Career Resources

Government

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Government Overview

Government Job Search

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Columbia Resources

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Government Overview

One of the great aspects of the government is that there are positions in virtually every field, for biologists to statisticians. Often, people in the field want to have significant impact on the lives of others and care about good governance. They are “change agents” — optimistic, skilled people with a can-do attitude that is complimented by a sense of realism and practicality, recognizing that government changes can come in small and large measures. Some of the benefits of working in government include the chance to make a difference, that government positions are located all over the country and the world, and work/life balance. Some of the challenges include bureaucracy, an often lengthy hiring process, the impact changes in leadership can have on one's work, and salary caps. (Source: Partnership for Public Service)

If you are interested in government, additional careers to consider include:

Government Job Search

As one of the nation’s largest employers with nearly two million civilian employees in federal government alone, City, State, Local and Federal governments offer internships and full time opportunities for students with all majors and career interests. Government agencies tend to hire according to political rather than cyclical fluctuations. As administrations rotate, different policy priorities will direct hiring. Thus, many positions are available after elections as the demand for new staff increases. The government also expands hiring at the end of September when its fiscal year concludes. For the majority of the full time positions in city, states, local and federal governments, hiring will occur on an ad hoc basis and they expect the candidate to be available for employment immediately.
 
For those interested in government employment, internships are often the best stepping stone towards full-time employment. Internships in government agencies help build connections that are invaluable in finding employment. Additionally, several internships require security clearances, which are both essential to government employment and difficult to obtain due to bureaucratic backlog. Basic clearance will make a candidate more marketable in the full-time job search.  Some federal organizations often use their internship programs as direct feeders into employment. Examples of agencies that have a structured internship program: 
State and city agencies often offer fellowship programs that can lead into employment:
The White House offers a summer internship program:

Several programs to boost diversity are offered, with placement in agencies:

If you are interested in politics, check out our additional industry page.

Note that for many Federal government positions you will be required to submit a Federal resume, which different from a standard resume in that it provides much more detail and context. Learn more about Federal resumes at GoGovernment.org.

Center for Career Education Resources

  • LionSHARE hosts a wealth of opportunities for students and alumni. Under the job search tab, try key word searching ‘government,’ or select ‘government/administration/public policy’ in the employer industry menu. You can also use the Employer Directory tab to search for lists of organizations that have posted in the past. Many might have open positions on their web sites that they have not publicized on LionSHARE.      
  • CCE Sponsored Internships: Explore CCE's sponsored programs, including the Summer CCE Network in Washington, DC.
  • CCE’s Fall and Spring Career Fairs, Engineering Consortium Career Fair (Fall), and Startup Career Fair (Spring), are focused on connecting Columbia students and alumni with employers. A full list of employers that attend can be found on the Fair web site. Highlights of past participants include: CIA, US Department of Justice, Department of Environmental Protection, FBI, US Department of State, Cadet Corps, and the National Security Agency.
  • Vault and WetFeet are excellent career resources into industries and organizations. Vault’s list of government resources and associations and Wetfeet’s Insider Guide to Careers in Government are particularly informative.
  • Columbia Alumni: Columbia has a strong alumni network, many of whom participate in our career fairs, panels, intern programs, and professionals in residence talks throughout the year. To learn more, visit Connect with Alumni. Read profiles and advice from Columbia alumni who worked or are working in government.
    • Don Jensen, CC '73. Senior Fellow, Center for Transatlantic Relations, School of Advanced International Studies, Johns Hopkins University
    • Tino Calabia, GS '63. Retired from U.S. Dept. of Housing and Urban Development
    • Kevin Kelly, CC '85. Assistant Commissioner, NYC Department of Small Business Services

Sample government employers that recruit Columbia students and alumni:

Executive Office

Federal

 State

County/City

Capitol Hill

Columbia Resources

External Resources

Professional Associations

Federal Job Boards

  • USAJOBS - Internship and job postings for students seeking work within the federal government.
  • HR University - Resources for a federal job search, from the federal government.
  • America Job - User-friendly search agent for federal employment. The site includes filters by location and career type.
  • Go Government - How-to guides for securing federal employment. Includes resources targeted towards students and veterans.
  • HillZoo - Job postings for employment on- and off-Capitol Hill. Useful for students seeking internships.
  • RollCall - Capitol Hill’s newspaper, includes job postings for students seeking employment.
  • GovLoop - Wide variety of job listings.
  • LobbyingJobs - Job search engine for lobbyists and public advocates at all levels of government.

State Job Boards

  • 50 State Jobs - Search agent for government jobs of all types at the state and local levels.
  • At the state level, refer to the state government's website for job postings.
City Job Boards
  • NYC.gov - Resource for employment within the New York City government.
  • At the city level, refer to the city government's website for job postings.
Last updated December 2014
(Updated on 08/2014)