6 Tips for Getting a Job in Public Service
There are many ways to give back to your community, and a job in public service is one of the best. Not only will you have the chance to affect real change for you and the people you love, but if you play your cards right, you’ll also be able to set policies in place to protect future generations. Here are just a few tips for getting started with this fulfilling career path!
- Find Your Niche
It’s common to hear people talk about “the government” like it’s a gigantic monolith, but the truth is that it’s divided into many different sectors, departments, offices, agencies and organizations. Your first step will be deciding which one that you’d like to join. Maybe you’re concerned about traffic and road safety; maybe you have a passion for public parks. Follow your interests.
- Set Attainable Goals
Setting goals is important for making your dreams come true, but you should be careful about making them too vague. “Get a job” is so generic that it’s practically useless. Instead, try to set specific benchmarks for yourself in the form of “send out at least three resumes a day” or “call the county clerk about open positions once a week.” Then stick to your word and get it done.
- Refine Your Resume
Speaking of resumes, if it’s been awhile since you looked at yours, it’s time to break out the red pen. Make sure that it’s up to date with all of your current information, and try to sneak in buzzwords that you know the public service field likes to hear. The littlest detail can make the biggest difference!
- Be Open to Opportunities
There are more than two million civilians currently employed by the government, and according to reports, at least a quarter of them are nearing retirement age. This means that the job market is about to be flooded with positions that are open to people with the right credentials. Does this describe you? Are you ready to seize career opportunities as they come? Will you recognize them when they appear?
- Get Your Degree
From public relations to public administration, there are many different degrees that can help you land a job in public service. It’s up to you to decide which is the most suitable for your skill set and temperament. Do you like working with people, or would you prefer to stay behind a desk? Are you the most satisfied with small, direct actions or sweeping policy changes? Look into programs from schools like the University of Southern California to learn more.
- Reach Out to Others
Don’t be afraid of asking for help from colleagues, administrators, job recruiters and other people who might be able to assist you with your job search. If a secretary is always the first to know about openings, befriend her and ask her for periodic updates. If you’ve been rejected for a position, send a polite email asking what made them turn you down. You can learn a lot from other people if you’re willing to listen.
These are just a few suggestions if you’re thinking about going into public service. Whether you’re aiming for a small, local job or a fat government contract, these tips will put you on the path to success.