There are many opportunities for work in government at the federal, state, and local levels, as well as internationally. While there is no single comprehensive source listing the various internship, fellowship, and other work experience opportunities that exist, we’ve provided some key resources below, starting with the Go Government and USA.gov websites.
Go Government provides information about the structure and different parts of government, including CAREER GUIDES matching major to jobs, the Peace Corps and AmeriCorps, and the Pathways Programs for students and recent grads. It also shows students how to write a federal resume and use USAjob.gov to find jobs. Not all agencies will post their open positions on USAJobs.gov. The federal agencies that comprise the intelligence community (NSA, CIA, FBI, etc.), for example, post positions on their individual agency career web pages (INTEL.gov Careers).
The government’s official web portal, USA.gov lists all federal agencies and departments. It also has Information about state and local government. For Congress and Capitol Hill, Opportunities in Public Affairs (OPA), found in the My Career Center tool on the myBucknell dashboard, lists numerous Capitol Hill resources. Check out the Capitol Hill Job Guide, Senate Internships Opportunities Bulletin, House Employment Bulletin, and more. OPA also lists jobs across industries in the areas of government affairs, legislation, policy, public relations, communications, and research.
Highly recommended is the recently updated “Internships, Fellowships, and Other Work Experience Opportunities in the Federal Government“ report by the Congressional Research Service. It does an excellent job of attempting to put in one place a listing of the internships, fellowships, and jobs.
Start early in your internship and job search. Many areas of government work are competitive and hiring cycles vary. The intelligence community hires in the fall and requires a security clearance screening. The Department of Justice and Congress tend to hire for internships in the early spring – January and February. Some DOJ internships require a security clearance, others do not. Go Government has lots of tips on What to Consider and How To Apply.
As you’re thinking about what kind of internship, job, or career path you want, focus on the issues you care most about and how you want to use your skills in solving them. What level of government (federal, state, local) makes sense for you? Do you want a structured internship? If yes, focus on the agencies and organizations that bring in rounds of interns regularly. Where do you want to be geographically? Also, think broader than just government; look at think tanks, consultancies, and advocacy NGOs, as well.
Finally, take advantage of your own networks. Informational interviewing is a great tool for reaching out to Bucknell alumni, family and friends to find out about different organizations and career paths.