Overseas Jobs

Vault Career Insider

*Please note that the references on working/teaching/volunteering/interning abroad on this website are provided as a convenience to students, but are not affiliated with, or endorsed by, University of Richmond. We cannot make guarantees about the experiences that any of these organizations provide. We suggest that you do vigorous research before pursuing any opportunity in another country.

Government & International Events

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